The purpose of the SCRI program is to address the critical needs of the specialty crop industry by awarding grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems.
The philosophy of the SCRI program is: Truly effective, long-term solutions to specialty crop industry challenges can best be achieved by understanding and treating those problems as complex systems of many interacting components. This perspective requires projects that are larger in scope and complexity, and that demand more resources than have traditionally been allocated to individual research and extension projects. In doing so, projects should focus on entire primary systems, including the production system, the processing and distribution system, and the consumer and marketing system, or on areas where two or more primary systems overlap
The SCRI program is aligned with the following USDA Strategic Goals:
- Strategic Goal 1: Ensure USDA Programs Are Delivered Efficiently, Effectively, With Integrity and a Focus on Customer Service;
- Strategic Goal 2: Maximize the Ability of American Agricultural Producers to Prosper by Feeding and Clothing the World;
- Strategic Goal 4: Facilitate Rural Prosperity and Economic Development;
- Strategic Goal 5: Strengthen the Stewardship of Private Lands Through Technology and Research.
- The anticipated amount available for support of this program in FY 2021 is approximately $80,000,000. This RFA is being released prior to the passage of an appropriations act for FY 2021. Enactment of additional continuing resolutions or an appropriations act may affect the availability or level of funding for this program.
- Budget – Normally, Federal funds will not exceed $1,000,000 per year. Requests less than $250,000 per project are discouraged.
Projects must address at least one of five focus areas:
- Research in plant breeding, genetics, genomics, and other methods to improve crop characteristic;
- Efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators;
- Efforts to improve production efficiency, handling and processing, productivity, and profitability over the long term (including specialty crop policy and marketing);
- New innovations and technology, including improved mechanization and technologies that delay or inhibit ripening;
- Methods to prevent, detect, monitor, control, and respond to potential food safety hazards in the production efficiency, handling and processing of specialty crops.
- Pre-applications may only be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities.
The evaluation criteria herein, with relative weights in parentheses, will be used to review pre-applications submitted in response to this RFPA.
Criteria for Industry Relevance Review for Planning Projects
- The problem being addressed is significant at a national or regional level. (25 points)
- The project will result in a partnership between a specialty crop sector and a scientific community. (25 points)
- The project fully integrates research and extension. (20 points)
- The project will result in a systems approach to insuring the sustainability of the targeted specialty crop sector. (15 points)
- The project team represents a trans-disciplinary approach to problem-solving. (15 points)
Criteria for Industry Relevance Review for SREP and CAP Projects
- The issues/challenges addressed are relevant on a state, regional or national scale. (20 points)
- The described research and extension approach will result in impacts/outcomes that are important to the target stakeholders. (25 points)
- Stakeholders involved in identifying and developing project goals and objectives. (15 points)
- Information developed by the project team will be delivered to stakeholders in ways that allow them to implement new and/or improved practices. (20 points)
- Plans are in place for stakeholders to remain actively engaged in project activities. (10 points)
- Stakeholders will be involved in program evaluation. (5 points)
- The project team has at least some members who have worked with the target stakeholders in the past and have experience with the described research and extension approach. (5 points)
For more information, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=329886