Beachy Comes Clean on "Prank AFRI RFP"

> WASHINGTON- (AP) The leader of the United States Department of
> Agriculture's National Institute for Food Research, Dr. Roger Beachy,
> admitted that the release of last week's request for proposals (RFP)
> from scientific researchers was "simply a gag to lighten the research
> funding environment" and that the real one will be released this week.
> "Researchers are too stressed out; it seems that all they do is write
> grants. The request for proposals to address extremely finite subject
> areas would alienate 95% of them and give them all an opportunity to
> take a weekend off and not think about grant writing. With that clean
> mental slate they will more actively attack the real RFP when it is
> released," said Beachy in a Friday phone interview.
> The national agricultural research community depends upon the USDA to
> fund a substantial part of its research. USDA support has dramatically
> assisted in increasing the food supply by funding a vast array of
> competitive basic and applied discovery research topics. By narrowing
> focus into non-traditional pigeonholes relevant to climate change and
> childhood obesity the broad sentiment in the plant research community
> is that they have been left out of funding opportunities.
> "I figured I'd just take the year off and do something novel. Maybe
> I'll teach students or get that surgery I've been postponing, " said
> Dr. Gordon Howe, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at
> Dartmouth College. "There ain't a damn thing I can do unless I want
> to research on fat kids, and I have two of my own at home and sure
> don't want to look at someone else's."
> Others viewed the faux AFRI's request for proposals as a good thing.
> "I was ready to meet biofuels and childhood obesity all at once by
> liposuctioning kids and rendering their adipose tissue to power cars,"
> said MIT researcher Garrett Mellinia. "Not only does it solve two
> problems, the air around our highways and byways takes on a pleasant
> porky smell. now that the proposal slate has been recalled its back to
> the drawing board and actual plant science that affects people now."
> While some are critical of the "prank RFP" others see the humor.
> University of California Davis researcher Johanna Munns laughed, "I
> figured it had to be a joke. After a decade of no substantial
> increases in the science budget, then dissolution of biology funding
> with NASA, the ultra-competitive environment at NSF and the cuts at
> NIH, it had to be a gag- glad to see I was right."
> The actual RFP will be released on Monday, March 29th.

Hat Tip to Bruce Kirkpatrick for forwarding this email to me.
Writer unknown- please send clues.

Update: The actual RFP adresses extremely finite subject areas and excludes studies of plant disease resistance to bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Guess I will get that surgery that I have been postponing after all...

More like this

A Presidential committee today released a report calling on the Federal Government to launch a coordinated effort to boost American agricultural science by increasing public investments. The report was initiated at the request of Catherine Woteki, the Undersecretary for Research, Education, and…
Read Emily Waltz' interview with Roger Beachy, the new director for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the new research funding arm of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). What does Beachy's appoinment mean for researchers, farmers and consumers? Larger, longer grants with…
More specifically, I think more of the NIH budget needs to be much more focused and targeted, and less researcher driven. In a post about NIH proposal revisions (i.e., resubmissions after a proposal has been rejected and critiqued), ScienceBlogling DrugMonkey writes (italics original): The reason…
By Liz Borkowski  Revereâs been keeping us up to date on the latest news about the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences â specifically, the stepping aside of Director Dr. David Schwartz for an NIH investigation, and the letter sent to NIEHS employees with the apparent goal of…

Everyone I know feels the same way about the RFP. No room for discovery research when you are asked to play in a tiny room. I did find one minor part of the Foundation Program that I get to write to, but it is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay outside of my training and interest.

I saw the Onion-Style RFP go through my email too.