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Iowa Nutrient Research Center opens request for new water quality research proposals, due May 3

March 25, 2024
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AMES, Iowa- The Iowa Nutrient Research Center is accepting new proposals for research projects designed to reduce nitrate and phosphorus in Iowa’s water. The center invites proposals for water quality projects that will benefit farmers, landowners, agribusinesses, policy makers and communities.

“This year’s RFP is informed by two meetings held this February that included more than 40 diverse stakeholders,” said INRC Director Matt Helmers. “We have tried to represent the top priorities that came out of a broad set of research ideas compiled by those who attended.”

This year the center will prioritize seven areas of research for funding:

  1. Sociological, economic, and policy incentives for nutrient practices that benefit both operators and landowners.
  2. Floodplain management and/or in-channel processes impact on nutrient export.
  3. Marginal land use alternatives to maximize biodiversity, environmental benefits, and nutrient reduction.
  4. Changing weather patterns effect on nutrient fluxes and/or practice performance.
  5. Crop and livestock systems research, including projects related to manure and nutrient management, optimizing cover crops and examining economic and environmental performance of integrated crop/livestock systems and/or diversified cropping systems.
  6. Cumulative impacts of nutrient reduction practice implementation at different scales.
  7. New technologies.

“Sound research projects that don’t fit these priorities will also be considered,” Helmers said. 

Potential applicants are encouraged to review the full 2024 request for proposals (PDF) for complete details about the priority topics and application instructions. Proposals will be accepted from any Iowa nonprofit, agency or educational institution. Projects can last up to two years. Investigators that were funded in 2023 for multiple years do not have to reapply.

Selection will be based on the amount of funding available and how well projects reflect the priorities and instructions listed in the request for proposals. Specific elements that will be considered include the soundness of the research plan for the time period proposed, plans for data collection and management, and outreach activities. All proposals are judged by a set of reviewers who are not associated with any of the proposed projects.

Proposals are due by May 3, 2024, for projects that would begin in August. Award decisions will be made in July.

Questions about the request for proposals should be directed to INRC Program Specialist Malcolm Robertson, at 515-294-5692 or malcolmr@iastate.edu, or INRC Director Matt Helmers, at mhelmers@iastate.edu.

Established in 2013, the Iowa Nutrient Research Center selects promising proposals every year to fund research to help meet the goals identified in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Since its inception, the center has sponsored more than 136 water quality projects with $16.4 million in state appropriations.

Ongoing and past research projects can be viewed at https://www.cals.iastate.edu/inrc/projects.

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