Created by on 3/5/2012 12:00:00 AM

On February 22nd, FASEB President Joseph C. LaManna, PhD met with Appropriations Committee staff to build support for FASEB’s FY 2013 NIH funding recommendation and participated in a listening session coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The purpose of the meeting was to solicit input from stakeholders concerning the development of fiscal year (FY) 2013 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) request for applications (RFAs) and the FY 2014 budget. In his testimony, Dr. LaManna described FASEB’s ongoing support of AFRI and thanked NIFA for its continued willingness to solicit comments from the scientific community. Acknowledging AFRI’s limited resources and NIFA’s previous efforts to improve AFRI program solicitations, he cautioned against the prioritization of narrowly targeted RFAs which exclude vital areas of agricultural research. Dr. LaManna stated, “In determining an appropriate balance between basic and applied research, FASEB encourages NIFA to maintain a diverse AFRI portfolio with an emphasis on foundational agricultural research projects that foster continuous generation of new knowledge.” Several other meeting participants echoed many of FASEB’s recommendations, including support for individual investigator-initiated foundational research projects, concerns about overly prescriptive RFAs, the importance of attracting talented scientists to agricultural research, and the need for predictable RFA release schedules. 
Acting NIFA Director Chavonda Jacobs-Young, PhD, Assistant Director Deborah Sheely, PhD, and a number of other NIFA administrators were in attendance to provide updates on AFRI and answer stakeholder questions. The deadline to submit written statements to NIFA is March 22nd; all comments received will be posted to the http://www.regulations.gov website. NIFA has also scheduled a number of upcoming listening session webinars focused on individual AFRI program areas.


FASEB President Joseph C. LaManna, PhD speaks on behalf of the FY 2013 AFRI budget at the USDA-NIFA listening session in Washington, DC.