Request for Research Proposals 2022

September 19, 2022

To: ALL INTERESTED PARTIES

From: Donald Chase, Peanut Research Foundation Chairman

Steve Brown, Peanut Research Foundation Executive Director

Subject: REQUEST FOR RESEARCH PROPOSALS


The Peanut Research Foundation (PRF) is soliciting research proposals to address key industry concerns. Following completion of the successful Peanut Genome Initiative, The PRF initiated the Peanut Genome Initiative – Phase II.  This new initiative capitalizes on previous accomplishments and uses genomic and breeding tools to address real issues facing the U.S. peanut industry.

The industry has identified disease resistance (initially focusing on leafspot), aflatoxin, drought tolerance and flavor conservation as key priorities.  Ideally, at least one project will be funded in each of these priority areas, but that decision is dependent upon the quality of proposals received.  We anticipate funding projects in the range of $10,000 - $100,000, but there are no strict limitations other than the total amount of money available to the PRF. Approximately one third of our available funds are earmarked for aflatoxin research.  The Peanut Genome Initiative – Phase II is a four-year funding initiative.  Proposals from appropriate research teams are encouraged but not required. 

This is the last of four annual RFPs under this initiative. Multi-year proposals will be considered, but funding after 2023 will be contingent on future commitments from the peanut industry and proposals will have to fit withing future research goals, which may be redefined. 

Due to market resistance, we are not interested in funding research leading to GMO peanut cultivars. Proposals utilizing gene-editing technology will be considered, but researchers should understand that the U.S. peanut industry is reluctant to utilize cultivars identifiable as gene-edited due to resistance from the European Union and other export markets for U.S. peanuts. 

A document describing the intent of the Peanut Genome Initiative – Phase II can be found on our website at htpp://peanutfoundation.org.  The PRF is interested in funding research projects which encourage the development of germplasm, technologies or support programs that can be used by breeding programs to release cultivars with desirable traits.  We may also support breeding programs which utilize marker assisted selection to incorporated desirable traits into agronomically acceptable cultivars.  We welcome any creative proposals that combine the expertise, technologies and facilities necessary to accomplish PGI-Phase II goals, but are specifically looking for proposals in the following research areas:    

Disease Resistance Initially Focusing on Leaf spot

  • The PRF will consider proposals that use genomic tools/technologies to develop markers, germplasm, or other tools that will lead to germplasm with improved disease resistance. Examples of research include the following:
    • Develop and verify molecular markers associated with early leaf spot and/or late leaf spot resistance, or other diseases limiting peanut production, for all market types.
    • Deployment of currently identified markers for leaf spot resistance in breeding programs.
    • Development of new sources of resistance with associated molecular tools and/or combining early and late leaf spot resistance with other disease resistance genes.
    • Characterization of additional sources of early and late leaf spot resistances that can eventually be deployed.
    • Develop populations that combine multiple sources of resistance for early and late leaf spot.

Flavor and Other Quality Traits

  • Survey other legumes and plants for flavor-associated genes that can be tested in peanut.
  • Develop new approaches to measuring/profiling flavor that will be less costly than taste panels.
  • Develop structured populations that segregate for flavor and other quality traits.
  • Associate molecular markers with traits that cause off-flavors of peanut products.
  • Associate molecular markers with traits that result in superior peanut flavors.
  • Phenotype germplasm for other quality traits including protein content, fatty acid composition, total oil content, etc.

Aflatoxin (approximately 1/3 of available funds are earmarked for aflatoxin research)

  • Develop a reliable and repeatable method to evaluate pre-harvest aflatoxin resistance in peanut.
  • Develop a reliable and repeatable method to evaluate post-harvest aflatoxin resistance.
  • Define mechanisms of pre-harvest aflatoxin resistance and associate molecular markers with specific mechanisms.
  • Define mechanisms of post-harvest aflatoxin resistance and associate molecular markers with these specific mechanisms.
  • Develop peanut germplasm less susceptible to aflatoxin contamination.
  • Develop methods to more effectively manage moisture from harvest to shelling.
  • Develop methods to more effectively manage risk of aflatoxin contamination throughout the value chain.

 Drought Tolerance

  • Associate molecular and physiological markers with specific mechanisms of water efficiency and drought tolerance.
  • Examine how peg strength and maturity are affected by drought stress and develop molecular markers associated with peg strength.
  • Define causes of yield reduction associated with drought, identify peanut genotypes which use water more efficiently and tend to yield better under drought conditions, and/or develop markers associated with sustainable yields under drought stress.
  • Develop a marker-assisted selection program to produce cultivars with enhanced drought resistance.

