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Distance Education... Distance Education... Distance Education...

Agricultural Telecommunications Program

Cornell University/ADEC

Notice of Fiscal Year 2002
Agricultural Telecommunications Program;
Solicitation of Proposals

May, 2002


Cornell University and the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) are soliciting proposals under the Agricultural Telecommunications Program. The Agricultural Telecommunications Program is authorized in FY2002 under the Federal Extension Administration Authorization. The Secretary of Agriculture has established a program, to be administered by Cornell University and managed by ADEC under terms and conditions as set forth by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grants will be awarded competitively under this program to encourage the development and utilization of an agricultural communications network to facilitate and to strengthen agricultural extension, resident education and research, and domestic and international marketing of United States agricultural commodities and products through a partnership between eligible institutions and the Department of Agriculture. The network will employ satellite and other telecommunications technology to disseminate and to share academic instruction, cooperative extension programming, agricultural research and marketing information. Two types of proposals will be accepted:

1) New Applicants (lead institutions) for an Agricultural Telecommunications program grant and

2) Repeat Applicants (lead institutions) for an Agricultural Telecommunications program grant

All applicants must submit a proposal by July 15, 2002. The full proposal may be submitted electronically via World Wide Web to the ADEC Secure Server at (http://www.adec.edu/ag-telecom/proposals/). Proposals may also be e-mailed to (adecrfp@unl.edu). A confirmation of receipt will be sent to all applicants by either electronic or postal mail.

For this program, electronic submission is strongly encouraged. However, applicants without electronic access may send proposals by first class mail to:

ADEC - Ag Telecom
C218 Animal Science
P.O. Box 830952
Lincoln, NE 68583-0952

The street address for Express mail, courier service or by hand is:

ADEC - Ag Telecom
C218 Animal Science
38th & Fair Streets
Lincoln, NE 68583-0952
Ph.: (402) 472-7000

For all issues contact:

Janet Poley (jpoley@unl.edu) or Janet Means (jmeans1@unl.edu)
ADEC
Ph: (402) 472-7000
at the addresses above

PART I. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

  1. Program Purpose and Objectives

    1. PURPOSE. -- This program is intended to encourage the development of agricultural programming utilizing advanced technology to facilitate and to strengthen research based agricultural extension, resident education and discovery, and domestic and international marketing of United States agricultural commodities and products through a partnership between eligible institutions and the Department of Agriculture. This programming will employ satellite and other telecommunications technology to disseminate and to share agricultural research based instruction, and cooperative extension programming, agricultural research results, and marketing information.

    2. OBJECTIVES. -- The objectives of the program established under this section are:

      1. to make optimal use of available resources for agricultural extension, resident education, and research by sharing resources between participating institutions;

      2. to improve the competitive position of United States agriculture in international markets by disseminating information to producers, processors, and researchers;

      3. to train learners for careers in agriculture and food industries;

      4. to facilitate interaction among leading agricultural scientists;

      5. to enhance the ability of United States agriculture to respond to environmental and food safety concerns; and

      6. to identify new uses for farm commodities and to increase the demand for United States agricultural products in both domestic and foreign markets.

  2. Available Funding

  3. For FY 2002, $325,440 will be available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Cornell/ADEC for Agricultural Telecommunications program funding. Funds will be awarded for no more than $50,000 per project for a 12 month project period. $125,000 is reserved for first time applicant projects (lead institutions). $150,000 plus any funding remaining from category one, if any, will be available to all applicants including repeat winners (lead institutions) . $40,000 is reserved for the quality database and conference planning. $10,440 is reserved for administrative direct costs. Applicants may recompete in future years for additional funding, but projects will not be renewed.

  4. Matching Funds Requirement
  5. Cornell University/ADEC strongly encourages at least a fifty percent (50%) match of the cost of a proposed project. However, this is not a requirement for submitting a proposal and proposals with less than a 50% match will be considered. The matching requirement must be satisfied from a non-Federal source through allowable costs incurred by the recipient or sub-recipient and through third party cash or in-kind contributions.

  6. Indirect Costs

    Projects under Federal Extension Administration do not allow indirect costs.

  7. Eligibility

  8. Proposals are invited from accredited institutions of higher education. Applicants must demonstrate that they participate in a network that distributes programs consistent with objectives in A above.

    Cornell University/ADEC will give preference to applications that -- (1) are submitted by institutions affiliated with an established agricultural communications network that distributes programs to a wide geographical area; or (2) demonstrate the need for such assistance, taking into consideration the relative needs of all applicants and the financial ability of the applicants to otherwise secure or create the agricultural communications system.

  9. Definitions

  10. For the purpose of awarding funding under this Program, the following definitions are applicable:

    1. The term "eligible institution" means an accredited institution of higher education able to meet the objectives defined in A above. These colleges or universities may be located in any State and shall (a) admit as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate; (b) be legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education; (c) provide an educational program for which a baccalaureate degree or any other higher degree is awarded; (d) be a public or other nonprofit institution; and (e) be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association.

