NIFA Update - Jan. 8, 2020

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Editor: Kelly Sprute                                                                                            Jan. 8, 2020

Making a Difference

Researchers are developing compounds to kill cancer. Image by L. Brian Stauffer.


New Compounds Block Master Regulator of Cancer Growth, Metastasis

Scientists have developed new drug compounds that thwart the pro-cancer activity of FOXM1, a transcription factor that regulates the activity of dozens of genes. The new compounds suppress tumor growth in human cells and in mouse models of several types of human breast cancer.

The researchers reported their findings in the journal NPJ Breast Cancer. The research is promising, but preliminary, the scientists said. Full development of new anti-cancer drug agents can take more than a decade from this stage of discovery. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported this research. Read the full University of Illinois article.

Researchers including, from left, graduate student Valeria Sanabria Guillen, research scientist Sung Hoon Kim, researcher Kathy Carlson, chemistry professor John Katzenellenbogen, research specialist Yvonne Ziegler, and molecular and integrative physiology professor Benita Katzenellenbogen. Image courtesy of  Brian Stauffer.

Angle's Update

J. Scott Angle, NIFA Director

With the FY2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019, NIFA has received questions regarding Section 762, which states: “The Secretary of Agriculture may waive the matching funds requirement under Section 412(g) of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7632(g)).” This language applies to both Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) and Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Extension (ECDRE) programs.

Working with our colleagues within USDA, we are reviewing the language. Knowing SCRI full applications will be due this March and an ECDRE Request For Applications is still expected in the next few months, we will provide more detailed information as soon as possible on USDA’s implementation of this provision and any related impacts on SCRI and ECDRE stakeholders.

NIFA News

NIFA Seeking Award Nominations

NIFA Hall of Fame trophy

Partnership Awards Program

NIFA recognizes there are many outstanding contributions that our partners at the land-grant universities and other cooperating institutions and organizations have achieved. NIFA invites all land-grant universities and cooperating institutions and organizations to submit nominations for the 2020 NIFA Partnership Awards Program. This program recognizes outstanding contributions aligned with NIFA's strategic goals in support of the USDA mission.

Specific instructions and other information regarding this awards program are on the NIFA Partnership Award webpage. Nominations must be submitted via the NIFA Partnership Awards Nomination Form. All signed nomination forms must be submitted by February 12, 2020, via email using scanned files that have been saved as .pdf or .jpg files to performance@usda.gov according to instructions in the award guidelines.

Winning nominations will be recognized at the NIFA Day of Appreciation scheduled for April 2020. NIFA will pay travel expenses for one person from each winning nomination, whether it is an individual or team award.

NIFA Hall of Fame

NIFA is seeking nominations for the NIFA Hall of Fame. Inductees into the NIFA Hall of Fame have worked, coordinated, or supported activities exemplifying NIFA’s synergy of excellence in any combination of research, education, and extension approaches on local, regional, national, or international levels.

Inductees have also demonstrated a measurable and positive impact on the lives of citizens and NIFA's mission to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges.

The NIFA Hall of Fame Nomination Form and NIFA Hall of Fame background and criteria are located on the NIFA Hall of Fame Awards website. Nominations must be emailed to Kimberly Whittet no later than February 12, 2020.

Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized at the annual NIFA Day of Appreciation tentatively scheduled for April in Washington, DC. NIFA will pay travel expenses for each inductee

News for You

USAID graphic logo

Funding Opportunity 
USAID PEER Program

The USAID PEER program (Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research) is a competitive grants program that invites scientists in developing countries, partnered with U.S. government-supported collaborators, to apply for funds to support research and capacity-building activities on topics with strong potential development impacts. This innovative program is designed to leverage the investments that U.S. government-supported agencies have made in scientific research and training, while supporting the initiatives of developing country scientists.

PEER has announced their 9th funding cycle with pre-proposals due on Feb. 10, 2020. Focal areas include:

  • Urban Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene and Transboundary Water (Afghanistan)
  • Clean Energy (Bangladesh)
  • Bioremediation of Dioxin and Furans (Vietnam)
  • Information and Communication Technology, Energy including renewable energy, and others (Tunisia)
  • Advanced Digital Tools (multiple countries in Sub-Saharan Africa)
  • General Development-Related Research including agriculture and other topics relevant to NIFA/ARS (multiple countries)

More information about eligibility and application instructions can be found at the PEER website. Past PEER projects with NIFA grantees have resulted in mutually beneficial scientific collaborations. Email Davida Vanderpuye Tengey if you have any questions.


Vibrant fields of colorful tulips carpet the Skagit Valley, Washington. GettyImages-472009338

As Agrotourism Grows, Research Universities Urge Farmers to Take Survey

Oregon State University’s Extension Service urges farmers to take a brief agritourism survey to help researchers measure the industry’s nationwide impact, understand what makes a successful agritourism business and develop resources to help farmers. Researchers will use the data to develop workshops, educational materials and other tools to help farms of all sizes succeed. The research is funded through a Critical Agriculture Research and Extension grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Read the full Capital Press article.

Vibrant fields of colorful tulips carpet the Skagit Valley during the annual springtime festival popular with tourists. Image courtesy of Getty Images.