Development Committees (DC) is responsible for preparing project proposals for establishing or replacing mulistate research projects. DCs are approved for two years. When preparing a replacement project, this term ensures adequate time for writing the proposal, conducting external peer reviews and doing re-writes if necessary, and receiving final approval by the termination date of the existing project. Streamlined procedures adopted by the Association facilitate the overall process making it possible for approval in less than two years.
Procedures for requesting a Development Committee are available in the Association’s Guidelines (see Method to Request New or Replacement Multistate Research Project). The brief proposals developed during this process are reviewed by the appropriate Advisory Committees and the Executive Committee or deferred to the Association for final action.
When the Association approves a Development Committee, the Chair or Chair-Elect appoints an Administrative Advisor (AA). The AA becomes the driving force to get the committee established and authorizes an organizational meeting via the National Information Management Support System (NIMSS). The AA communicates with each SAES director and cooperating entities in the region and inviting participation on the DC. Individual scientists or Department Head/Chairs that proposed the new activity will generally participate on the DC. Travel expenses for authorized Development Committee meetings may be paid from an individual station’s multistate research funds. AAs are responsible for ensuring that appropriate disciplinary mix is considered in soliciting membership for the DC.
The AA calls the first meeting of the Development Committee and assists in the election of a Chair and Secretary from the members. He/she explains the purpose and intent of the Association for the activity, conveys any specific guidance generated by the Association, and reviews and interprets the procedures for developing the project proposal. The AA assists the committee in organizing a writing team responsible for developing the project proposal.
The writing team will draft the project proposal and with the AA’s concurrence, place in in NIMSS.Specific requirements of the proposal are available in Appendix A of the Guidelines for Multistate Research Activities. The procedure that will be used by the Southern Region Multistate Research Committee (MRC) in reviewing the proposal should be used as guidance in drafting the proposal. (See Appendix H).
The AA is responsible for distributing via NIMSS the draft of the project proposal to Directors of individual participating stations and cooperating agencies for review, comment and assignment of resources to the project (See Appendix E). Directors are asked to forecast the number of science years (SY), professional years (PY), technical years (TY), and total years of personnel resources to be expended on the project by each individual Station. (Subsequently, Directors are asked to report the resources expended on the project on the CRIS AD-419).
When assignment of resources has been incorporated into the proposal’s Appendix E, the AA notifies the NIMSS System Administrator of the names and e-mail addresses of at least three individuals to serve as peer reviews. These three may include those Advisory Committee members agreeing to serve as peer reviewers. Peer reviewers are not necessarily limited to persons within the region. (See Appendix C and Appendix G). Reviewers may be knowledgeable department heads/chairs or senior scientists. Advisory Committees may be used to recommend reviewers or to conduct the reviews. In the case of fundamental conflict or reviewers, the AA will obtain an additional scientific review for reconciliation. The purpose of the review is to ensure sound quality of science and relevance. Reviews are conducted at this level to assure minimum delay and maximum coupling of findings with the Development Committee.
The DC should consider the reviews and address concerns raised by the reviewers. Specifically, the DC should provide a written point-by-point description of how the proposal has been revised in response to recommendations or concerns of the reviewers. The DC should also indicate any reasons for not adopting recommendations of reviewers.
Once the AA is satisfied that the DC has responded appropriately to the reviewers comments/concerns, the revised proposal, along with the reviewers comments and the written response from the DC, is submitted to the Southern Regional Multistate Research Committee (MRC) for review and evaluation. The NIMSS System Administrator facilitates this process.
Any concerns raised by the MRC will be relayed to the DC via the Administrative Advisor. Once the DC has satisfactorily addressed concerns, the MRC Chair will send the completed proposal to Executive Director with recommendation of approval. The Executive Director sends the proposals to USDA/NIFA for approval. Multistate projects are usually approved for 3-5 years. Upon approval of the project, members of the Development Committee often become the Technical Committee for the project.
For additional information on responsibilities of the Administrative Advisor, see Steps and Responsibilities for Development of Multistate Research Projects. For the step-by-step process for developing the project in NIMSS, see Using the National Information Management Support System (NIMSS). For information pertaining to the approved project, see Multistate Research Projects.
Suggested deadlines for project proposals are as follows:
- Request approval for new Development Committee 18 months in advance of termination of an existing project. A new project may be requested at any time.
- Development Committee submits proposal to MRC by June 1 (of desired start-up year) for initial review.
- MRC sends finalized proposal to Executive Director by August 1.
- Proposal received by NIFA by August 15 for project initiation October 1.
|Summary Procedures for Development Committees|
|Development Committee requested (18 months in advance of termination of existing project)||Administrative Advisor|
|Development Committee approved||Executive Committee, SAAESD|
|Appointment of Administrative Advisor||ED and SAAESD Chair|
|Proposal Prepared (including REEport search)||Development Committee|
|Assignment of resources||SAES Directors; Administrators of the participating entities|
|External scientific peer reviews||Administrative Advisor and ED|
|Revised proposal and external reviewers’ comments submitted for the MRC review||Administrative Advisor|
|Evaluation of proposal||Members of MRC|
|Summary of evaluation returned to Administrative Advisor, if additional changes are needed||Chair of MRC|
|MRC recommends approval and sends proposal to Executive Director||Chair of MRC|
|Proposal approved by SAAESD and sent to USDA/NIFA||Chair / Executive Director|
|Notification of approved proposal to Directors of all participating stations and the Executive Director||USDA/NIFA/Multistate Research Office|