Small Business Innovation Research

 

To stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthen the role of small businesses in meeting Federal research and development needs, increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from USDA-supported research and development efforts, and foster and encourage participation, by women-owned and socially disadvantaged small business firms in technological innovation.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.212
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
PROJECT GRANTS
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:

(A) SBIR - Phase I:

Phase I proposals were solicited in 10 different topic areas: Forests and Related Resources; Plant Production and Protection – Biology; Plant Production and Protection – Engineering; Animal Production and Protection; Air, Water and Soils; Food Science and Nutrition; Rural and Community Development; Aquaculture, Biofuels and Biobased Products; and Small and Mid-Size Farms. A total of 479 Phase I applications were submitted and 75 projects were funded for a success rate of 16%. A total of $7,421,710 was spent on these projects.


(B) - SBIR Phase II:

Phase II proposals were solicited in 10 different topic areas: Forests and Related Resources; Plant Production and Protection – Biology; Plant Production and Protection – Engineering; Animal Production and Protection; Air, Water and Soils; Food Science and Nutrition; Rural and Community Development; Aquaculture, Biofuels and Biobased Products; and Small and Mid-Size Farms. A total of 47 Phase II applications were submitted and 25 projects have been recommended for funding for a success rate of 53%. A total of $11,048,055 has been allocated to fund these 25 Phase II projects. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:

(A) SBIR - Phase I:

Phase I proposals were solicited in 10 different topic areas: Forests and Related Resources; Plant Production and Protection – Biology; Plant Production and Protection – Engineering; Animal Production and Protection; Air, Water and Soils; Food Science and Nutrition; Rural and Community Development; Aquaculture, Biofuels and Biobased Products; and Small and Mid-Size Farms. A total of 414 Phase I applications were reviewed and 87 projects were funded for a success rate of 21%. A total of $8,530,162 was spent on these projects.


(B) - SBIR Phase II:
Phase II proposals were solicited in 10 different topic areas: Forests and Related Resources; Plant Production and Protection – Biology; Plant Production and Protection – Engineering; Animal Production and Protection; Air, Water and Soils; Food Science and Nutrition; Rural and Community Development; Aquaculture, Biofuels and Biobased Products; and Small and Mid-Size Farms. A total of 41 Phase II applications were reviewed and 28 projects have been recommended for funding for a success rate of 54%. A total of $13,620,974 has been allocated to fund these 28 Phase II projects. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:

(A) SBIR - Phase I:

It is anticipated that between 500 and 600 applications will be submitted and that between 60 and 80 projects will be funded.


(B) - SBIR Phase II:
It is anticipated that 50-65 Phase II applications will be received and that approximately 50% of them will be funded.
Authorization
This program solicitation is issued pursuant to the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982, Public Law 97-219, as amended (15 U.S.C. 638) and Section 630 of the Act making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies’ programs for fiscal year ending September 30, 1987, and for other purposes, as made applicable by Section 101(a) of Public Law 99-591, 100 Stat. 3341., 15 U.S.C 638.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicant Eligibility
(1) is organized for profit, with a place of business located in the United States, which operates primarily within the United States, or which makes a significant contribution to the United States economy through the payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor;

(2) is in the legal form of an individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, joint venture, association, trust or cooperative, except that where the form is a joint venture, there can be no more than 49 percent participation by foreign business entities in the joint venture;

(3) is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in, the United States, except in the case of a joint venture, where each entity in the venture must be 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are citizens of, or permanent resident aliens in the United States; and

(4) has, including its affiliates, not more than 500 employees.

The term "affiliates" is defined in greater detail in 13 CFR 121.103. The term "number of employees" is defined in 13 CFR 121.106.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Small businesses.
Credentials/Documentation
Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM) - each applicant (unless excepted under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. It also must state that the Federal awarding agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant.

