NHAES CREATE Program

The New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station’s Collaborative Research Enhancement and Team Exploration (CREATE) program intends to enhance agricultural/aquacultural, food and natural resources research in New Hampshire by increasing opportunities to develop integrated, interdisciplinary science. The objective of the NHAES CREATE program is to spark and provide initial support for research ideas that are innovative and not currently funded, with the long-term goals of developing interdisciplinary research teams that will have a high potential for securing external funding and developing peer-reviewed scientific papers that will be the foundation for providing trailblazing insights to New Hampshire and New England communities in the areas of agriculture, food and natural resources.

Per the National Academies’ definition: “Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice.” Several examples of interdisciplinary work that would meet the mission of the CREATE program might include engineering scientists working with plant scientists to simultaneously develop structures and plant varieties that optimize food production in northern New England, earth scientists collaborating with water researchers to identify how climate change is affecting New Hampshire’s diverse landscapes, social scientists jointly considering policies and policy impacts of effectively managing aquatic ecosystems, among many others.

Submission deadline for FY24:  August 18, 2023. To submit a proposal, please use the NHAES submission portal.  The submission portal is outside the UNH single sign-on framework and will not be accessible using your usual UNH credentials.  If you have used the portal in the past, your information is already in the system and you can use the "Forgot password" feature if necessary. Otherwise, you will need to complete the short registration form to create a log-in. Once in the portal, use the "+ Create New Submission" button, select the "CREATE" subject area and upload your proposal. You do not need to complete any additional questions for this program.

Who can apply? How many people can be on a team?
Teams should consist of at least 2 researchers with distinct disciplines and the roles, expertise, and contribution of each team member must be clearly defined. Team members must be from different departments, with higher priority placed on teams that integrate multiple colleges and/or research centers/institutes. At least one of the team members must have an active or pending (beginning at the start of the upcoming federal fiscal year) NHAES Foundational Program project or has been a project director on a recently concluded NHAES project.

Do CREATE proposals have to be related to existing (active or pending) NHAES projects?
No. However, if a proposed CREATE project is related to an existing active, pending or previous NHAES project, the CREATE proposal must clearly identify how its research objectives will be distinct from those proposed in the NHAES Foundational Program project. All CREATE projects will be required to be entered into the USDA NIFA Report System (NRS) separately from any existing or pending projects that may already exist in NRS.

Can a researcher be part of more than one team?
Yes, a researcher can serve on at most 2 proposals/projects at a time and can only serve as the PI on 1 proposal/project at a time.

Can individuals with previous CREATE program awards apply?
Yes.

What is the maximum amount that can be requested?
Requests can be made for a maximum of $50,000 over a two-year project period.

Is this federal funding?
Yes, the funding is through the NHAES federal appropriations from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and will follow all applicable federal guidelines. Projects should have topics that meet the missions of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, which correspond to the national goals of the agricultural experiment station system in the United States. Projects awarded through the CREATE program can be included in current and pending support for other proposals.

Does CREATE support collaborators outside of UNH and/or emeriti faculty at UNH?
The spirit of the CREATE program is to promote institutional interdisciplinary collaboration of scientists who are currently active employees of UNH. However, while the CREATE program would not provide direct support to collaborators outside of UNH (including graduate students), there is no restriction on having such collaborators from partner institutions participate in the research. UNH emeriti faculty cannot be one of the lead project researchers nor directly supported, but can participate in the research.

Are there F&As associated with the funding?
No.

How much detail is needed for the budget and justification?
Use the CREATE program budget and justification template. There should be sufficient information in the justification to understand how the expenses correspond to the proposed activities.

What types of expenditures will be allowed?
CREATE program funds may be expended on research supplies, domestic travel (for UNH personnel), hourly labor, graduate or undergraduate student stipend (but not tuition or fees), and publication fees. Human subject incentive payments (cash, gift cards) and the purchase of general office supplies (e.g., pens, paper) are not allowed per our federal funding statutes. Tenure-track faculty salary is not funded in project budgets, including summer salary. Any expenditures for foreign travel, equipment, and status labor (e.g., technicians hired in a benefitted position) must have the prior written approval of the NHAES Director.

Will CREATE project directors be eligible to apply for NHAES assistantships and other support?
No.

What is the timing of the awards?
The awards will be for a two-year period that correspond to federal fiscal years. Federal fiscal years begin on October 1 and end on September 30. In 2022, funding will begin in November.

Will this be an ongoing program with future calls for funding?
Future funding will depend on the success and feedback of the faculty interested, as well as continued availability of federal funds.

What level of detail should be provided in the proposal?
Specific details about the proposal format are provided in the Proposal Format and Content section. While the content of each proposal will be unique, please note that reviewers may or may not have expertise in the proposed area of research. As such, applicants should ensure that there is sufficient context that a scientist who may not be intimately familiar with the field and/or methodology can clearly understand the motivation and need, the research questions and/or hypotheses, the roles and contribution of each team member, and the manner in which the project will contribute to the program’s purposes. Applicants should provide sufficient technical information to understand how the team will approach the research.

