Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science
and Technology Fellowship Program
(BORLAUG Fellowship Program)
FISCAL YEAR 2015 REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST
Eurasia Region: Kazakhstan, Turkey and Ukraine. TOPICs: Animal Health,
GMO Risk Assessment, and Use of Remote Sensing and GIS for IrrigationWatershed Management
Application Deadline: June 7, 2015
Email: Edward.email@example.com, 202-690-1983
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number (CFDA) – 10.777
USDA Funding Opportunity Number: BFP-2015-Eurasia
Table of Contents
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE
BORLAUG FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is seeking U.S. universities to host English-speaking agricultural scientists from low and middle-income countries under the Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program (Borlaug Fellowship Program). These Fellows have been competitively selected based on research priorities, academic and professional accomplishments, commitment to Borlaug Fellowship Program goals, and leadership qualities. The Fellow’s proposal and research plan appears at the end of this notice. USDA recommends that the program begin in fall 2015; however, priority should be given to a time that is appropriate for the Fellow’s proposed research topic. The program’s duration should be up to 12 weeks unless otherwise indicated.
Each Fellow has a specific research topic. Section IX provides the Fellow’s proposal with background information and research plan.
This notice identifies the Borlaug Fellowship Program deadline, legislative authority, eligibility and proposal requirements, funding restrictions, cost share requirements, allowable and unallowable costs, reporting requirements, program purpose and priorities, focus areas and recommended topics, application and submission information, application review, selection and notification process, agency program contact information, and mailing address.
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: This program is listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance under 10.777.
AWARD TYPE: Cost Reimbursable Agreement for U.S. Universities
Deadline: Applications must be received by 11:59 pm on June 7, 2015.
Legislative Authority: The legislative authority for the Borlaug Fellowship Program is provided in 7 USC 3319J, Pub. L. 95-113, title XIV, §1473G, as added Pub. L. 110-234, title VII, §7139, May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1231, and Pub. L. 110-246, §4(a), Title VII, §7139, June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1992. Authority also comes from the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 enacted as Title XIV of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977, 7 U.S.C. 3319(a), 7 U.S.C. 3318(b).
FAS reviews proposed project costs to make certain those costs are reasonable and allowable per applicable federal regulations. This program is subject to the provisions of
2 CFR Part 200, grant, cooperative, joint venture, and cost-reimbursable agreement recipients/cooperators (including, universities, non-profits, States, Cities/Counties, Tribes, for-profits, and foreign organizations) are subject to Title 2 of the Code of Federal Regulations and other legal requirements, including, but not limited to:
2 CFR Part 25, Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration
- 2 CFR Part 170, Reporting Sub award and Executive Compensation Information
- 2 CFR Part 175, Award Term for Trafficking in Persons
- 2 CFR Part 180 and Part 417, OMB Guidelines to Agencies on Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Non-procurement)
- 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. University indirect costs for cost reimbursable agreements are limited to 10% of direct costs (7 USC 3319a).
Section I: Funding Opportunity Description
The Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program promotes food security and economic growth by increasing scientific knowledge and collaborative research to improve agricultural productivity. This program targets promising, early- to mid-career, English-speaking scientists and policymakers from developing or middle-income countries. Fellows spend 8-12 weeks in the United States and work one-on-one with U.S. scientists in their field. Mentors coordinate the Fellows’ training, and they visit the Fellows’ countries for 5-10 days within 6-12 months after completion of the training in the U.S. to continue collaborative efforts.
During the program, the Fellows learn new research techniques, gain exposure to the latest scientific developments in various fields of agriculture, access fully-equipped laboratories and libraries, and learn about unique public-private partnerships that help fund agricultural research and science. Equally important, this program provides international scientists and policymakers with opportunities to establish long-term contacts with U.S. scientists and to apply newly gained knowledge from U.S. institutions to their country’s research and development programs.
Assignment of a Principal Investigator (Training Coordinator)
The host institution will designate a contact person as the Principal Investigator (PI) responsible for coordinating all administrative and programmatic arrangements.
Assignment of a Mentor
A key component of the program is matching the Fellow with a mentor. The host institution will select an appropriate mentor for one-on-one work with the Fellow for the duration of the program.
- The mentor will establish a professional relationship, providing guidance and training in the Fellow’s research and studies.
- The mentor will work with the Fellow before arrival to discuss appropriate work plan, site visits, and other arrangements. A work plan should be agreed upon and finalized no later than 2 weeks after the program start date.
- The mentor will provide draft of work plan through the PI to USDA/FAS for consultation and approval approximately 2 weeks before the commencement of the program.
- The mentor agrees to commit a significant amount of time each week for one-on-one work with the Fellow during the program.
- The mentor will continue communicating with the Fellow beyond the end of the program in the U.S. through the mentor visit.
- Mentor will submit quarterly progress reports that indicate all program activities conducted (form SF-PPR).
- The mentor may assign other faculty members to assist with Fellow’s training and research activities.
- Mentor may not be assigned to multiple Fellows during the same time frame.
Mentor Follow-up Visit
- The mentor visit to the Fellow’s home institution is required, not optional.
- The mentor will work with the Fellow to plan a follow-up visit to the Fellow’s home country. The trip should occur within 6 months to 1 year after the program ends.
- The PI should provide USDA/FAS with an agenda for mentor’s travel, including goals and objectives.
- USDA/FAS must be consulted prior to finalizing plans or purchasing plane tickets. Mentor’s travel information must be provided for emergency contact purposes and country clearance if necessary.
