News of the WeekAgricultural Research

Windfall Breeds Fresh But Vulnerable Crop of Grants

Science  21 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5452, pp. 402
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5452.402

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Last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Dan Glickman unveiled a program that will double the agency's spending on peer-reviewed grants--providing an additional $120 million--for work on everything from deciphering the genomes of prize heifers to making automobile fuel from crops. Unlike USDA's existing competitive grants program, the National Research Initiative, which funds mostly basic research, the new initiative will have an applied edge. Agricultural researchers may only have a 1-year window of opportunity to use the additional funds, however, as their source--cash returned by the states to the U.S. Treasury in savings in the food stamp program--is controversial.