Non Technical Summary
To address the challenges and opportunities of achieving sustainable genetic improvement of agricultural species, thereby enhancing the sustainability and profitability of US agriculture, the current agricultural genome to phenome initiative (AG2PI) project has built a large transdisciplinary community of researchers spanning crops and livestock, as well as integrative disciplines (e.g., engineers, data scientists, and social scientists). The overall objective of the AG2PI is to provide competitive funds to conduct AG2P research that will benefit the broader community. The project will: implement a vision for AG2P research that has been developed with community input over the past two years by providing seed grants that will help close research gaps and support new and emerging opportunities. It features a robust project management plan, involving leaders with the requisite experience in managing large complex projects (including seed grant programs), implementation plans based on best practices, and the science of team science, coupled with a robust assessment plan to refine best practices. A comprehensive and inclusive scientific advisory board, stakeholders, and partner organizations will assist the team with meeting its objectives and ensuring that its activities coordinate and complement existing AG2P programs in crops and livestock. The project will continue developing a cross-kingdom community prepared to tackle AG2P research and offer opportunities to develop novel and creative solutions to enhance our understanding of both kingdoms, for the benefit of US agriculture and society. The current AG2PI team is well positioned to accomplish these tasks to produce quick results with proven procedures and processes.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
The major goal ofAG2PIis tobetter understand how genotype (G) and environment (E) influence phenotype for the complex traits of crops and livestock that are important to agriculturein order tomeet the challenges of an increasing global population and multiple environmental stressors on agricultural production. Whereas the first two years of AG2PI focused on creating a transdisciplinary community poised to address cross-kingdom challenges, this new award will help advance the science of agricultural G2P.The overall objective of the proposed project is to use a peer-review based competitive process (seed grants) in coordination and approved by NIFA to: (1) develop tools and datasets that can be used to advance genome engineering tools; (2) mitigate environmental impacts from agriculture; and (3) encourage development of root stocks that increase carbon capture and can support grain crop covers.To meet this overall objective, we will expand the seed grant program effectively deployed during the currentawards(2020-70412-32615 and 2021-70412-35233). As we do so, we will reference existing community concept papers on genome to phenome research in crops and livestock and consider the short, medium, and long-term priorities to be identified in the upcoming think tank-like workshop in September 2022.
The AG2PI team will organize and release a single request for proposals (RFP) for coconut seed grants that address one of the three topics outlined in the objectives or a related topic identified in our community surveys as being of major cross-kingdom importance. Applicants will be asked to include a request for travel funding so that they can present the results of their awards at relevant scientific venue(s). Proposals will be reviewed by the AG2PI Executive Board. Reviewer feedback will be given to lead investigators of proposals that were responsive to the call for proposals but not selected for funding. To provide larger seed grants than were possible in our two prior projects we will limit the number of coconut seed grants to 8-12, each of which will be funded between $100,000-$250,000. This decision to increase the award size is consistent with community feedback received during the current projects and our assessment that the community has matured to a level where the overall ROI (Return on Investment) for the community from fewer larger awards will be greater than from more smaller awards. We will continue to prioritize funding decisions based on scientific merit, AG2PI program goals, and proposals led by early career scientists and members of underrepresented communities. Members of the PI team will not be eligible to seek or receive funding from the coconut seed grant program.Awarded project teams will be asked to present their work in a field day or training workshop organized by AG2PI. Each awarded team will submit a progress report halfway into their project to ensure they are on track as well as a final report that details outcomes/deliverables, challenges encountered, and future plans. This information will be reviewed by the PI team and shared with NIFA with the intent of benefitting NIFA's future RFAs.Lessons Learned: Informing and Improving the ProcessIn preparation for the coconut seed grant RFA and review of proposals, the PI team will solicit: (1) input from the AG2PI's Steering Committee about priority areas for funding (within the topics outlined in NIFA's RFA and in consideration of input received from our community surveys and during discussions that will take place during our two-day workshop scheduled for September 2022); and (2) feedback from previous awardees aimed at improving the submission process.Subawards are being managed by the project manager in coordination with Iowa State University's Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA). The award process has been revised twice over to decrease administrative burden and shorten the timeline to award. The process will be evaluated and updated as necessary.