Indirect costs waived during first funding year, emphasizing commitment to IR-4 research
The IR-4 Project has received a four-year, $56 million operating grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), pending congressional approval. Funding went into effect August 1, 2021, and runs through July 31, 2025.
The IR-4 Project was established in 1963 by the USDA to ensure that specialty crop farmers have legal access to safe and effective pest management tools. Specialty crops include many of the fruits and vegetables recommended for a healthy diet, as well as the flowers, trees and shrubs that enhance our environment. IR-4 is headquartered at NC State University with regional field offices hosted at the University of Florida, Michigan State University, the University of California, Davis and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
“As pest management needs continue to evolve, the national IR-4 Project team is conducting vital work to identify safe and healthy solutions for specialty crop growers,” said NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton. “We’re honored to have them as a partner at CALS and look forward to the research innovations and solutions that will come to life from this grant.”
The grant includes a commitment of $11.9 million for the first year, and then up to $15 million each year for the remaining three years, pending congressional budget approval. Historically, IR-4’s five host universities submitted separate applications each year to the USDA for their share of the organization’s $11.9 million annual operating grant, making the application process burdensome and inefficient. Thanks to recent changes in USDA’s award process, IR-4 Headquarters at NC State University was able to apply for the funding through a single, four-year grant application. NC State University has issued funding to the regional host universities through subawards built into the grant and will continue to do so each year of the grant.
This grant also demonstrates the support and commitment the five host universities have for the work of the IR-4 Project. USDA’s new funding mechanism allows the charging of indirect costs for the first time. Indirect costs could reroute up to 10 percent of the awarded funds to the host universities for administrative costs associated with hosting the IR-4 Project. For the first year of the four-year grant, all five institutions agreed to waive indirect costs so that the full $11.9 million can be applied toward IR-4 operations and studies without cutting positions and research. The remaining three years of the grant will include indirect costs.
“The IR-4 Project is dedicated to providing all specialty crop growers with access to safe pest management tools in an effort to eliminate food waste and increase consumer access to healthy fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops. This grant allows us to continue our important work with minimal disruption,” said IR-4 Project Executive Director Jerry Baron. “We appreciate the support of NC State University and the numerous IR-4 partners working together to assist specialty crop growers with their pest management challenges.”
About the IR-4 Project
The mission of the IR-4 Project is to facilitate regulatory approval of sustainable pest management technologies for specialty crops and specialty uses to promote public well-being. By working directly with local crop growers across the country, IR-4 conducts research and develops data necessary for the registration of pest management tools, ensuring that they are safe for use. To learn more, visit our website at ir4project.org.