What is the review process?
The NHAES director will review proposals and recruit at least three reviewers from within UNH whose areas of research and expertise aligns with the project topics of the proposals. The reviewers will assess each proposal based on its relevance to addressing a critical issue within New Hampshire’s and regional agricultural, food and/or natural resource sectors; merits of the described research objectives and methods; and the potential short- or long-term impacts that may be realized if the project is successful. The reviewers will provide their recommendations and funding prioritizations to the NHAES director.

Proposals have a 5-page length limit, excluding the title page, references, budget, and two-page CVs. To ensure consistency, please use a 12-point font size, single spacing, one-inch margins on all sides, and numbered pages. Proposals must include all listed sections.

  1. Title Page
    The title page should include:

    • A descriptive title,

    • Names and departmental affiliations of the project investigators,

  2. Problem, Justification, and Innovation
    Describe the problem(s) to be addressed. Clearly indicate the importance of research needed to begin addressing an issue affecting areas of agriculture, food, and/or natural resource in New Hampshire and the region. Explain what innovations, novel research and/or methodological approaches, and/or interdisciplinary collaborations are needed within the context of what is currently known in the academic literature and/or the current practices.

  3. Primary Goal, Research Objectives, and Methods
    The primary goal represents a broad perspective of the purpose or major achievement this project seeks to provide in order to help solve the problem. Within the broader goal, briefly describe the research objectives, which represent measurable steps that will be taken to move toward achieving the stated goal. The summary of methods should make it clear how the research team will be able to maximize the likelihood that all objectives will be completed within the duration of the project and with the available resources.

  4. Integration of Team Members
    Clearly describe how the interdisciplinarity and integration of the team members’ expertise was leveraged to develop integrated, innovative objectives and how these diverse skillsets will be leveraged to complete the stated objectives. Contributions of each team member to each objective should be evident.

  5. Anticipated Outcomes and Next Steps
    Briefly describe how the work will or will make progress to contributing to the NHAES CREATE program goals of developing interdisciplinary research teams that will have a high potential for securing external funding and developing peer-reviewed scientific papers that will be the foundation for providing trailblazing insights to New Hampshire and New England communities in the areas of agriculture, food and natural resources. Describe how you anticipate leveraging this project into next research endeavors.

  6. References Cited

  7. Budget Summary and Justification
    Use the CREATE program budget and justification template.

  8. Curriculum Vita
    For each primary team member, include a two-page CV that demonstrates their expertise in contributing to the proposed project. Team members will be play more supporting roles should be described only in Integration of Team Members section.

I am interested in applying for this program but I don’t know what research is currently being conducted within the NHAES and who is conducting it. How do I find potential collaborators?
Current NHAES Foundational Program Projects and the associated project directors are summarized on the NHAES Latest Research page.

Whom do I contact if I have additional questions?
Additional questions can be sent to the NHAES director, Anton Bekkerman.

You can access the NIFA Reporting System using the following link:

    https://nrs.nifa.usda.gov/

Log into the NRS using the email and password that you registered with the USDA eAuthentication system. You will be redirected to the NRS Dashboard.

Before you begin entering information for project initiation, please locate the final version of your NHAES proposal and the final approval letter sent from the NHAES director's office. This letter contains information that will be necessary for you to input into the online project initiation portal.

Follow these steps to initiate a new NHAES CREATE project:

  1. In the Projects & Programs square, click the +Add link to initiate a new project. The "Add Project/Program" page will appear.
  2. Select either the "Research capacity fund (Hatch)" or "Researching capacity fund (McIntire-Stennis)," depending on your project type from the final approval letter. The page should populate with additional fields.
  3. Select the Primary Critical Issue that most closely corresponds to your project. 
  4. When entering your Organizational Project Number, select "NH" as the Prefix and enter only the numbers in the Number field as stated in your NHAES project funding approval letter. For example, if the project number in your NHAES project funding approval letter is listed as "NH01023", you will enter only "01023" in the Number field). 
  5. Enter the Title as it is stated in your NHAES project funding approval letter.
  6. Enter the Start Date and End Date as it is stated in your NHAES project funding approval letter.
  7. Select the Project Director(s) and the Performing Department as they are listed in your proposal cover sheet.
  8. In the Non-technical Summary field, please use information from Section 1 of your proposal. Additionally, while it is not asked for, please include a brief summary of the anticipated impacts of your proposed research.
  9. In the Methodology field, please use information from Section 2 of your proposal. Additionally, while it is not asked for, please include the specific objectives of your project and all the co-PIs involved on the project. 
  10. If your project has any activities that include work with Extension, mark "Yes" in the Integrated Activities field. 
  11. Enter values in the Research Effort Categories and Animal Health Percentage fields as appropriate for your project.
  12. Mark "No" in the Multistate Activities field. 
  13. Enter information as it relates to your project in the Classficiations fields.
  14. Enter information from your project proposal in the Assurances fields.
  15. Once all of the fields have been filled in, click the Submit for Organization Review button. 
  16. Send an email to anton.bekkerman@unh.edu as notification of your submission so that the Director can submit it for USDA review.