Research Plan and Budget Process (RP&BP)/Request for Proposal (RFP) Process

A. Development of Program Descriptions & Research Priorities

1.    RACs shall draft program descriptions and research priorities based on the NPMTI Action Plan. Drafts of the research priorities shall be posted on the web for feedback from the SC, EC and other stakeholders.  Drafts continue to evolve as input is acquired.

2.    Final drafts are submitted to the SC and EC for approval at the Winter SC Meeting

B. Development of the Request for Proposals (RFP) – NFO shall develop the Request for Proposals, incorporating feedback from RAC, SC and EC.

C. Distribution and advertisement of Request for Proposals – To the extent possible, electronic copies of the Request for Proposals shall be distributed to the following:

1.    Current and former NPMTI researchers

a)    Non-funded researchers who previously submitted pre-proposals

b)    Attendees of the Annual and Spring Meetings

c)    Electronic notices shall be posted on the NPMTI website and sent to the following:

(1)    NPMTI Listserv;

(2)    Agricultural Experiment Station Directors and Extension Service Directors;

(3)    Administrative Heads and Academic Heads at 1862 and 1890 Land Grant institutions; and

(4)    USDA-ARS National Program Staff (NPS).

D. RFP participation is open to any member of an RAC, including the RAC, SC, and EC members

1.    RAC, SC, and EC members shall recuse themselves from voting on submittals

E. Review Process

1.  Processing and Review of Proposals

a)    Proposals are confidential documents and that include all information/documents required to evaluate the value of the project.

b)     Research Area (RAC) Proposals – are sent to the NFO for appropriate distribution.

(1) Proposals received by the NFO will be sorted by research area, and copies will be sent to the appropriate RAC Chair and Co-Chair. 

(2)    The RAC Chair/Co-Chair may be assisted in the proposal review process by RAC members, although a member must be recused during review of that member’s proposal.

(3)    After proposal review, the RAC Chair shall collect review summaries and with the Co-Chair, compile a comprehensive funding recommendation that will be submitted to the SC for review.  SC Chair will forward the review summaries (individual and overall) and SC recommendations to the EC and NFO, prior to the Annual Meeting.

(4)    Proposals that are received from an individual or group not represented by a current and active RAC (in NPMTI) shall be forwarded to the Chair of the SC for review by the SC.

(5)    The EC shall meet just prior to the start of the Annual Meeting with each of the RAC Chairs and Co-Chairs (if applicable) to discuss their committee’s recommendations.

F. Funding Recommendation

1.    Once the EC has received the SC review of the RAC’s recommendations regarding submitted proposals, the EC shall reconcile the recommendations with the available funds.

2.    The EC shall then present a proposed funding allocation to the SC for recommendations and approval.

3.    Once the SC approves the budget allocation, the NFO shall send written notification to all researchers who submitted a proposal.

4.    The RAC Chairs may provide comments and recommendations to be included in the letter of notification.  The instructions for resubmitting final proposals shall be included for those researchers recommended for award funding to USDA-ARS. Final proposals are submitted to the NFO as aggregate single PI grants (i.e. may contain multiple projects).

5.    The NFO will forward the grant proposals as a comprehensive recommendation to USDA-ARS.

a)    All Research Grant Agreements that are recommended by the NPMTI are for a one- or two-year award period (at the discretion of the PI).

b)    Grant proposals are confidential documents.

c)    PIs shall submit electronically to the NFO one non-technical abstract for each NPMTI recommended project that will be made public through the Initiative’s website.

G. Handling and Storage of Proposals

1.    Original copies of proposals will be stored confidentially by the NFO for at least three years.

2.    RAC reviewers should destroy all copies of proposals immediately following the final submission of all grant applications to USDA-ARS.