Applicants must furnish the information required in the request for applications (RFAs). Successful applicants recommended for funding must furnish the information and assurances requested during the award documentation process. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Organizational Management Information - Specific management information relating to an applicant shall be submitted on a one time basis, with updates on an as needed basis, as part of the responsibility determination prior to the award of a grant identified under this RFA, if such information has not been provided previously under this or another NIFA program. NIFA will provide copies of forms recommended for use in fulfilling these requirements as part of the preaward process. Although an applicant may be eligible based on its status as one of these entities, there are factors which may exclude an applicant from receiving Federal financial and nonfinancial assistance and benefits under this program (e.g., debarment or suspension of an individual involved or a determination that an applicant is not responsible based on submitted organizational management information). This information collection is approved under OMB Circular Control No. 0524-0026, “Assurance of Compliance with the Department of Agriculture Regulations Assuring Civil Rights, Compliance and Organization Information.”. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
All RFAs are published on the Agency’s website and Grants.gov. Applicants must complete the Grants.gov registration process. Please see the following Grants.gov link for more information: http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp. An environmental impact statement is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applications should be submitted as outlined in the RFA. Applications must follow the instructions provided per Grants.Gov and in the Agency guide to submitting applications via Grants.gov.
Award Procedure
Applications are subjected to a system of peer and merit review in accordance with Section 103 of the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613) by a panel of qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, the NIFA Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) shall make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose applications are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in the RFA. Reviewers will be selected based upon training and experience in relevant scientific, extension, or education fields, taking into account the following factors:

(a) The level of relevant formal scientific, technical education, or extension experience of the individual, as well as the extent to which an individual is engaged in relevant research, education, or extension activities;

(b) the need to include as reviewers experts from various areas of specialization within relevant scientific, education, or extension fields;

(c) the need to include as reviewers other experts (e.g., producers, range or forest managers/operators, and consumers) who can assess relevance of the applications to targeted audiences and to program needs;

(d) the need to include as reviewers experts from a variety of organizational types (e.g., colleges, universities, industry, state and Federal agencies, private profit and non-profit organizations) and geographic locations;

(e) the need to maintain a balanced composition of reviewers with regard to minority and female representation and an equitable age distribution; and

(f) the need to include reviewers who can judge the effective usefulness to producers and the general public of each application. Evaluation Criteria will be delineated in the RFA.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subpart C and Appendix I apply to this program.

2 CFR Part 400 applies to this program.
Deadlines
Not Applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Section :094 - Deadlines:
Dates for specific deadlines are announced in the RFA each fiscal year.
Information is also available via our website and may be obtained via the Grants.gov website.

Respective links are provided below: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/ http://www.grants.gov

Section :095 - Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:
From 30 to 180 days.
Appeals
Phase I applications may be revised and resubmitted during a later funding cycle, provided the subject matter of the proposal is not changed, and the topic area under which the proposal was originally submitted is still listed in the solicitation. Phase I grantees may apply for a Phase II grant only once for each Phase I project funded.

2 CFR Part 200 – Subparts D & E apply to this program.
Renewals
Specific details are provided in the Request for Applications (RFA) each fiscal year.
How are proposals selected?
(a) The proposing firm must qualify as a small business concern as specified in the SBIR solicitation;

(b) The proposal must meet the Proposal Content and Format requirements as described in subsection 3.3 of the SBIR solicitation;

(c) Proposals must be limited to one research problem (see subsection 3.1 of the SBIR solicitation);

(d) The proposed budget must be within the dollar limit identified in subsection 1.2 of the SBIR solicitation;

(e) The proposed duration of Phase I projects should normally not exceed 8 months, except in special, justified circumstances, and the duration of Phase II projects should normally not exceed 24 months.

Where a proposed research project requires more than 8 months to complete in Phase I, a longer grant period, not to exceed 20 months, may be considered. An applicant of a Phase I project with an anticipated duration beyond 8 months should specify and justify the length of duration in the proposal at the time of its submission to USDA in order for it to be considered;

(f) Proposals must cover scientific research activities only (see subsection 3.1 of the SBIR solicitation);

(g) The proposed Phase I research must fall within a solicited topic area;

(h) A proposal must contain adequate scientific/technical information to state clearly the research plan and objectives. USDA reserves the right not to submit for review any proposal which it finds to have insufficient scientific/technical information;