- The mentor will provide a trip report highlighting the trip’s activities and results through the PI to USDA/FAS within 30 days after the visit.
- The mentor should plan to meet with the USDA/FAS Attaché or staff from the U.S. Embassy while they are traveling. USDA/FAS can assist with coordination prior to the trip.
- USDA/FAS will provide a DS-2019 for the Fellow to request and obtain a J-1 Visa. USDA/FAS will provide instructions to the Fellow regarding the application process, the amount of lead-time needed, and any paperwork required. The visa start and end date will be coordinated with the host institution who will be responsible for purchasing round trip plane tickets for the fellow to come to the U.S. for his or her program.
Travel and Transportation
- The host institution must comply with the Federal Travel Regulations (41 CFR 300 et seq.).
- The host institution will provide round trip, international airfare from the Fellow’s home to the university.
- The host institution is responsible for arranging and purchasing all domestic travel related to the Fellow’s training program.
- The host institution will provide housing for the Fellow for the duration of the training program, taking into account gender and cultural norms.
- The host institution will pay lodging fees directly. The host institution will not require the Fellow to pay for his or her lodging expenses, whether through reimbursement or advance payment.
- Lodging should include a private bedroom, private or shared bathroom, access to a laundry room, and access to a kitchen with pots, pans, and utensils.
- Basic necessities, such as sheets, towels, and cleaning supplies (if not already provided), should be provided for Fellow’s use. The Fellow should not have to pay for these items.
- Lodging should be within walking distance to the campus/training location or easily accessible by public transportation.
- If public transportation is required to access campus/training location, the host institution will provide the Fellow with a bus pass or proper allowance for transportation expenses.
- When planning lodging options, the host institution should check with the Fellow and account for any special dietary restrictions or preferences.
Meals and Incidentals (M&IE)
- The host institution will provide each Fellow with meal and living allowances for the duration of stay.
- Daily M&IE allowance shall be calculated based on current GSA per diem rates. The host institution can determine the frequency of per diem allotments, but the Fellow must receive per diem within the first week of the Fellowship. Inform the Fellow and USDA/FAS immediately if this cannot be accommodated.
Emergency Health Insurance
- The host institution must purchase emergency health insurance for the Fellow for the duration of stay, as required for all J1 Visa holders (22 CFR 62.14).
- The Fellow should not be expected to purchase his or her own health insurance and then be reimbursed.
- The host institution will educate the Fellow as to what is covered under health insurance policy, especially highlighting that pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.
- The host institution will alert USDA/FAS staff if any health/medical conditions arise during the Fellowship.
- The host institution will initiate contact with the Fellow as soon as possible.
- The host institution will develop the training program in consultation with USDA/FAS and the Fellow.
- The host institution will keep USDA/FAS informed regarding any logistical or program planning.
- The host institution will notify USDA/FAS immediately upon Fellow’s physical arrival and departure from the U.S.
- The host institution will provide USDA/FAS with the Fellow’s temporary U.S. address and phone number, and emergency contact numbers for the PI, mentor, or other appropriate institution personnel. This information is required so that Fellow can be reached in the event of an emergency.
- The host institution will provide educational materials and supplies to each Fellow necessary for their full participation in the fellowship.
- The host institution will pay for all fees related to the Fellow’s training program, such as (but not limited to) technology fees, administrative fees, laboratory fees, etc.
- The host institution will arrange relevant field visits to a local farm, processing plant, private industry, or other related industry as applicable to the Fellow’s training program.
- The host institution will ensure the Fellow submits an interim and final report (2-3 pages each) to USDA/FAS before the Fellow leaves the United States. USDA/FAS will provide a report template.
- The PI/Training Coordinator will communicate directly with the Fellow at least 4-8 weeks before his or her arrival in the U.S. to ensure that all pertinent information is provided, including:
- Name and contact information of PI/Training Coordinator
- Name and contact information of mentor
- Institution information, weather information, and clothing needs
- Housing and M&IE allowance
- Program plan and anticipated site visits
- Professional development expectations
- Reminder to bring any necessary prescription medications
- Explain what is and is not covered under emergency health insurance policy (e.g. no pre-existing conditions, no dental, etc.)
- Institution will provide an orientation upon the Fellow’s arrival to acquaint them with campus and community resources:
- Explain and demonstrate local bus/transportation options
- Explain cultural and legal expectations
- USDA will provide a welcome and orientation packet for mentors
- The Principal Investigator or Mentor will submit quarterly progress reports. The Principal Investigator or Mentor will use Performance Progress Report (SF-PPR) to submit quarterly progress reports.
- The Principal Investigator or Mentor will submit a final report to USDA/FAS within 30 days after the Mentor visit. USDA/FAS will provide additional guidance and a template for the final report.
- Reports should include the following:
- Summary of activities, accomplishments, and any problems encountered or overcome
- Photographs, when possible
- Completed program evaluations and action plan
- An invoice cannot be paid if a progress report is past due.
- Financial reports will follow the Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements, 2 CFR 215.
- Invoices will use the Request for Advance or Reimbursement (SF-270).
- Invoices will be submitted electronically to SF-270InvoicesMailbox@fas.usda.gov and copied to the USDA/FAS program manager and USD/FAS program assistant.
- A final invoice must be submitted within 90 days of the end of the period of performance for the agreement.
- A detailed breakdown of expenses must be included with SF-270. Payment will not be processed without supporting documentation.
- A summary of expenses that aligns expense totals to the agreement’s budget line items must be included.
