During 2014, the Division did not release a call for ANR's internal competitive grants program in order to conduct a formative assessment to determine if the program's intended results are being reached or if the trajectory is on target to reach them. ANR's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation (OPPE) was charged to measure progress toward addressing the grants program goals and to document the extent to which it is operating as planned.
A summary of the competitive grants program assessment can be found at http://ucanr.edu/grants_assessment_summary.
The ANR competitive grants program is on track to reach its goals: to support high-priority issues that are consistent with the Strategic Vision; encourage collaboration among academics; strengthen the research-extension network; support short-term, high-impact projects; and contribute policy-relevant outcomes that address significant agricultural, economic, environmental and social issues in California.
As a result of the 2014 assessment, there are a few small changes to the 2015 call, proposal application and reporting template. The assessment brought to light that there is lot of great work being done to inform policymaking (at many levels) as well as decision-making more broadly. Thus, the language for the previous program goal to contribute policy-relevant outcomes has been rewritten: “to support projects that demonstrate relevance and likelihood of impact on significant agricultural, economic, environmental and social issues in California,” better reflecting the actual proposal criteria. Although there is significant policy-relevant information being developed through the program, there is not much being specifically packaged as a ‘policy brief.' Thus, we have removed ‘policy brief' from the criteria and reporting template so as not to misguide expectations.
In addition, we want to be able to track and communicate efforts and impact based on the Strategic Initiative priority issue areas; therefore, grant applicants will now be asked to identify specifically which issue areas their proposals address.
The 2015 request for proposals will be released next week. We are looking forward to another innovative and productive grants cycle for 2015.
Bill Frost, Associate Vice President
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