(i) A resubmitted proposal must address concerns of the previous review panel. USDA reserves the right not to submit for review any proposal found not to be responsive to the previous review; and

(j) Is it clear that the project director will work a minimum of 51 percent of his/her time for the small business firm during the period of the grant and that the small business firm will conduct a minimum of two-thirds of the research effort?.
How may assistance be used?
The selected areas for research are Forests and Related Resources; Plant Production and Protection-Biology; Animal Production and Protection; Air, Water and Soils; Food Science and Nutrition; Rural and Community Development; Aquaculture; Biofuels and Biobased Products; Small and Mid-Size Farms, Plant Production and Protection-Engineering. The Small Business Innovation Research Program is carried out in three separate phases:

Phase I projects are supported to determine the scientific or technical feasibility of ideas submitted by small business applicants on the selected research areas;

Phase II awards are made to firms with approaches that appear sufficiently promising as a result of Phase I studies. Only those small businesses previously receiving Phase I awards in either of the two preceding fiscal years are eligible to submit Phase II proposals.

Phase II projects are limited to $450,000 for a period normally not to exceed 24 months;

Phase III is to be conducted by the small business concern (including joint ventures and limited partnerships), and will be non-SBIR funded through the exercising of a follow-on funding commitment. The purpose of Phase III is to stimulate technological innovation and the national return on investment from research through the pursuit of commercialization objectives resulting from the USDA-supported work carried out in Phases I and II. Grant funds must be used for allowable costs necessary to conduct approved fundamental and applied research, extension and education objectives to address food and agricultural sciences.

Fee:
A reasonable fee, not to exceed seven percent of total Federal funds awarded is permitted under this program, but applicants are encouraged to minimize fee requests due to the small amount of funds available. All fees are subject to negotiation with USDA.

Indirect Costs:
If available, the current rate negotiated with the cognizant Federal negotiating agency should be used. Indirect costs may not exceed the negotiated rate.
If no rate has been negotiated, a reasonable dollar amount in lieu of indirect costs may be requested, which will be subject to approval by USDA. In the latter case, if an application is recommended for funding, an indirect cost rate application must be submitted to support the amount of indirect costs requested. NIFA will request an indirect cost rate application and provide instructions, as necessary.

An applicant may elect not to charge indirect costs and, instead, use all grant funds for direct costs.

Further detailed instructions are provided in the SBIR RFA (solicitation). Fully discretionary.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Grantees are to submit initial project information and annual summary reports to NIFA’s electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. The details of the reporting requirements are included in the award terms and conditions. NIFA uses the SF-425, Federal Financial Report to monitor cash. (Pertinent details regarding Progress Reports are provided above.). A final “Financial Status Report” (SF-269) or “Federal Financial Report” (SF-425) is due within 90 days of the expiration date of the grant and should be submitted to the Awards Management Division, Office of Grants and Financial Management at the address listed below, in accordance with instructions contained in 2 CFR 3430.55 (also refer to Section 3015.82 of the Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations).

Awards Management Division
Office of Grants and Financial Management
National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA),
Department of Agriculture (USDA), STOP 2271,
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-2271,
Telephone: (202) 401-4986. (Pertinent details regarding Performance Monitoring Reports are provided above.).
Auditing
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, Subpart F—Audit Requirements nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards must have a single or program-specific audit conducted for that year in accordance with the provisions of this part. A non-Federal entity that expends less than $750,000 during the non-Federal entity’s fiscal year in Federal awards is exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in § 200.503. Relation to other audit requirements, but records must be available for review or audit by appropriate officials of the Federal agency, pass-through entity, and Government Accountability Office (GAO).