- Costs must be reported in accordance with the regulations that govern the agreement, and must follow the applicable Federal cost principles 2 CFR 200. The institution cannot be reimbursed for costs that are contrary to the specific terms of the agreement or are outside its scope.
- A Federal Financial Report (SF-425) must be submitted quarterly and within 90 days of the end of the period of performance for the agreement.
- An invoice cannot be paid if a financial report is past due.
Awards are anticipated to range from $25,000 to $36,000 per fellowship. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service will fund agreements for the Borlaug Fellowship Program. For more information on the Borlaug Program, please visit our website at:
Activities pursuant to this REI will be for a 2 year period. The estimated start date is on or about August 1, 2015 through July 31, 2017. Fellowships will begin between September 2015 and August 2016 depending on appropriate timing for activities to occur based on any seasonal needs for the program.
USDA will enter into a cost reimbursable agreement with selected universities (7 CFR 3319a). Program staff will maintain involvement in the administration of the Borlaug Fellowship Program.
Section III: Eligibility Information
- ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
Proposals may be received from U.S. state cooperative institutions or other colleges and universities and minority serving institutions (MSIs). Proposals from smaller academic institutions, MSIs (in particular American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Asian American, and African American institutions) are especially encouraged to apply.
A proposal from a consortium of organizations must be submitted as a single proposal with one U.S. institution serving as the lead and all other organizations as team members, when applicable. An individual mentor must be identified for each Borlaug Fellow. A single mentor may not host two fellows simultaneously. The Principal Investigator (PI) and mentor must hold a position at an eligible U.S. institution.
- COST SHARING AND MATCHING REQUIREMENTS
- This program has no statutory formula.
- This program has no matching requirements.
This is a cost reimbursable agreement issued under 7 U.S.C. 3319a.
- ADDRESS TO REQUEST APPLICATION PACKAGE
This announcement contains all instructions and links to all forms required to complete the application. All applications must be submitted in a single PDF document. The application deadline is May 18, 2015. No mailed or facsimile submissions will be accepted.
- CONTENT AND FORM OF APPLICATION SUBMISSION:
Institutions may submit proposals to host more than one Borlaug Fellow. Institutions interested in hosting one or more Fellows should submit a proposal following the guidelines below:
Complete SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance for a single Borlaug Fellow. USDA/FAS cannot accept applications for multiple fellows in a single application.
- Indicate the name of the institution applying to host the Fellows
- Indicate the country, research interest, and reference number
- Identify a mentor. A Mentor may not be assigned to multiple Fellows who are in the U.S. at the same time.
- Provide a tentative research plan based on the Fellow’s research proposal and action plan, including topics covered, field visits, and other activities
- Include a narrative description of the proposed fellowship, how it will be administered, and the role of the university faculty and support staff
- Provide a summary of relevant institutional capabilities for hosting international scientists and policymakers in the proposed field
- Briefly describe the research expertise and international experience of the mentor in the Fellow’s field of interest
- Provide a one to two page curriculum vitae for the mentor and other collaborating researchers involved in the proposed program (not included in the page count maximum)
- Identify the expected skills or knowledge to be acquired by the Fellow at the end of the program
- Complete a budget using Standard Form -424A- Budget Information Non Construction Programs, including a detailed budget worksheet (see page 11) and a budget narrative.
- Provide a budget narrative (mandatory). All line items should be described in sufficient detail to enable FAS to determine that the costs are reasonable and allowable for the project in accordance with federal regulations.
- If attendance at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa during October 2015 is feasible, the budget should include time and funding for the Fellow and Mentor to attend. An adjustment to the Fellow’s M&IE must be made for the time spent in Iowa.
- Complete AD-3030, Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.
- Complete AD-3031, Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants
- Complete the Host University Administrative Checklist on university administrative policies
- Submit all application materials in a single email. Include all application information that is not a specific form in a single PDF document.
Successful applicants will be required to submit all relevant national certifications and compliance documents prior to awards being issued.
Please complete the following checklist concerning the university’s policies on providing per diem funds to exchange visitors. This information is for USDA internal use only and does not determine your eligibility to serve as a host institution.
|Host University Policies||YES||NO|
|Will the mentor listed in the proposal be present for the majority of the fellowship?|
|Will the mentor be able to spend time meeting with fellow individually each week?|
|Will the university be able to provide per diem within the first week of the Fellow’s arrival?|
|Will the university be able to provide fully furnished lodging with kitchen facilities?|
|Does the university withhold federal tax on the participants’ per diem and housing?* If so, you must list this expense as a separate line item on the budget.|
*Note that Borlaug Fellows (as trainees, not students) are considered EXEMPT INDIVIDUALS under the IRS Substantial Presence Test for tax purposes. The exemption falls under one or both of the following categories: either the Foreign Government-Related Individuals standard or the Closer Connection Exception. The only requirement is to complete IRS Form 8843 (Sections 1 and 2). No taxes should be withheld from Borlaug Fellows since they are exempt.
