Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced $10 million in research grants to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems and help create jobs. Vilsack highlighted the announcement today with a visit to Michigan State University, a grant awardee. The Secretary also pointed to a recent study released by Iowa State University, and funded by the USDA, which finds that while the use of biobased products in automobile manufacturing is increasing, there are still many parts in the top-selling automobiles manufactured in the United States that may be replaced with biobased materials.

Grant bioenergyNIFA anticipates that grant funds will be available and requests applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy Competitive Grants Program (AFRI-SBE) for fiscal year (FY) 2013. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) under which the Secretary of Agriculture may make competitive grants for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension to address food and agricultural sciences (as defined under section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (NARETPA) (7 U.S.C. 3103)), as amended, in six priority areas. In the Sustainable Bioenergy Challenge Area, specific program areas are designed to achieve the long term outcome of reducing the National dependence on foreign oil through the production of regionally appropriate sustainable bioenergy systems.

The amount available for support of this program in FY 2013 is approximately $10 million to support new awards within the Sustainable Bioenergy Challenge Area within AFRI. This RFA is being released prior to the passage of an Appropriations Act for fiscal year (FY) 2013. Enactment of Continuing Resolutions or an Appropriations Act may affect the overall level of funding for the AFRI program.

This notice identifies the objectives for AFRI-SBE projects, the eligibility criteria for projects and applicants, and the application forms and associated instructions needed to apply for an AFRI-SBE grant. NIFA additionally requests stakeholder input from any interested party for use in the development of the next RFA for this program.

Project types supported by AFRI within this Challenge Area will propose single-function Research Projects, multi-function Integrated Research, Education, and/or Extension Projects, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants. This RFA identifies research and integrated program objectives, eligibility criteria, and matching requirements for each project type.

Download application document here