Extension's federal partner, CSREES (soon to be National Institute for Food and Agriculture or NIFA) has offered grant funding to state partners for many years. While the amount of funds that they offer in their competitive grants program (NRI, soon to be known as Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, AFRI) has stayed relatively constant for many years, there will be a significant increase in competitive grant funding due to the recent Farm Bill appropriation and authorization. Traditionally, NRI grants have primarily funded discovery research projects. In the future, the trend will be to fund a new type of grant--integrated grants. This is a significant change.
Integrated grants are grants that combine discovery, research and educational outreach. At a recent national workshop sponsored by NRI/AFRI, the director of the competitive grants program spoke about the need and importance of integrated grants. Writing a grant for research work and then adding a paragraph about presenting at a meeting to share the results or writing a bulletin about the data does not constitute an integrated grant. For 2009-2010, AFRI will be allocating approximately one-third of their grant funding to go to integrated grants. The director continued stating that Extension components of most grants will be evaluated primarily from their logic models that have become a mainstay for educational outreach (Extension) grants. This is where our existing teams--field and campus, Extension and non-Extension, internal and external partners--need to come together and leverage each other's expertise and niches to compete for grant funds that can enhance our programming and truly make a difference.
Senior Associate Dean, Programs and Research