Request for Proposals

The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (USDA/APHIS/PPQ/CPHST), announces the FY18-19 RFP for the National Ornamentals Research Site at Dominican (NORS-DUC).
      NORS-DUC Request for Proposals (RFP) - FY 2018 - 2019

Deadline for Submission: TBA. All parties interested in conducting research at NORS-DUC must submit their proposals through the USDA Farm Bill, section 10007.    

In order to conduct research at NORS-DUC, interested parties are required to submit a pre-proposal to the NORS-DUC Program Manager, for NORS-DUC Core team review and support prior to submitting their proposal to the USDA Farm Bill, section 10007.

The research site is intended to facilitate research activities supportive of the broad goal to safeguard nursery production and the forest industry. Proposals reflecting short-term applied research are requested that address research priorities, including, but are not limited to:

  • methods development to inhibit Phytophthora ramorum establishment and spread
  • mitigations to manage P. ramorum
  • epidemiological studies on inoculum sources, pathways, soil sampling focal points and disease distribution in nurseries

New for future submissions: In addition to accepting proposals for nursery research on P. ramorum, NORS-DUC will pay particular attention to proposals relating to other soil-borne pathogens (e.g. Phytophthora tentaculata) known to occur in California and may be of economic importance to the national nursery industry. Proposals for studies on above-ground pathogens which contain no aerial dissemination stage will also be considered, but will be subject to strict limitations. Program Manager, staff and CDFA liaison will determine if permits are required and if the facility has the capability to accommodate the proposed project. 

All work at NORS-DUC is compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for bio-safety.  Applicants must also obtain a Plant Pest Permit from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and a permit from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) for any materials evaluated at NORS-DUC.

Refer to the site guidelines, research priorities and the review criteria for relevant information to better understand what infrastructure and lab support are available at the NORS-DUC research site.

Researchers, including international colleagues, who have already secured funding and only need space, are strongly encouraged to contact the Program Manager as a negotiated space charge will be applied for field and lab use.

Contact the Program Manager, Karen Suslow, at [email protected] with questions. 

Pre-proposal Format & Site Guidelines

  • Name of Project 
  • PI Contact Information
  • Abstract 
  • Background Information and Justification 
  • Objectives clearly defined 
  • Methodology 
  • Schedule of Activities including a timeline and budget

Guidelines for Research at NORS-DUC can be obtained via e-mail.

Research Committee Charge and Responsibilities

We ensure research objectives are appropriate, scientifically sound and consistent with the goals of the program. This committee will interface with the NORS-DUC Executive and Steering Committees. The Research Committee will provide recommendations to the Steering Committee. These recommendations for funding will be based on the scientific merit of the proposals based on priorities and criteria defined. Among these recommendations will include evaluations and assessments of: experimental design, methodology and priorities. The Executive Committee is ultimately responsible for implementing the activities that are conducted at NORS-DUC.

Research Requirements: Proposals should reflect short-term, very applied research which will address nursery concerns that lead to science-based regulatory decisions. These include Best Management Practices.  Proposals must have an application for a site permit listing each principal investigator and each project proposal must meet permitting guidelines.

Each proposal must have a NEPA for Biosafety. Dominican will provide and maintain the site and will also provide technical assistance and data collection. Salaries of researchers, travel, and technical support must be provided by the researcher.  Funds for some materials and supplies will be provided in the grant. 

RFP: Under Review

Criteria for Evaluating NORS-DUC Research Proposals

Evaluation criteria will include, but not be restricted to the following: national and regional priority; scientific need and relevance; investigator's qualification; reasonableness of funding request; likelihood of success; and overall quality of proposal.

National and Regional Priority

  • Priority will be given to the national and/or regional need for the proposed research to solve problems of the U.S nursery and forest industry (as it relates to the nursery industry) as a whole (not the particular needs of an individual state or production area).

Scientific Need and Relevance

  • Consideration will be given to the scientific need and relevance of the proposed research as expressed by AmericanHort and other nursery-related organizations and agencies.

Investigator’s Qualifications

  • Importance will be given to the prior accomplishments, research, training, and experience of the investigator(s), particularly on nursery crops, and researchers ability to successfully complete the proposed research within a one-year period.

Reasonableness of Funding Request

  • How reasonable is the request for funds for the proposed research? 
  • Is it less, equal to, or in excess of what would be considered reasonable and adequate? 
  • Salaries for permanent employees will not be allowed, but salaries for postdoctorates, graduate students, and temporary labor will be allowed.
  • In most cases, the purchase of capital equipment will not be allowed.

Likelihood of Success

  • Will the project be completed in the timeframe outlined utilizing available resources?

Quality of Proposal

  • Are the objectives clearly stated? 
  • Is the proposal complete, well-written, conceived and planned? 
  • Are methods and projected outcomes clearly defined?