This program is also subject to audit by the cognizant Federal audit agency and the USDA Office of Inspector General.
Records
In accordance with 2 CFR Part 400 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, § 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and must be retained at least three (3) years. Records must be retained beyond the three (3) year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. Funds are awarded competitively. No formula grants are awarded under this authority. NIFA does not require matching or cost sharing support for this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Phase I grants are normally limited to 8 months. Phase II grants are normally limited to 2 years

2 CFR Part 200, Subpart D applies to this program.. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None. Section # 153 - Additional Websites:

http://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/small-business-innovation-research-program-phase-i

http://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/small-business-innovation-research-program-phase-ii.
Headquarters Office
USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment – Division of Environmental Systems, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2210, Washington, District of Columbia, 20250-2210, Telephone: (202) 720-5229, Fax: (202) 720-3945.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT:

USDA, NIFA, National Program Leader, Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition, Division of Food Safety, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 2225, Washington, District of Columbia 20250-2225 Phone: (202) 401-1954, Fax (202) 401-4888.
, Washington , District of Columbia 20250-2210 Email: Policy@nifa.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-5229
Website Address
http://nifa.usda.gov/grants
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1500-0-1-352; 12-1502-0-1-352; 12-1003-0-1-271.
Obligations
(Project Grants) FY 14 $19,252,982; FY 15 est $20,014,240; and FY 16 est $26,734,377 - The difference between the appropriation and obligation numbers reflects legislative authorized set-asides deducted as appropriate, and in some cases the availability of obligational authority from prior years.

NOTES:

(1) Some of these funds are "No Year."

(2) In terms of availability of appropriations (time), there are no time limits as to when "no-year" funds may be obligated and expended and the funds remain available for their original purposes until expended.

(3) SBIR is deducted from five treasury symbols.

(4) The FY 2016 Budget proposes increased funds for research. Because SBIR is a required percentage of these funds, the funding available for this program must increase to commensurate with the appropriation request.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
If minimum or maximum amounts of funding per competitive project grant or cooperative agreement are established, these will be announced in the annual program announcement or Request for Application (RFA).
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The following federal statutes and regulations represent general administrative requirements which apply to NIFA federal assistance programs. These include, but are not limited to the ones listed below.

2 CFR Part 25 - Universal Identifier and Central Contractor Registration

2 CFR Part 170 - Reporting Subaward 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 (Nonprocurement) and USDA Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 182 - Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 400 – USDA implementation of 2 CFR Part 200 - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards

2 CFR Part 415 - General Program Administrative Regulations

2 CFR Part 416 – USDA General Program Administrative Regulations for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments

2 CFR Part 417 - Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension

2 CFR Part 418 - New Restrictions on Lobbying

2 CFR Part 421 - Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)

2 CFR Part 422—Research Institutions Conducting USDA-Funded Extramural Research; Research Misconduct.

7 CFR Part 1, subpart A—USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and 7 CFR Part 3404, Public Information.

7 CFR Part 1c—USDA Implementation of the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects

7 CFR Part 3—USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection

7 CFR Part 15, subpart A—USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121—USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002

7 CFR Part 3407—USDA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

7 CFR Part 3418—Stakeholder Input Requirements for Recipients of Agricultural Research, Education, and Extension Formula Funds

7 CFR Part 3419—Matching Funds Requirement for Agricultural Research and Extension Formula Funds at 1890 Land–Grant Institutions, Including Tuskegee University, and at 1862 Land–Grant Institutions in Insular Areas

7 CFR Part 3430—Competitive and Noncompetitive Non-formula Financial Assistance Programs--General Award Administrative Provisions

7 CFR Part 3434—Hispanic–Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities Certification Process

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) —prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in federally-assisted programs

35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. —Bayh Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in federally-assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR Part 401)

44 U.S.C. 3551-3558 (Pub. L. 113–283) - Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). Applies to awardees if it will collect, store, process, transmit, or use information on behalf of NIFA.

Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging while Driving (Oct. 1, 2009).

NIFA Federal Assistance Policy Guide—a compendium of basic NIFA policies and procedures that apply to all NIFA awards, unless there are statutory, regulatory, or award-specific requirements to the contrary.

