Nearly 80 ANR members gathered in Sacramento on June 28-30 to review and make recommendations for the focus and direction of the Sustainable Natural Ecosystems strategic initiative. At the end of the SNE conference, all of the initiative leaders presented information regarding the status of their initiative plans – Sustainable Natural Ecosystems (SNE), Healthy Family and Communities (HFC), Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) and Endemic and Invasive Plants and Diseases (EIPD).
The areas of inquiry under consideration for the Sustainable Natural Ecosystems initiative are land use, habitat fragmentation, biodiversity, water supply, energy, climate change, and ecosystem services. Based on feedback from the conference, the SNE advisory panel will revise the plan and make it available on the Web from July 25 to Aug. 15 for final review and input. The initial draft plan is posted at http://ucanr.org/sites/NRCC_2010/files/14722.pdf.
The Healthy Families and Communities Strategic Initiative Conference will be held Aug. 24 – 26 at UC Davis. Participants will discuss childhood obesity, youth science literacy, and thriving and contributing youth to identify potential areas of inquiry.
“The primary focus of the conference will be to dialog, discuss, review and further define the priority areas of inquiry identified by the panel for the HFC Strategic Initiative,” said Sharon Junge, HFC initiative leader. “It will also include the beginning development of the strategic plan for accomplishing the work over the next five years.”
Look for more details on the potential areas of inquiry for the HFC Strategic Initiative and the Initiative Conference at http://ucanr.org/sites/PSU.
The Sustainable Food Systems initiative panel is discussing areas of inquiry dealing with water issues including water supply and delivery systems, availability, reliability, price and ways to improve water use efficiency, quality and conservation. Other areas under discussion are food safety from both microbial and chemical contamination, tools to improve the relative competitiveness and productivity of California agriculture today and with projected climate changes, maintaining local and regionally based food systems, and viability of small and mid-sized farming or ranching operations. Similar to the other panels, the SFS panel is developing a draft strategic plan incorporating these areas. The draft will be circulated for review before October.
The Endemic and Invasive Pest and Diseases initiative panel is discussing potential topics including insect vectors and pathogens; surveillance tools and methodology; climate change impact on pests, weeds and the environment; and control and management of aquatic pests. They, too, will have a draft circulated for review before October.
The next steps are for the Strategic Initiative Leaders to present draft plans to Program Council in October for review and comment. These plans will be finalized based upon the comments received. Program Council will evaluate the potential areas of inquiry and make recommendations as to what kind of resources should be allocated over the next five years in ensure that UC ANR work will result in significant and demonstrated policy-relevant impacts.
A page has been created on the ANR Employee site that links to the strategic initiatives. The link is on the left navigation bar.
Currently only the advisory panels for each initiative are listed, but more information will be added. Contact information is listed for each initiative leader and brief bios identify each panel member.
The strategic initiative page is also at http://ucanr.org/sites/anrstaff/Strategic_Initiatives/.
Requests for Applications (RFA) for USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) 2010 grant program are scheduled to be released at the end of March. As most of you know, the funding pool is larger, the grants are expected to be larger, and a significant part of the total grant pool will be reserved for integrated research, education, and extension projects. UC ANR wants to aid researchers who propose projects that are relevant to the Division’s Strategic Initiatives.
ANR will support 2010 AFRI grant applications that relate to the ANR initiatives with both monetary (e.g., matching funds) and in-kind (e.g., grant writing) support.
If you are considering an AFRI application, please contact the appropriate initiative leader:
Joe Di Tomaso for Sustainable Food Systems, email@example.com
Sharon Junge for Healthy Families and Communities, firstname.lastname@example.org
James Bartolome for Sustainable Natural Ecosystems, email@example.com
Ian Gardner for Endemic and Invasive Plants and Diseases, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can discuss with them your needs regarding travel or communication aid to pull research teams together; assistance for grant development, extension and outreach components of grants, and matching funds. While no formal process has yet been developed, ANR is committed to helping researchers successfully compete for funds to support projects that align well with ANR’s priorities. You are encouraged to discuss your research projects and needs with the initiative leaders.
The other members of ANR’s Program Council are also committed to facilitating the development of applications for AFRI funding. Feel free to contact Program Council members for assistance or guidance: http://ucanr.org/pcmembership.
Barbara Allen-Diaz, AVP – Academic Programs & Strategic Initiatives
I am happy to announce that we have appointed advisory panel members for four of the five ANR strategic initiatives. The advisory panels will be working with the initiative leaders to develop a five-year plan of action for implementing each initiative. If you have suggestions for shaping the plans of action, I encourage you to share them with the appropriate initiative leader or panel members.
Once the plans of action have been developed, ANR will provide competitive funds that can be used to attract faculty and researchers and extension advisors to ultimately provide research and education to fulfill the initiatives’ objectives.
We are working on appointing an initiative leader and an advisory panel for Water Quality, Quantity and Security (WQQS). The appointed strategic initiative leaders and panels are at http://ucanr.org/PDFs/2-17-10.pdf.
Associate Vice President, Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives
VP Dooley has recorded a video message to update the ANR family about the governor’s state budget proposal, progress in our restructuring around the Strategic Vision, and advocacy.
Please view the video at your convenience above or at http://ucanr.org/dooley020810. A transcript is available at http://ucanr.org/Dooley02-2010.