MULTISTATE RESEARCH PROJECTS
Multistate research funds (MRF) are appropriated and granted to individual states on a formula basis, with calculations using variables similar to those used in distributing other Hatch funds. Multistate research funds must be used to support cooperative research employing multidisciplinary approaches in which a SAES, working with another SAES, the Agricultural Research Service, or a college or university, cooperates to solve problems that concern more than one state. Directors of SAESs make final decisions on expenditure of multistate research funds awarded to their Station, except for those funds, which by prior consensus, are awarded at the national or regional level such as the National Research Support Projects. Upon the Association’s approval of a Development Committee, multistate research funds may also be used for travel to develop the project proposals.
Scientists contemplating development of a Multistate Research Project should consider several advantages of such a collaborative effort:
- Interaction with scientists having related interests offers a mechanism to leverage existing funds by sharing the total effort and pooling resources.
- Travel funds for at least initial planning purposes will often be provided by the Experiment Station Director.
- The Experiment Station Director will often be able to provide at least “up-front” seed money to initiate the effort.
- Collaboration on a multistate research project often facilitates the generation of preliminary results and supports the development of competitive grant proposals.
- There is the expectation in the future that multistate research will be more dynamic and that the several sources of funds for such efforts will become more highly mobilized. This will make such funds less embedded and more available for new starts.
Three characteristics distinguish multistate research from other types of research: (1) the research focuses on a specific and important problem of concern to two or more states; (2) the research is planned and conducted as a concerted team effort in which the participating scientists are mutually responsible for accomplishing the objectives; and (3) scientists from multiple disciplines participate in the research.
Where truly interdependent and interactive research is not the intent, but an ongoing communication about related research is deemed to be beneficial, proposers should consider the use of an Southern Coordinating Committee or Southern Extension and Research Activitiy
Development of a Multistate Research Project
The official mechanism for development of a multistate research project is a Development Committee (DC). For description of process and procedure, see Development Committee within the Association’s Guidelines.
Role of Technical Committee
The Technical Committee has the responsibility for:
- Coordinating the research activities of participating states, institutions and agencies;
- Discussing, evaluating, and reporting yearly progress toward achieving project objectives;
- Reviewing proposed addenda to ascertain conformity with the objectives and procedures of the regional project, and recommending approvals or changes;
- Assisting the Administrative Adviser in the preparation of an Annual Accomplishments Report, which includes meeting minutes.
- Providing leadership for the preparation of manuscripts and recommending the nature and type of publications;
- Recommending extension, replacement, or termination of the regional project;
- Preparing the termination report. (See format for Termination Report.)
- Developing and utilizing a homepage for placement of minutes, accomplishments, and other reports. (See Guidelines for Homepages of Regional Projects and Activities.)
Membership of Technical Committee
The technical committee includes the regional administrative adviser (non-voting), a NIFA representative (non-voting), and a technical representative from each participating SAES, appointed by the directors. In addition, it may include technical representatives from other participating NIFA-client institutions (1890 universities, Tuskegee University, and Forestry Schools) named by the appropriate administrator, and a technical representative of each USDA participating group (laboratory, area, region) also named by the appropriate administrator. Other agencies and institutions may participate at the invitation of the administrative adviser. Non-voting consultants may be invited by the administrative adviser as appropriate.
Representation should include the project leaders or scientists directly engaged in research on the project. More than one representative of a participating SAES, agency, or institution may serve on a technical committee where the scope of the regional project involves more than one subject-matter discipline, or, in the case of the federal agency, involves contributing projects from different laboratories, areas, or regions.
Each participating station and research group of the USDA agencies and other participating agencies and institutions is, however, limited to one vote without regard to the number of its representatives on the technical committee. Participating stations, institutions, and agencies are those that were included in the original multistate project outline or have an addendum approved and have documented their participation in REEport.
Structure of Technical Committee
The technical committee elects a chair and a secretary from their membership for at least two-year terms for continuity. All voting members of the technical committee are eligible for office, regardless of sponsoring agency affiliation. An executive committee consisting of the chair and two or more other members of the technical committee may be designated to conduct the business of the committee between meetings and perform other duties as assigned by the technical committee. Subcommittees are named by the chair as needed for specific assignments such as to develop procedure, manuals, review work assignments, develop research methods, and prepare publications.
General duties of the chair and secretary are:
- The chair, in consultation with the Administrative Adviser, notifies the technical committee members of the time and place of meetings, prepares the agenda, and presides at meetings of the technical committee and executive committee.
- The chair assists the Administrative Adviser in preparation of the Annual Accomplishments Reports and termination report of the regional project.
- The secretary records minutes and performs other duties as assigned by the technical committee or the administrative adviser. The minutes of meetings may either be included in theAnnual Accomplishments Reports or placed on the project homepage with reference to the URL in theAnnual Accomplishments Reports.
With the approval of the administrative adviser, the technical committee and its executive and subcommittees meet when necessary to coordinate, review, plan, and discuss research progress. Generally, an annual meeting of the full committee is held to summarize and critically evaluate progress, analyze results, and plan future activities, reports and publications.
The administrative adviser authorizes meetings of the technical committee by sending notices to all directors within the sponsoring region, participating agency directors, directors of participating institutions outside the region, and the Executive Director. This may be accomplished in part through the regional e-mail distribution list which will include all regional directors and the Executive Director. Electronic authorization is preferred and should include the project number, project title, dates of meeting, location, contact for program information, and contact for local arrangements information.
|Overview of Procedures on New or Replacement Project Proposals|
|Notification of approved project to Administrative Advisor of DC||USDA/NIFA/PARTNERSHIPS|
|Administrative Advisor appointed (often same as AA for DC)||Executive Director & SAAESD Chair|
|Linkage between faculty and the Association||Administrative Advisor|
|Authorization of meetings||Administrative Advisor|
|Modification or extension||Administrative Advisor|
|Reporting: Annual Accomplishments Report (SAES-422), including minutes, within 60 days following the annual meeting.||Technical Committee
via Administrative Advisor
|Sequence of Procedures for Extension of Existing Projects(Process usually begun one year before termination date)|
|Request for Extension from Technical Committee to Executive Director||Administrative Advisor|
|MRC members polled by mail or (if schedule permits) discuss at regular meeting of Association||Chair MRC|
|MRC recommendation to extend to Executive Director||Chair of MRC|
|Association requests extension of project from USDA/NIFA/PARTNERSHIPS (may be done as an interim action of the chair)||Executive Director in behalf of Chair of Association|
|USDA/NIFA/PARTNERSHIPS notifies Administrative Advisor of decision, copies Chair of Association and Executive Director||USDA/NIFA/PARTNERSHIPS|
- Role of the Administrative Adviser
- Method to Request New or Replacement Multistate Research Project
- Guidelines for External Review of New Research Projects (See Appendix C and Appendix G.)
- MRC Evaluation of Regional Research Project Proposals (See Appendix H.)