In addition, the following represent Program-Specific requirements:

7 CFR Part 3400 – Special Research Grants Program (for CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3401—Rangeland Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.200)

7 CFR Part 3402—Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program (CFDA 10.210).

7 CFR Part 3403—Small Business Innovation Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.212)

7 CFR Part 3405—Higher Education Challenge Grants Program (CFDA 10.217)

7 CFR Part 3406—1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants Program (CFDA 10.216)

7 CFR Part 3415 – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (CFDA 10.219)

7 CFR Part 3431—Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (CFDA 10.313)


Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: For FY 2014:

(A) SBIR - Phase I:
This SBIR proposal targets the western pine beetle (WPB) Dendroctonus brevicomis LeConte (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae), the most destructive insect pest of ponderosa pine, Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson, in much of western North America. This insect causes high levels of tree mortality, inflicting millions of dollars in losses each year. One million or more trees, equivalent to more than 1 billion board feet of timber, may be killed each year as the result of an outbreak.

A well-defined and established B2B market for 65ş Brix elderberry juice concentrate exists in the US. It is monopolized by imported products, pulling millions of dollars annually out of the US economy that could be used to support networks of small and mid-size farms. For the US to enter this multi-million dollar market, and eventually export elderberry juice concentrates, we must develop a cost-effective technology process to produce a concentrate that retains phytonutrients and differentiates itself in the marketplace. Finally we must secure a stable and scalable supply of elderberries sourced from small and mid-size farms.

The goal of this proposal is to develop host-plant attractants that Potato Psyllid (PP) utilize to find and colonize host plants. PP exhibits a marked preference for potato volatiles and trough feeding process changes composition of the volatile blend. Semiochemicals (host-plant volatiles) are commonly used to manipulate insect behaviors in IPM programs such as monitoring insect pest populations for timing of insecticide applications and control strategies such as attract-and-kill (Killing Stations). This research will be focused on the formulation ofseveral previously tested plant volatiles that attract both sexes of PP.

Fertility in artificially inseminated dairy cattle has declined in the past decades and is one of the most costly challenges faced by today’s dairy farmer. This fertility decline causes economic losses of > $300 million annually, losses due in part to damage incurred by sperm during the handling, cooling, freezing and thawing necessary for artificial insemination. For it is the quality of the gamete that is the most important factor in defining fertility (Aitken et al. 2012), and freezing damages the DNA, acrosome and membranes of sperm cells reducing sperm quality and therefore fertility. Membrane Protective Technology, Inc’s GameteGuard™ technology, provides protection to sperm cells during cooling, freezing and thawing. In fact, GameteGuard™ reduces DNA, membrane and acrosome damage by an average of 30-50% in frozen/thawed bovine sperm. More importantly, two small breeding trials using GameteGuard™ treated sperm resulted in a pregnancy rates that were 29% and 10% (respectively) better than those obtained using traditionally treated sperm.



(B) - SBIR Phase II:

This Phase II grant builds on WT's previous SBIR efforts, in partnership with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), at digitally mining the superior structural intelligence of trees. It is leading the development of the supply-chain, manufacturing and marketing of non-uniform round timbers. WT is applying new digital technologies to locate, scan and screen trees in forests, then inventory, engineer, and precisely manufacture them into structural assemblies. These tool and techniques will flow-through into marketing WT products in cloud-based Building Information Modeling (BIM) inventories for specification by building professionals. US forests, indeed world forests, have fewer large straight trees and increasing numbers of non-uniform small trees. Taken together, the tools and techniques WT is developing will catalyze restorative forestry businesses and innovative products in new green building markets.

Thus, this SBIR project addresses an important need by evaluating the
performance of a novel modular shading structure (MoSS) with a fabric management and hardware system that is affordable and adaptable to a variety of agricultural uses for high value fruit and vegetable production. The project objectives target improvements in production of these crops. Phase I results were extremely favorable. In Phase II, Trellis Growing Systems (TGS) and its research partners will evaluate new methods using photo-selective nets in short-day and day-neutral strawberry transplant production for utility in timed fruit production. The use of MoSS to mitigate abiotic and biotic challenges will be appraised in southern highbush blueberry production.

This proposal connects directly to alternative and renewable energy production. Glycerol is a byproduct of biodiesel production that must be removed from fuel to prevent damage to engines. The international trade association ASTM has set the maximum glycerol content of biodiesel at 0.02% (Standard D6751). Glycerol test kits will provide actionable data in 15 minutes, assisting producers who are developing new production methods. They can be used for fuel QA/QC, at point of use, or at point of sale. Glycerol testing fits well into NECi’s existing product line of test kits for nitrate and phosphate for maximizing energy yield from algal fuel feedstocks.