|SF-424 Category||Line Items||Rate||Days||Subtotal|
|Fellow’s Logistical Expenses|
|TRAVEL||2. Meals and Incidentals|
|OTHER||3. Federal Tax|
|TRAVEL||4. Medical Insurance|
|TRAVEL||5. Visa Processing (Including SEVIS Fees)|
|TRAVEL||6. Local Transportation|
|TRAVEL||7. Airfare – International|
|TRAVEL||8. Airfare – Domestic (If Applicable)|
|Fellow’s Professional Development|
|TRAVEL||1. Field Tours|
|SUPPLIES||2. Educational Materials and IT Expenses|
|SUPPLIES||3. Shipping Materials|
|Host Institution Fees|
|PERSONNEL||1. Training Coordinator (Salary)|
|FRINGE BENEFITS||1.b. Training Coordinator (Fringe Benefits)|
|PERSONNEL||2. Mentor Fee|
|FRINGE BENEFITS||2.b. Mentor (Fringe Benefits)|
|SUPPLIES||3. Laboratory Expenses|
|World Food Prize Symposium (Oct. 2015; If Applicable)|
|TRAVEL||1. Domestic Transportation|
|OTHER||3. Conference Fee|
|Mentor Follow up Activity (5-10 Days)|
|TRAVEL||1. Mentor Airfare – International|
|TRAVEL||2. Mentor Domestic In-Country Travel (If Applicable)|
|TRAVEL||4. Meals & Incidentals|
|SUPPLIES||5. Supplies for Trainings/Workshops|
|Total Program Costs|
|INDIRECT||Indirect Costs/Overhead (10%)|
Submit all application materials in a single email. The following forms are required: SF-424, SF-424A, AD-3030, and AD-3031. Include all application information that is not a specific form in a single PDF document.
Funding opportunities will be advertised via the USDA/NIFA listserv. All proposals must be submitted to the email address below with all required forms. Proposals not submitted to the application email address by the stated deadline will not be accepted.
- Borlaug Fellowship Eurasia Program Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
To help in this review and to expedite the award process, budgets must include a narrative detailing all line items. The categories listed below are examples of some of the more common items found in project budgets. All items should be described in sufficient detail that would enable FAS to determine that the costs are reasonable and allowable for the project per federal regulations.
- Salaries and Fringe Benefits:
Requested funds may be allocated toward salaries, fringe benefits, or the combination thereof. Only individuals that hold positions at eligible U.S. institutions should be listed in this category.
For domestic travel, provide the purpose of the travel and information used in calculating the estimated cost, such as the destination, number of travelers, and estimated cost per trip. There are several restrictions associated with traveling on federal funds. In most cases, airfare must be purchased in economy class from a U.S. carrier. Travelers must also adhere to federally mandated domestic per diem guidelines. Additional information may be found in the circulars listed in the “Legislative Authority” section of this announcement.
All personal property excluding equipment, intangible property, and debt instruments as defined in this section.
- Other Direct Costs:
Other Direct Costs are those anticipated charges not included in other budget categories, including materials and supplies, lab fees, publication costs, reasonable consultant fees, computer services, sub-awards (the level of detail required for the sub-award budget is the same as the recipient organization), equipment rental, facility rental, conferences and meetings, speaker fees, honorariums.
- Indirect Costs:
Indirect Costs may not exceed 10% of direct costs.
General purpose equipment (no particular scientific, technical, or programmatic purpose) and scientific equipment exceeding $5,000 or more; entertainment; capital improvements; thank you gifts, and other expenses not directly related to the project are not allowed.
All applications must be submitted electronically as indicated above.
All proposals are carefully reviewed by USDA/FAS Program Officers and other FAS staff against the criteria listed below, including others who are experts in a particular field, as appropriate.
- Technical Expertise and Experience (40 points): Mentor must have appropriate technical background to provide the desired, advanced training. If necessary, other appropriate collaborating scientists should be identified to meet any of the objectives which the mentor cannot address. Mentor’s experience and knowledge of relevant agricultural conditions within the Fellow’s country or a similar location will be considered as appropriate. The trainer’s experience with international training and adult-education will also be considered.
- Overall Program (35 points): The overall program plan and design should be relevant to the Fellow’s objectives background. The program plan should be thorough, well thought out, and will achieve the desired post-program deliverables. Relevant agricultural practices within the region of the university will be considered as appropriate. Relevant university resources should be identified. Additional resources/organizations should be identified as appropriate. Site visits and meetings should be meaningful to the content of the program, if included.
- Budget (25 points): The proposed budget should be appropriate for the length of the program. The budget should include appropriate cost savings where available.
Other factors may also be taken into consideration such as regional diversity and MSI status in the review process. After review by appropriate offices, it is expected that all applicants will be notified within 2 months after the closing date for applications.
- AWARD NOTICES
Applicants should expect to be contacted by program staff for clarification and additional discussion on any budget related issues before final determination of successful applicants. Any notification by the program office regarding the selection of an institution is not an authorization to begin performance. No pre-award costs can be charged. The notice of award signed by the Deputy Administrator of USDA/FAS/OCBD is the authorizing document. This document will be sent by electronic mail to the university. Both parties must sign this document before the agreement is in force. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the status of their application by email.
Certifications regarding debarment Suspension, Drug Free Workplace, Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status, and other national administrative assurances and policies are required. The cooperator must adhere to administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements as contained in 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
Primary Investigators are required to submit mid-term and final Fellow’s performance reports on the U.S. portion of the Borlaug Fellowship. A final mentor’s visit report including a final evaluation should be submitted no later than 30 days after the completion of the mentor visit.
- Financial reports will use SF-425.
- Progress Reports will use SF-PPR.
- Invoices will use SF-270.
Applicants can direct questions or request help before the deadline for submission of the application for these funding opportunities via the contact information below:
Edward Gerard: 202-690-1983, Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Rumery: 202-690-0818, Molly.email@example.com
The USDA Borlaug Fellowship Program began in 2004. More than 700 fellowships have been supported to date. Additional program information is available at http://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/borlaug-fellowship-program.