 Additional research that could be considered as cutting across the four research areas.

  • Management and improvement of the existing PeanutBase website as a home for genomic and breeding information.
  • Develop Genomic Selection/Prediction tools to improve peanut production, especially for complex traits.
  • Develop genetic resources that will move the peanut community forward to exploit germplasm for disease, drought, aflatoxin resistance, or improved flavor profiles. For example:
    • Improvement of germplasm resources for peanut breeders.
    • Genotyping of large, common collections.
    • Phenotyping advances that would benefit the larger peanut community.
    • Developing additional structured populations that can be genotyped and phenotyped to develop additional genetic markers for use in breeding.
    • Developing populations with valuable traits introgressed from wild species into hypogaea.

FUNDING

Submission of a proposal does not guarantee funding. Funding is only available for a 12-month period, after notification of approval. Requests to continue multi-year projects must be submitted annually. All researchers receiving Peanut Research Foundation funding are expected to attend and report progress during the American Peanut Council Winter Conference which will be held in December 2023 in Washington, DC., or report virtually if necessary.  Please budget accordingly for travel to this meeting in your proposal. 

ELIGIBILITY

Any scientist/researcher affiliated with a research institution or organization (public or private) that has the facilities to deliver results and that demonstrates the expertise to perform peanut research described above is eligible to apply.  We encourage multiple institution and component collaboration.  International researchers are eligible for funding only if they are collaborating with U.S. researchers.

PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS

NOTE: Due to problems in recent years, the Foundation has established a policy to reject proposals that do not adhere to the format below.  Make sure you are using this format and not one from a previous RFP. 

Proposals may address multiple areas listed above but must not exceed 10 pages, including vitae, (except for continuing proposals which MUST add a page 11 for “Accomplishments to Date”) and MUST be organized in the following sections:

1.  Cover Page

  1. Principal investigator(s), Institution or Organization
  2. Contact Person, full mailing address including phone, fax and email
  3. Collaborators
  4. Indicate “New” or “Continuing” proposal

2. Project Summary

Brief summary of the proposed research, anticipated products and potential benefits to the peanut industry.

3. Research Objectives

4. Annual Budget

Indirect costs will be considered as an institutional investment in the project and will not be funded.  In most cases, major equipment items are considered to be an institutional investment and will not be funded.  However, equipment necessary for specific project goals may be considered by special request.   

  1. Summary (separate line items for salary & benefits, supplies, outside services, travel).  If multi-year proposal, annual budget should be presented for each year. 
  2. Brief Budget Explanation and Justification (for each budgetary line item).
  3. Other funding that supports the proposed research (Source & nature of support).  If none, state “None”. 

5. Technical Review

Brief review of previous research relevant to objectives, state of art, and pertinent technical items.

6. Research Methods & Approach

Provide sufficient information on plans and methods to be used in obtaining project objectives and a rationale for how it will contribute to the solution of the project objectives.

7. Schedule of Events

A time schedule of the major steps outlined in the proposal, and a proposed length of the project.  Multi-year projects will be considered, however, funding must be approved on a year-to-year basis and availability of future funding is not guaranteed. 

8. Implementation Statement

A statement that demonstrates a vision of how the results could be implemented or utilized by the peanut industry.

9.  Investigator Qualifications

Include a very brief vita for each investigator, including relevant citations which demonstrate expertise in the area of research. The reviewers want to see the investigators accomplishments which qualify them to do this work, not their full body of work over their career.  

10. Accomplishments to Date (Continuing Proposals Only)

All continuing proposals should summarize progress to date for the project. Reviewers cannot fund a renewal unless they see progress in previously funded years of the project.

Proposal evaluation criteria include: scientific merit; relevance to the advancement of the U.S. peanut industry; estimated timeline for the availability; release or commercial application of anticipated products from the research; availability of equipment and facilities; probability of success; appropriateness of the budget; and in the case of renewals, accomplishments to date. The Board of Directors of the Peanut Research Foundation will approve the projects to be funded and the amount of funds allocated for each project.

Proposals to The Peanut Research Foundation must be submitted online..  The address is: https://peanutresearchfoundation.org. Proposals must be submitted by October 28, 2022 to be eligible for consideration. The review process will be completed in December with notification soon thereafter. At the time of electronic submission, email a copy of the cover page and project summary page only to: Steve Brown, The Peanut Research Foundation, 1500 King Street, Suite 301, Alexandria, VA  22314 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 229-387-1655).