Walleye are a valuable foodfish and sportfish in the North Central US. The overall goal of our project is to test the feasibility of combining selected new technologies for the commercial production of walleye for food fish and for extended growth fingerlings for stocking. For food fish production we propose to compare the growth, production traits and production costs of hybrid walleye raised to food size in one year in RAS using intensive tank versus conventional pond/tank fry-fingerling production methods. For extended growth fingerling production we propose to compare: 1) the growth and production traits of walleye raised in RAS using advanced versus normal intensive fry-fingerling production methods; and 2) the growth, production traits and production costs of walleye using intensive tank versus conventional pond/tank fry-fingerling production methods. Fiscal Year 2015: For FY 2015:

(A) SBIR - Phase I:
Sustainable, Scalable, Production Of Specialty/Commodity Chemical, 2-Phenylethanol, In Transgenic Poplar: The overall goals involve developing a commercial production system for initially producing the highly valuable fine/specialty chemical, 2-phenylethanol (PEA) and, ultimately, this and other chemicals at the commodity level, from our woody plant resources. The platform envisaged for commercial production of this important renewable is that of short rotation transgenic hybrid poplar, which has been manipulated to produce PEA. This proposed work builds upon developments made in the Norman G. Lewis laboratory at the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Washington State University. These developments, technologies, and plant lines are licensed to Ealasid Inc. in order to achieve commercial success.

Epigenetic Enhancements In Tomatoes: A fundamental goal in agriculture is to produce higher yields per acre, while requiring the same or lower inputs. We have discovered a new epigenetic technology that produces plants that have increased vigor and size, and when optimized, has the potential to significantly increase yields in plants. The technology involves the suppression of the MSH1 gene in a parental plant and restoring MSH1 function in the progeny to create useful epigenetic modifications that increase yields. The goal of this proposal is to discover how to implement this epigenetic technology in a manner consistent with commercial breeding and seed production practices. Our objectives are to produce and select new epigenetic modifications in five elite tomato lines using four different MSH1 suppression methods. The epigenetically improved tomato lines developed during Phase I will be evaluated for their field performance.

The Sustainable Workforce Affordable Power (SWAP) Initiative– Utilizing Near Zero Energy Home Replacements: Three million rural Americans living in pre-HUD code mobile homes spend an estimated $3.8 billion in energy bills every year and contribute to increased peak power demand. As coal-fired power plants are being retired at an unprecedented rate, the rural electric cooperatives (REC), which serve 327 out of the 353 persistent poverty counties in the country, are struggling to keep power affordable while undertaking massive infrastructure upgrades. The Sustainable Workforce Affordable Power initiative aims to enable the broad-scale replacement of old, unhealthy mobile homes with near zero energy homes financed entirely through the energy savings, while reducing costs for RECs, their customers and industry. In Phase I, the project will test the feasibility of a combination of energy and material strategies for such a replacement home.

Development of a prototype process for Production of Tapes and Labels with Vegetable-Oil-Based Pressure Sensitive Adhesive:
Pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are those sticky materials that can stick to various substrates under light pressure at room temperature. PSAs are widely used for production of tapes such as duct tape and package tapes, labels, stamps, post-it® notes and many other products. At present, PSAs are mainly derived from petrochemical-based polymers such as polyacrylates. Petrochemicals are not renewable. In this project, we will build a pilot scale of a prototype process for making labels and tapes from epoxidized fatty acids and investigate if the process can be operated efficiently and cost competitively at a commercially viable production speed.




