Summary. The Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC) seeks collaborative research proposals focused on the development, integration, and adoption of advanced irrigation management technologies, tools, and practices. Project teams should be led by industry and/or irrigation sector stakeholder group representatives and academic partners. The proposal process has two steps:
- Step 1- Pre-proposal submission, evaluation and team interviews
- Step 2- Selected project team invitations to submit a full proposal
Details for both steps are provided below.
About the IIC. The IIC supports collaborative, pre-competitively oriented research to accelerate the development, integration, and adoption of advanced, water-efficient irrigation technologies and practices. The consortium is comprised of leading industry partners, academic institutions, and other irrigation sector stakeholders working together to identify and address research and knowledge gaps in agriculture and landscape irrigation. Through competitive research calls, IIC encourages private and public entities to combine their expertise to advance science and technologies and accelerate the application of new knowledge to benefit the irrigation sector and society.
Overview. The IIC has approximately $500,000 available to support research projects through this call. The IIC anticipates funding 3-5 projects that will be completed over an 8–20 month period.
IIC seeks projects that:
- Involve a highly collaborative approach to working on the co-development, testing, evaluation, improvement, and/or integration of equipment, technology, and information systems
- Demonstrate creativity, innovation, and potential to be transformative for the irrigation industry, irrigation end users, and/or society
- Address practical, biophysical, technical, and/or social factors or constraints currently limiting advances in irrigation management including improvements in water use efficiency
- Include activities, such as trainings, demonstrations, presentations, or other programming to share knowledge gained through the research and encourage the adoption and correct use of advanced irrigation tools, technologies, and/or management strategies
- Are pre-competitively oriented
About pre-competitive research. IIC’s research funding is provided by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). As envisioned by FFAR and IIC, pre-competitive research encourages the pooling of resources, data, and expertise for public benefit. Data and resulting publications from this research will be open and accessible. Commercial endeavors resulting from the application of these data and research results can be proprietary.
About project teams. Key collaborators on project teams must involve at least one irrigation sector partner, whether from industry, other private entities, or other institutions such as non-profits. Project teams must also include research and/or Extension staff from one or more IIC member universities (Colorado State, Kansas State, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Fresno State, Texas A&M). Teams can also include team members from additional universities. Teams are to designate one Principal Investigator (PI) who may be affiliated with a university, with industry, or another organization. Multi-partner, diverse teams are encouraged to apply.
Financial Policy. A project team’s PI is ultimately responsible for their IIC-funded project, matching commitment, and budget. If the budget is overspent or expenditures are improperly charged, the PI and his/her organization is responsible for providing funds to cover the unauthorized spending. Failure to provide required deliverables will disqualify PIs or team members from receiving additional project funding.
Proposal requirements. Projects must:
- Have scientific merit and fill a clearly defined research gap
- Have an integrated team that includes at least one industry partner and one IIC university partner
- Clearly describe the anticipated value and potential impact of the project for the irrigation sector and/or society
- Accelerate the application or transfer of research insights, through training, demonstration, and/or other outreach
- Address one or more of the IIC’s priority research themes:
- Evaluating and improving technologies and recommendations
- Improving integration of tools and strategies
- Data synthesis to inform decision making
- Clarifying water use benchmarks, targets, and protocols
- Quantifying potential benefits (biophysical, practical, economic) of advanced irrigation management
Matching requirements. IIC funding requests, inclusive of allowable indirect costs, must be accompanied by a total non-federal match of 1.25x, where x is the amount of IIC funding requested. Project teams are responsible for identifying and providing supporting letters of match commitment (see documentation requirements for Step 2 Full Proposals below). Matching support can be come from cash and in-kind sources. Cash match must total at least 50% relative to the amount of IIC funding requested (0.5x). See the definition of “cash” and other IIC matching requirement guidelines in Appendix A below.
Project selection process. IIC will use a competitive selection process led by the IIC’s Research Steering Committee (RSC). The RSC reviews proposals for their fit with required components as described above, and makes recommendations to the IIC’s Executive Committee, which is responsible for selecting projects.
Project duration. Projects should be completed within 8 to 20 months, with a final report submitted by December 31, 2023.
Funding disbursement. On behalf of the IIC, Colorado State University will establish subawards with research team institutions. Research teams will be reimbursed for project-related expenditures invoiced on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the rate of spending activity.
Deliverables. Projects will be required to submit brief interim progress reports. For projects with more than one-year duration, teams must submit all requested interim reports for IIC’s review and approval for project spending to continue into the second year. Teams must submit a final project report within 30 days of the project’s end date. Interim and final reports will ask teams to describe main findings and accomplishments, impacts and outcomes, how knowledge was transferred or its application accelerated through trainings, demonstrations, or other kinds of outreach and engagement, publications and presentations, aspects pertaining to team collaboration and justification for any changes to a project’s scope of work.
PIs or teams will also provide at least one presentation, virtually or in-person, to the IIC extended community that summarizes and showcases completed project results and outcomes. As appropriate, project team members may be encouraged to support IIC’s outreach goals and mission by contributing to or editing written content, serving on panels, and/or participating in recorded interviews about their IIC-supported work.
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