Related Requests for Expressions of interest will be distributed by region including: Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, North Africa, East/ Sub-Saharan Africa. This will be posted on the NIFA listserv.
- Dr. Marat Kuibagarov, PhD Veterinary Science, Researcher, Agro-Technical University/National Reference Lab, Kazakhstan
Area of interest: Diagnostic methods for Johne’s Disease in cattle
Dr. Kuibagarov works at the Research Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology at the Agro- Technical University in Astana and he also works part time at the National Veterinary Reference Laboratory in Astana. His main interest is in the diagnosis of various cattle diseases, but he is particularly interested in advanced diagnostic methods for cattle para-tuberculosis (Johne’s disease), control programs, and the epidemiology of this disease.
There are currently cases of para-tuberculosis that have been identified in Kazakhstan, but he expects the incidence to grow in the future as the country is making an effort to revive its beef and dairy cattle industries. He expects this disease to become more prevalent and of greater economic importance in the future.
His 12 week action plan of requested study in advanced diagnostics is as follows:
Week Type of work
1 Introduction. Review of methods. ELISA, methods practice.
2 Quantitative interpretation of ELISA (multi-level cut-offs)
3 Cost-benefit of diagnostics when used in para-tuberculosis control programs
4 Preparation various types of samples for cultivation.
5 Liquid culture using MGIT paraTB medium and the BACTEC MGIT 960 instrument. Methods practice.
6 Quantitation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. Para-tuberculosis (MAP) in samples using Time to Detection in MGIT 960
7 Preparation various types of samples for PCR.
8 Real-time PCR. Comparison of a commercial kit (Tetracore) to an in-house IS900 qPCR
9 Primer design and assay optimization.
10 Multiplex (5 targets) PCR for discrimination among members of the Mycobacterium Avium Complex.
11 Peptide-mediated separation of MAP in samples using magnetic beads.
12 Phage assay for MAP according to the methods of Irene Grant.
- Dr. Iuliia Danylenko, PhD, Hydro Engineering, The Institute of Water Problems and Land Reclamation, Head of Laboratory, National Academy of Science, Ukraine
Area of interest: Use of GIS and remote sensing/computer models to manage watersheds and to map water supply and irrigation requirements
Her interests lie in using remote sensing data and ground sensors, GIS technology, and computer models to map and determine irrigation needs and supply for three oblasts in southern Ukraine. She wishes to learn how to use these tools and techniques to develop maps and map overlays that will illustrate supply and demand of irrigation water and methods of irrigation/watershed management.
Title: Managing Irrigation as a complex process with spatially distributed parameters.
Objectives: To prove methodological approaches to assess the conditions and management of irrigation through the use of GIS technology and remote sensing data.
In the present times, the effective water management is the key issue for the sustainable development of a specific territory and for growing crops in the conditions of a dry climate. The effective management should be based on modern technologies which make use of all the data that one can gather. It is very important to develop and continue constantly improving the methodological approaches to water management. It is important for her to learn more details about which modern computer programs, models, and methodological approaches are used for water management, and especially for water assessment in the irrigation sector. She wants to discover which of these models could be used for the conditions of South of Ukraine. Such models are expected to use the remote sensing data and GIS technologies for water stress assessment as the most promising tools for data collection and process.
Summary of Program goals
- She plans to learn the methods and means of irrigation assessment and management in the United States, including corresponding software with visualization condition of irrigated lands. After completion the study course will be formed algorithm for assessment and management of irrigation, which will be offered for practical use in the condition of Southern Ukraine. This program proposal is directly related to research interests in terms of assessment of the use, forecasting, and integrated water management in rural areas, including irrigation.
- More than half of the Ukraine’s territory has not enough natural water, and irrigation is a very important part of sustainable crops cultivation. But alas, are present potential of irrigated lands is not used in full, in fact, with 2.17 million hectares currently used only about 600 thousands hectares. The obtained during the training skills and techniques will be used to improve the use of irrigation potential. The implementation of the results will lead to lower unit costs of water for agricultural production, improve crop productivity under irrigation and reduce the negative impact on irrigated and adjacent lands.
12 Week Proposed Program of study:
- Refinement and correction of research plan according to the specific conditions of study plan. Adjust research plan.
Requirements: Personal computer, library, internet access (during all the training time).
- Exploring the Software Product on a calculation of water balances for irrigated lands. Assessment of the software and determination of its usefulness for the conditions of irrigation systems in Ukraine.
Requirements: Access to the appropriate software, help by the experienced user.
- Study of software product of evaluation and visualization of the water use state on the research area. Assessment of the software and determination of its usefulness for the conditions of irrigation systems in Ukraine.
Access to the appropriate software, help of the experienced user.
- Introducing the geo-information technology the research of soil moisture levels. Assessment the technology for use in the south of Ukraine.
Access to appropriate technology.
- Choosing the research area similar to the irrigation systems in the south of Ukraine. The research object.
Access to materials that characterize the technical state, operational and environmental conditions of the functioning of objects analogues.
- Field Studies.
Advanced description of the research area.
The permission to survey.
- Collecting data for water balance calculations and irrigation management. Water balances the research area, irrigation regimes.
Access to the data and, if available, to the appropriate software.
- Evaluation of water use indicators under irrigation for object analog. Water use indicators.
Access to relevant software and input data.
- Evaluation the spatial distribution. Map of the current spatial distribution of water availability.
Access to relevant software and input data.
