Research Hot Topics and Frequently Asked Questions

See below for info on National Academies funding, research audits, CSREES competitive grants program, and Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers call for proposals.

Funding opportunities – emphasis on the National Academies:
The National Research Council is part of the National Academies, which also comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of further knowledge and advising the federal government. See their website at for more detailed information.

The National Research Council sponsors a number of graduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral fellowship opportunities in research-based disciplines, and also sponsors postdoctoral and senior researcher awards sponsored by thirty federal laboratories. Many of these opportunities provide generous stipends and the opportunity to do independent research in some of the best-equipped and staffed laboratories in the country. Detailed program information, including instructions on how to apply, and a list of participating laboratories, is available on their website at

Please share this information with individuals who may not be aware of these opportunities.

Sponsored Research Audits – recommended business practices:
CALS Departments/Center should have in place a procedure on how to proceed when contacted by anyone in regard to “audits.” The College recommends that whenever individuals are contacted in regard to an audit, that they immediately refer the request to their Department/Center administrator. CALS recommends that audits include the project Principle Investigators/Co-PIs, and Department/Center and College representatives. A recommended business practice would be for any faculty/staff contacted in regard to an audit to immediately contact their Department/Center Administrator for coordination of the audit hearing. Administrators should in turn contact both CALS Research Division (Carol Hillmer and CALS Business Services (Paul Jelle who will assure College representation and assistance.

In preparing for any audit, it is recommended that Departments/Centers review fully the project and all aspects of project management including effort reporting, financial reporting, technical reporting, and business practices/procedures. CALS Research Division and CALS Business Services are more than happy to meet with Departments/Centers to assist in review of projects and with audit preparations.

USDA/CSREES National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program:
USDA released 09/10/07 the FY 2008 Request for Applications under the USDA/CSREES National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRI Program). The FY2008 NRI Program requests applications to support (1) high priority fundamental and mission-linked research of importance in the biological, environmental, physical, and social sciences relevant to agriculture, food, the environment, and rural communities and (2) competitively awarded research, extension, and education grants addressing key issues of national and regional importance to agriculture, forestry, and related topics. In FY 2008, CSREES anticipates that approximately $190 million will be available for support of this program. Of this amount, no more than 22 percent will be made available to fund integrated projects. The remaining funds will be used to fund research projects.

All applications must be submitted via Application deadlines begin in November. Review the request for applications carefully to determine the application deadline under which you will submit. Please work with CALS Research Division well in advance, to assure successful submission. Applicants should plan for electronic submissions to be completed a minimum of three days prior to deadline. As such, proposals need to be provided to CALS Research Division at least a week in advance of any deadline.

Note that several programs require “Letters of Intent.” Please be sure to copy CALS Research Division at on your notification to USDA. Links to the full announcement are available through at: Information is also available on the USDA/CSREES site at:

Stay tuned for additional information regarding NRI submissions and training opportunities in September, October, and November.

Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association annual call for proposals:
The WPVGA annual call for proposals is in process – WPVGA expects to have the announcement out by the end of this week. As soon as it is available, CALS will update our website with the 2008 information – you will be able to access such at
The timeline for 2008 applications will be:
October 19, 2007 – Proposals due to 136 Ag Hall
November 14, 2007 – Requests and progress reports heard