USDA Announces Increased International Collaboration on Agricultural Science

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2016 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced an enhanced funding partnership with Israel to better leverage new agricultural research for mutual scientific benefit. The updated agreement is administered by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD).

"This partnership is a win for international scientific collaboration," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "The enhanced NIFA-BARD agreement will use funding and scientific resources to meet common research goals and have a positive global impact."

Beginning in early 2017, Israeli scientists can align their research with Fiscal Year 2016 NIFA-funded competitive grant research projects of mutual benefit to both nations. This new opportunity builds on an existing 2013 NIFA-BARD agreement to promote joint research, which has already resulted in the development of a model wastewater reuse program and analysis of hydrophobic soil in dry climates.

Through this agreement, U.S. scientists have two ways to collaborate with Israeli researchers either through new joint research projects or by coupling Israeli scientists' new projects to NIFA projects on the same topic. In both cases the Israeli scientists will receive funding through BARD, and the U.S. scientists will receive funding through NIFA. The resulting research will amplify both the funds and knowledge base to strengthen research outcomes. Some of the research areas of interest for this U.S.-Israel collaborative initiative include food security, water for agriculture, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, and bioproducts.

The NIFA-BARD agreement to support extramural research builds on the longstanding relationship between BARD and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's intramural research agency, which have cooperated on research together since BARD's inception in 1977. This update is conducted through NIFA's Center for International Programs (CIP), which builds capacity of American higher education by encouraging international agricultural collaborations. CIP also promotes partnerships between NIFA-supported researchers at U.S. colleges and universities and international partners to achieve greater global impact in areas such as food production, food safety, climate and environment, youth development, and agricultural extension.

CIP leads NIFA's international collaboration with USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State, international organizations and foreign governments where the expertise of NIFA scientists and stakeholders can help improve global food security, trade and address other issues of concern to the United States.

Among NIFA's current international collaborations are a partnership with the United Kingdom-Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to support animal health research, and research support for the International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) Program.

For more information on the BARD agreement and NIFA's Center for International Programs, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

NIFA invests in and advances innovative and transformative initiatives to solve societal challenges and ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA's integrated research, education and extension programs support the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel and have resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that help combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety.

To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts sign up for email updates, or follow us on Twitter @usda_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts

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