The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) released a request for applications (RFA) for the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative (AG2PI). AG2PI aims to advance scientific understanding of genomes and phenomes of plants and animals of significance to American agriculture. This is the second RFA for this program after it was initially authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill and first competed in FY 2020. The FY 2022 solicitation includes $1.92 million in total funding, double the amount of available funding over the previous edition. Applications should seek to (1) develop datasets and tools to advance genome engineering to optimize animal reproduction and nutrition; (2) mitigate the environmental impacts of crop and animal production; and (3) support development of root stops to increase carbon capture. Projects proposing collaboration between crop and animal researchers are encouraged.
The RFA describes 11 goals, as directed in the 2018 Farm Bill, that AG2PI projects must support:
- “Expand knowledge concerning genomes and phenomes of crops and animals of importance to the agriculture sector of the United States;
- Understand how variable weather, environments, and production systems impact the growth and productivity of specific varieties of crops and species of animals in order to provide greater accuracy in predicting crop and animal performance under variable conditions;
- Support research that leverages plant and animal genomic information with phenotypic and environmental data through an interdisciplinary framework, leading to a novel 8 understanding of plant and animal processes that affect growth, productivity, and the ability to predict performance, which will result in the deployment of superior varieties and species to producers and improved crop and animal management recommendations for farmers and ranchers;
- Catalyze and coordinate research that links genomics and predictive phenomics at different sites across the United States to achieve advances in crops and animals that generate societal benefits;
- Combine fields such as genetics, genomics, plant physiology, agronomy, climatology, and crop modeling with computation and informatics, statistics, and engineering;
- Combine fields such as genetics, genomics, animal physiology, meat science, animal nutrition, and veterinary science with computation and informatics, statistics, and engineering;
- Focus on crops and animals that will yield scientifically important results that will enhance the usefulness of multiple crop and animal species;
- Build on genomic research, such as the Plant Genome Research Project and the National Animal Genome Research Program, to understand gene function in production environments that is expected to have considerable returns for crops and animals of importance to the agriculture of the United States;
- Develop improved data analytics to enhance understanding of the biological function of genes;
- Allow resources developed under this section, including data, software, germplasm, and other biological materials, to be openly accessible to all persons, subject to any confidentiality requirements imposed by law; and
- Encourage international partnerships with each partner country responsible for financing its own research.”
Colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions; private organizations, foundations, or corporations; state agricultural experiment stations; national laboratories; federal agencies; and individuals are eligible to apply to this program, as well as groups of two or more of these entities.
Applications must be submitted by July 21, 2022 at 5:00pm ET.
Award Information and Matching
The FY 2022 AG2PI has $1.92 million in total available funding. Applicants may request up to a total of $1.92 million, with a project period of no more than three years. USDA does not specify the number of awards they expect to provide under this program. There is a one-to-one matching requirement, but this may be waived under certain conditions specified in the RFA.