- Measures to optimize the spatial distribution of water availability on research area. Map of the optimal distribution of water available.
Access to relevant software and input data.
- Measures to management the water supply at the research object, taking into account the water available. Optimal water balance for research object.
Access to input data.
- Visualization the research results, preparing the training course report. Maps, report.
Access to relevant software and input data.
- Dr. Kairat Tabynov, PhD Veterinary Science, Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems / Laboratory Collection of Microorganisms, Senior Researcher, Gvardeiskiy City, Kazakhstan
Area of Interest: Vaccine development for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS)
Dr. Tabynov has been involved in working on a few projects at his laboratory funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The Defense Department paid for Kairat to attend the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Institute in Monterey, California for two months in 2007. He has also been nominated to attend an APHIS training course (International Wildlife Disease Training Course) at Ft. Collins, Colorado in July or August of 2015 (not confirmed as yet) so will not be available until late August or September, 2015 to begin his program.
Originally Kairat had proposed brining a deactivated PRRS vaccine to the U.S. that he developed in Kazakhstan reportedly effective against a strain prevalent in the country. He wanted to test the vaccine on pigs in the U.S and then infect them with different U.S. strains to check the effectiveness of his vaccine against different strains of the virus not present in Kazakhstan. We told him that this would not be possible and asked him to submit a second 12 week outline of study for the program.
His second submission also included using an inactivated vaccine (to be developed here) to test on piglets during the program. We again told him that due to time and funding limitations that this would not be possible.
His final 12 week outline is based on the premise that he will be joining a lab working on developing a vaccine against PRRS and that he could learn the latest techniques and advances in the development of a vaccine against this disease.
Background From his original proposal is quoted below:
“Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is the leading cause of economic casualty in swine industry worldwide. In the US alone the economic losses caused by PRRS amount to more than US$ 560 million annually. The causative agent, PRRS virus (PRRSV), belongs to the family Arteriviridae, order Nidovirales, and causes reproductive failure in sows including still births, mummification, week-born piglets and high pre-weaning mortality. The application of vaccines against PRRS virus (PRRSV) was initiated in 1993 in Europe and one year later in North America. Current PRRSV vaccines include two main types of products: modified live and inactivated virus based on treatment with binary ethylenimine (BEI) and mixed with an adjuvant (MontanideTM Gel 01 ST) vaccines. Vaccination with killed vaccines (KV) is one of the solutions to control PRRS in Europe. Europe KV commercial vaccines provide limited efficacy due to the weak stimulation of the immune system and no effective induction of neutralizing antibodies. However, KV vaccines can induce a strong Cell Mediated Immune (CMI) response. In Europe, the KV vaccination prove to reduce the negative effects of PRRSV in breeding herds, improving their reproductive performance, e.g., increase of farrowing rate and number of live or weaned pigs, reduction of premature farrowing rate, abortion rate and number of mummified and stillborn piglets.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the beginning of 2014 the number of pigs in Kazakhstan totaled 1.2 million heads, most of which are on the backyard. In case of PRRS in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan the number of pigs will be reduced significantly, resulting in huge economic losses.
In Kazakhstan, PRRS is ubiquitous. Employees of the Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems (RIBSP) isolated PRRSV strains in the northern regions in 2008 and in Zhambyl region in 2010. So we should not forget the fact that PRRS is widespread in many countries with developed pig breeding and often occurs in a latent form.
In the laboratory collection of microorganisms of Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems by grant «Development of technology for production of inactivated vaccine against PRRSV» for 2012-2014, financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan was developed experimental inactivated PRRSV vaccine based on treatment with binary ethylenimine (BEI) and adjuvanted with MontanideTM Gel 01 ST (Gel 01).
The development of more efficacious PRRS vaccines remains an important goal for the swine industry worldwide. My participation in the Borlaug Fellowship Program will directly contribute to increased productivity in pig farms of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as in the case of confirmation of the effectiveness of developed inactivated PRRS vaccine substantially reduced the economic losses inflicted by this infection.
His new training proposal is as follows: “The new training program includes work on the equipment and test systems that are absent in our institute. The program is as follows:
12-weeks internship program at a US university
- Name of the program: «Genetic characteristics of strains porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus and methods of testing of efficacy vaccines against PRRS developed to date».
- Purpose of the internship: «Mastering the methods of testing genetic characteristics of strains and efficacy vaccines against PRRS used in the US».
- Plan of internship:
First to third weeks – Genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of PRRSV US isolates:
– RNA isolation (first week)
– Amplification of PRRSV genome (first and second weeks)
– Phylogenetic analysis (third week)
- Automated sequencer (ABI 377, USA).
- Sequences analyzer software MacVector/AssemblyLign (Oxford Molecular Group, USA), BlastN, BlastP and Sixframe, ClustalW, Align.
- Big Dye Terminator Cycle sequencing kit V1.1 (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, USA)
From fourth and twelfth weeks – Methods of testing cellular immunity:
– Methods of working with ELISpot Assay (fourth and sixth weeks)
– Methods of working with Flow Cytometry Analysis (from seventh to ninth weeks )
– Methods of working with Analysis of Cytokine Responses (from tenth to twelfth weeks)
- ELISA Plate Reader
- Immunospot image analyzer (Cellular Technology, Cleveland, OH)
- FACS Caliber low cytometer (BD Biosciences)
- FlowJo software (Tree Star, Inc., OR, USA)
- Dr. Remziye Yilmaz, PhD Food Science, Associate Professor, Department of Food Engineering, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
Area of Interest: Biotechnology: Risk analysis, risk perception and communication, risk management, and the evaluation procedures used in USA with regard to GMO seed testing, regulation, and certification.
