Request for Proposals

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), and Center for Plant Health Science and Technology CPHST), announce the open period  for proposals for Fiscal Year 2024.

Deadline for Submission: August 9, 2023

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), and Center for Plant Health Science and Technology CPHST), announce the FY2024 request for proposals for the NORS-DUC.  

All parties interested in conducting research at NORS-DUC must submit their proposals through the USDA Plant Protection Act Section 7721 (PPA 7721; Prior to submitting a proposal through PPA 7721, interested parties must submit a pre-proposal to the NORS-DUC program manager for core team review and support.

The research site facilitates activities that support the broad goal of safeguarding nursery production and the forest industry. We request proposals reflecting short-term applied research that addresses priorities that include (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 is particularly interested in proposals relating to other soil-borne pathogens (e.g. Phytophthora tentaculata) known to occur in California which may be of economic importance to the national nursery industry. We will also consider proposals for studies on above-ground pathogens which contain no aerial dissemination stage, but the proposals will be subject to strict limitations (e.g. Calonectria pseudonaviculata, causal agent of boxwood blight). The program manager, staff and CDFA liaison determine if permits are required and whether the facility can 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 the infrastructure and lab support 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, Wolfgang Schweigkofler, at with any 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.

NORS-DUC staff and the Executive Committee ensure that research objectives are appropriate, scientifically sound and consistent with the goals of the program. 

We base funding recommendations on the scientific merit of the proposals according to the priorities and criteria defined. These recommendations include evaluations and assessments of experimental design, methodology and priorities.

Research Requirements

Proposals should reflect short-term, applied research which will address nursery concerns that lead to science-based regulatory decisions, including 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 bio-safety. NORS-DUC will provide and maintain the site as well as technical assistance and data collection. The researcher is responsible for the salaries of researchers, travel and technical support. Funds for some materials and supplies will be provided in the grant.

Criteria for Evaluating NORS-DUC Research Proposals

Evaluation criteria include, but are not 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.

Priority is 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, rather than the particular needs of an individual state or production area.

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

Importance is 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 study within a one-year period.

  • 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 are not allowed, but salaries for postdoctorates, graduate students and temporary labor are permitted.
  •  In most cases, the purchase of capital equipment is not allowed.

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

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