National Research Council Report: “Spurring Innovation in Food and Agriculture: A Review of the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Program”

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Monday, January 26, 2015

In 2012, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requested the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to review NIFA’s flagship competitive grants program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

The purpose of NIFA's request for the study was to have the NRC determine the quality and value of the research funded by the program, and to examine its overall effectiveness in advancing agricultural sciences.   

On September 9, 2014, the NRC released its report: “Spurring Innovation in Food and Agriculture: A Review of the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Program”.

NIFA commends and thanks the NRC’s Committee for its comprehensive review of the AFRI program. The critically important AFRI program continues to make significant contributions to:

  • Safeguarding our nation’s food supply;  
  • Improving the nation’s nutritional and health outcomes, the environment, and natural resources;  
  • Enhancing the competitiveness of American agriculture; and
  • Bolstering the U.S. economy.

NIFA is firmly committed to fulfilling the AFRI priorities mandated in congressionally authorized legislative and appropriations language. NIFA appreciates and acknowledges the Council’s recommendations that identified a number of opportunities for improvement, implementation, and long­term success of AFRI, which are in line with NIFA’s own analysis and actions over the last two years.   

In the first three months since the publication of the NRC review report, NIFA has thoroughly discussed and evaluated the report’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations. As a result, NIFA has developed a strategy for improvement as detailed in this document. It will communicate the agency’s progress to the public and its stakeholders on a recurring basis.  

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