Dr. Remziye has an extensive background in biotechnology and testing for the presence of GMOs in food since graduate school. From 2005 until recently she supervised the Genome Analysis Lab, and the accredited services of GMO analysis at the Middle East Technical University, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology R&D Center. Prior to that, she was the founding engineer responsible for establishing the Ankara Province Biogenetic Unit to provide GMO analysis and GMO investigatory services at the Ankara Food Control Laboratory.
She is considered to be one of the leading experts in the field of biotechnology and is respected as a knowledgeable formal and informal resource by government officials involved in food safety and GMO laws and testing in Turkey. She has been, or is still, a scientific expert at the Biosafety Board of Turkey, a member of the Technical Sub-working group of “Support for the Implementation of the National Biosafety Framework for the Republic of Turkey”, a technical expert at the Turkish Accredidation Agency for assessment for GMO labs in Turkey, a member of the Turkish Biotechnology Association, Member of the National Biosafety Framework Development Project, Member of the European Biotechnology Association, etc.
She had originally wanted to come on the Borlaug Program to learn how the “Omics technologies” Genomics, Proteomics, and Metabolomics profiling tools, are used to assess GMO safety. After much discussion, and informing her that these tools are not generally used in the U.S. to determine GMO equivalence, she has decided to concentrate on the risk analysis and testing, and regulatory processes and procedures to bring GMO seeds to market. If possible (but not required) it would be good for her to gain exposure to how the “Omics” tools are used in plant genetic research and how they are not particularly relevant to determining food safety or GMO equivalence.
We would like her to be paired with a mentor/s who is/are an expert in food safety assessment, risk analysis, and the testing, regulation, review, and certification processes used in the development and release of GMO plant products in the U.S.
Her proposal is as follows:
Genetically Modified Plants and Risk Analysis
Risk analysis includes risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. Risk assessment is the first and crucial part of the risk analysis process of GMOs. The principal approach on a case-by-case basis and proceeding step-by step is generally accepted, but harmonization of the different methods used on an international basis is needed. Risk assessment needs to comply with high scientific standards. Scientific uncertainty in assessing potential risks needs to be acknowledged and dealt with in an open and transparent way that also includes the public. More research is necessary to fill some of the knowledge gaps for creative approaches in this issue. In the proposed study, the use of the main risk analysis approaches will be searched and compared between the GM crop and non-GM crop to justify risk assessment procedures and obtain detailed information to support genetically engineering technology. The long-term goal of this proposal is to obtain reliable knowledge for risk assessment methodology of genetically engineered crops.
Risk assessment has a long tradition in regulating human activities with the aim to minimise or avoid risk to human health and the environment. The researches in under developing or developing countries are consistent with the low-quality, low-impact, no-control, no-dose-response, limited-biological-relevance, poorly designed studies that are held in sterling regard by the anti-GMO community. Scientific examples on risk analysis and management procedures can be found from the developed country agencies such as EPA, APHIS, USDA policy makers which are provider a good understanding of the practices and procedures involved in the development, testing, and approval of biotech crops in the United States. Also, there are some good ranking universities that are food safety and risk analysis expert in the United States.
Risk assessment, the first part of risk analysis, is followed by risk management and risk communication. Many consumers are led to believe that GMOs can cause cancer, autism, gluten issues or other illnesses. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every leading health organization in the world stands behind the safety of GMOs. Extensive and continuous studies on GMOs are being conducted to ensure their ongoing safety for consumption. There is a lot of misunderstanding on the strategy for risk management and the risk communication. For example The Turkish Council of State has cancelled the import of two genetically modified (GM Corn MON810 and MON810x88017) corn varieties following a lawsuit filed by the ‘No to GMO Platform’. On the other hand, The Turkish Biosecurity Council had allowed the import and use as animal feed of 16 GM corn and 3 GM soy varieties included of two GM crops. In fact, the truth strategy is quite simple to understand: A thorough comparison between a GMO (for example MON810) and a conventional safe counterpart allows the identification of all the differences created by the genetic modification. This is in fact the starting point of the safety assessment. This is a sound scientific strategy that is followed by all authorities throughout the U.S. universities as described in
The guidelines established in 2004 by the Codex Alimentarius which is the internationally recognized body for establishing food safety requirements. Thus, this research opportunity can provide valuable information about risk analysis, with the risk management and risk communication approaches which could be essential for GE crops characterization and safety assessment.
Our objectives are:
- Searching scientific based approaches on risk analysis of genetically engineered plants
- Learning scientific aspects by internationally agreed protocols including EU and U.S. approaches
- Specifying the objectives which have to be fulfilled at each stage of the risk assessment, risk management and risk communication; and
- Establishing a protocol for the comparative analysis for specific GMO such as GM Corn MON810 and MON810x88017
- Applying lessons learned to Turkey’s biosafety system, especially in the context of possible amendments to the law, or revisions to the implementing regulations
The strategy, which will be developed in this project, is expected to have various potential applications in risk assessment and to be used to evaluate transgenic crops characterization in Turkey. The strategy may also have broad applications in modifying many targets such as biotech enzymes, antibodies, and vaccine candidates in plants.
Thus, meeting the goal of this proposal will give us a novel opportunity to obtain reliable risk analysis matrix to evaluate GE crops including risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. Furthermore, the training will be organized in plenary sessions where the tutors from USA and tutors from Turkey will deliver presentations on the specific topics and will be discussed. With this workshop strengthen the human potential in risk assessment and risk management in GMO both quantitatively and qualitatively for our country.