(B) - SBIR Phase II:
Integration Of Novel Attractants Into Bait And Kill Stations For Control Of The Asian Citrus Psyllid: This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is providing better attractants for the Asian Citrus Psyllid, Diaphorina citri. The attractants can be combined with control products such as Spinosad to generate improved bait-and-kill stations. D. citri vectors greening disease and is the most serious pest faced by the US citrus industry. The psyllid has severely affected Florida citrus production, and has spread to Texas and California, where citrus is a billion-dollar industry with a history dating back to the 19th century. However, current control approaches lack effective attractants for use in bait-and-kill stations and traps. The approach described uses rational design to isolate compounds that bind to critical psyllid chemosensory proteins, and then identifies those compounds capable of attracting psyllids. These novel attractants can then be incorporated into bait-and-kill stations containing a control product such as Spinosad. This project incorporates several innovative platform technologies comprising a high throughput assay system for rapidly identifying molecules that interact with insect chemosensory proteins. The project also involves the development of a novel bait-and-kill station intended specifically to attract D. citri to a control agent capable of limiting psyllid populations.

Commercialization of bacteriophages against the larval shellfish pathogens Vibrio tubiashii and Vibrio coralliilyticus: Vibrio tubiashii and Vibrio coralliilyticus are bacterial pathogens that infect and kill larval molluscan shellfish. ARS USDA isolated and characterized several bacterial viruses, known as bacteriophages or phages, with potent lytic activity against Vibrio spp. infectious to larval oysters. The overall objectives of Phase II project are to: (1) characterize genomic makeup of phages against V. tubiashii and V. coralliilyticus for potential inclusion in a commercial phage preparation; (2) formulate a second generation, candidate commercial phage cocktail; (3) scale-up the manufacture of the candidate phage cocktail; (4) perform efficacy studies to determine the optimal treatment regimen for reducing V. tubiashii- and V. coralliilyticus-associated mortality of larval oysters by at least 50%; and (5) assemble the data package for obtaining pertinent regulatory approvals.

Researching Economic Feasibility of the “Mixed Cell Raceway,” Providing A Way For Small Farms to Enter the Aquaculture Industry: Almost all farmed seafood is from either net-pens or ponds. Tank aquaculture using recirculating technology is constrained primarily from both high initial capital costs (fiberglass tanks) and operating costs. The required high initial capital investment proves to be a significant barrier to entering the market. New, more affordable technology is needed. The overreaching objective of Phase I research was to bring commercial viability to a well-engineered, robust, low-cost, culture production system that optimizes RAS operating conditions and lowers operating costs. This new technology employs the mixed-cell raceway, enhancing the efficiency and profitability of small farms. Cost analysis has revealed that production capabilities of the mixed-cell raceway are improved and front-end costs are reduced, allowing indoor, year-round aquaculture to become a viable option to enter the industry. These findings propel the direction of our Phase II plan. Due to the success of Phase I and the experience gained during the design, construction and operation of the RAS system, the next logical step is to share this information and provide guidance to other small farmers, thus increasing supply while enabling suppliers. Phase II of this project will offer innovative technology through a franchise package, along with manuals, consulting support, collective buying, and product marketing, to those interested in entering the aquaculture industry affordably and with reduced risk.

Development of water based 1- methylcyclopropene formulation for modifying ethylene response of fruit and field crops:

“Quality Management System” (QMS) technology, developed by MirTech, enables the breakthrough in the application of 1-methylcyclopropene gas (1-MCP). It is an innovative tool for apple industry, including growers, packer/shippers and retailers, to help manage the undesirable effects of ethylene both while the fruits are still attached to the tree and also during post-harvest storage, thereby maintaining premium quality for year round availability. The technology will also help quick service restaurants (QSR’s) and schools which are under media and public pressure to bring healthier snack options for kids who can become susceptible to obesity due to unhealthy meal options. Phase II research will focus on scale up the current lab scale production of both 1-MCP formulations and evaluation of biological efficacy of the formulations both in field and in storage facilities. The work plan will also include characterization of 1-MCP in the scale-up system, characterization of the substrate materials, stability and shelf life studies and residue studies. The Phase II research plan is carefully designed to conduct key research and development scale-up work in preparation for the commercial introduction of the QMS technology. Fiscal Year 2016: For FY 2016:

(A) SBIR - Phase I:

Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.

(B) - SBIR Phase II:
Information is not yet available. Pertinent details to be provided by Program at a future date.

 



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