Research Action Plan (up to 12 weeks)
Table1. Timesheet for proposed research activities
|2||University||Science Policy Principles
Overview of GE Risk Assessment Process
|3||University||Overview of Risk Management and Risk Communication
|4||Washington, DC||Meetings with USDA, FDA and EPA
o The approach, structure, tools, and mechanisms for assessing GE
Meetings with Industry Groups and NGOs (Biotechnology Industry Group, Crop Life International, and an NGO or two that are skeptical of GE)
o What are the challenges of balancing risk-based regulation of GE and public concerns with the technology?
|5||TBD||Meetings with scientists (USDA/ARS, University)
o The scientists’ role in biosafety policy decisions
|6||TBD||Meetings with Farmer/Consumer Organizations
o Civil Society advocacy strategies
|7||Missouri||Meetings with Monsanto, and with corn and soybean farmers|
|8||University||Risk communication strategies and speaking and media interactions|
|9||University||Develop a model assessment system|
|10||University||Compare protocols in US, EU and Codex|
|11||University||TBD continue GMO risk analysis activities or possible exposure to omics in plant genetic research)|
|12||University||TBD continue GMO risk analysis activities or possible exposure to omics in plant genetic research|
USDA/APHIS/ Biotechnology Regulatory Service
- Risks associated with or suspected from biotechnology
- Developments in the technology that reduce or increase those risks
- Tools available to assess risk
- Conceptually or statistically, what level of data is necessary?
- How does APHIS demonstrate an unbiased approach to the public?
Environmental Protection Agency
- How does EPA compare the use of conventional pesticides to those incorporated in GE products?
- Assessment methodologies for pesticides – human health
- Assessment methodologies for pesticides – environmental impact
FDA/ Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
- How does FDA evaluate early biotech concepts?
- What methods facilitate FDA’s assessment of risk?
- How does FDA validate test data provided by the developer?
Crop Life International
- Discuss the role of biotechnology in addressing production, pest management and food safety issues globally;
- Discuss ways that biotechnology contributes to improvements in conventional farming and management practices;
- Discuss barriers to the development of new biotech products;
- Discuss risk communication practices and information resources for public education on biotechnology.
Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO)
- Discuss industry response to public concerns over biotechnology;
- Discuss new developments in the technology and possible regulatory challenges – such as sysgenic transformations and gene trait insertions that do not fall under regulatory control.
A: Benefits of Biotechnology
- Discuss the benefits of biotech products available on the market today;
- Discuss efforts at improving co-existence;
- Discuss future products and intended benefits – emphasis on issues specific to Turkey, such as drought tolerance and salinity tolerance;
- Discuss hurdles to the development of those products;
B: Risk Assessment and Regulatory “Approval”
- Discuss Monsanto’s understanding of the US requirements for data development and preparation;
- Discuss concerns with published studies that conclude questionable safety or adverse health concerns from biotech crops – emphasis on elements that Monsanto believes are insufficient or of poor design;
- Discuss Monsanto’s approach to dossier development
C: Issues with Turkey’s Biosafety Law
- Discuss concerns with Turkey’s Biosafety Law liability provisions;
- Discuss concerns with Turkey’s Biosafety Law protection of confidential business information provisions;
- Discuss concerns with the appointment of Biosafety Board Officials and subsequent transparency and independence;
- Discuss possible solutions that would encourage Monsanto to consider applying for regulatory approval in Turkey.
USDA/ARS, West Virginia, Plum Pox Virus Resistance Development Team (Dr. Ralph Scorza),
(or another active field testing location)
- Discuss plum pox and compare conventional and biotech management approaches;
- Discuss the safety regulatory approval process in the US and EU;
- Discuss the difficulties in developing biotech traits for the public good through publicly funded or academic programs;
- Discuss the potential for beneficial traits through the use of biotechnology – emphasis on biotechnology being an aspect in cooperation with conventional and even organic approaches.
- Discuss the economics of agricultural production and production risks such as weather and pests;
- Discuss how biotechnology applies to the mitigation of production issues;
- Discuss the challenges of biotech, hybrid seeds, purchasing new seeds annually, and co-existence are for farmers;
- Discuss the impact of biotechnology on farmers, consumers and the economy as a whole.
Visit biotech corn and soybean farmers
- Discuss the impact of biotechnology on farmers:
- On their productivity;
- On their use of chemical inputs;
- On their profitability;
- On their health;
- On the impact of their activities on the environment.
During the 12 week program through the United States, participant on the 2015 Borlaug Fellowship Program for Turkey to gain an understanding or find answers to the following:
- Why do we regulate agricultural biotechnology?
- How do regulators assure the public that decisions aren’t based on politics or private interests?
- What is a good GE safety study?
- How “little” data is sufficient for a regulatory approval?
- What are the assessment tools available to regulators?
- What are the limitations of the assessment tools available to regulators?
- How informative or misleading are labelling requirements?
- Can we rely on detection testing?
- What would be required to satisfy detractors of GE?
- How do regulators apply the Precautionary Principle?
- If nothing is “safe”, then how do we apply ‘GRAS’?
- Are there risk management options between approval and disapproval?
- How can regulators communicate degrees of certainty to the public?
- What are best practices for communicating risk to the public?
- What are common elements to assessment protocols in a few countries?
- What are uncommon elements, or elements that are applied differently?