    2. The term "communications network" refers to television or cable television origination or distribution equipment, signal conversion equipment (including both modulators and demodulators), computer hardware and software, programs or terminals, or related devices, used to process and exchange data through a telecommunications system in which signals are generated, modified, or prepared for transmission, or received, via telecommunications terminal equipment or via telecommunications transmission.

    3. The term "delivery" means the transmission and reception of programs by facilities that transmit, receive, or carry data between telecommunications terminal equipment at each end of a telecommunications circuit or path.

    4. The term "facilities" includes microwave antennae, fiber optic cables and repeaters, coaxial cables, communications satellite ground station complexes, copper cable electronic equipment associated with telecommunications transmission, and similar items.

    5. The term "satellite ground station complex" includes transmitters, receivers, and communications antennae at the Earth station site together with the interconnecting terrestrial transmission facilities (including cables, line, or microwave facilities) and modulating and demodulating equipment necessary for processing traffic received from the terrestrial distribution system prior to transmission via satellite and the traffic received prior to transmission via satellite and the traffic received from the satellite prior to transfer to terrestrial distribution systems.

    6. The term "Secretary" means the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through Cornell University.

PART II. PROGRAM AREAS

The Program Areas to be supported are those which will make optimal use of research based food and agricultural resources for extension, resident education, and research by sharing resources between and among participating institutions and which are related to:

  • improving the competitive position of United States agriculture in international markets through information dissemination;

  • assuring qualified pipeline of food and agricultural leaders, researchers, managers and workers;

  • scientific and technical exchange among leading agricultural scientists;

  • enhancing U.S. agriculture's ability to respond to environmental and food safety concerns; and

  • identifying new uses for farm commodities and increasing the demand for U.S. agricultural products in both domestic and foreign markets.

The Program Areas will include, but not be limited to agribusiness; agricultural biochemistry; agricultural communications and education; agricultural economics; agricultural engineering/ bioresource engineering; agricultural profitability and sustainability; agronomy; animal science; applied statistics; biochemistry; biotechnology; dietetics nutrition; entomological science; environmental and natural resources; food science, technology and safety; genomics; human ecology; microbiology; plant pathology; plant science; rural sociology; and veterinary medicine.

PART III. CONTENT OF PROPOSALS

  1. Applications to Cornell University/ADEC for Agricultural Telecommunications grant assistance must include detailed descriptions of (1) the communication network which will be developed or utilized and (2) the programming which will be produced and delivered or which will be carried on the agricultural communications network. Applications must describe to whom the programming will be distributed, how the programming will contribute to achieving the objectives and the total cost of producing and delivering such programming.

  2. Applications must include the amount of assistance requested for the proposed project and other sources of funding that will be used for the proposed project.

    • Matching funds are strongly encouraged. If matching funds are proposed, they must be allowable costs incurred by the recipient or sub-recipient and through third party cash or in-kind contributions.

    • No more than 10% of the total program funds can be used for acquiring and installing telecommunications transmission facilities.

    Note: Signed copies of the "Proposal Cover Page" (Form CSREES-2002) and "Budget" (Form CSREES-2004) are required for funded projects. The National Environmental Policy Act Exclusions Form (Form CSREES-2006) must be completed, but does not require a signature. Copies of the CSREES Application Kit which contains Form CSREES-2002, Form CSREES-2004 and Form CSREES-2006 will be provided. The kit will also contain the forms on Debarment/Suspension, Drug-free Workplace, and Lobbying which may be used as a reference for the content of Form CSREES-2006.

  3. Full Proposal Template

PART IV. PREPARATION OF PROPOSALS

  1. Program Application Materials
  2. Copies of this solicitation and the Application Submission Package, including full proposal template, and other required forms and certifications, may be obtained by contacting ADEC. All materials for this program are available on the World Wide Web
    (URL - http://www.adec.edu/agtel.html).

    Print copies of application materials may also be requested via Internet by sending a message with your name, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number to (adecrfp@unl.edu) stating that you wish to receive a copy of the application materials for the ADEC Agricultural Telecommunications Program.

  3. Selection Process and Evaluation of Proposals

    1. All proposals will be rated by peer review with a recommendation to fund in full, in part, or do not fund.

  4. Content of a Full Proposal
  5. In addition to the full proposal and budget templates, funded proposals require completion of the Application for Funding Form, the Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act Form, the Budget Form, the Budget Narrative and the Pending and Current Support Form. Only the Application for Funding Form and Budget Form must be signed and mailed to ADEC. All other material can be submitted electronically.

  6. Selection Process and Evaluation of Full Proposals

    1. Selection Process

      1. This year there is no pre-proposal process - only full proposals will be considered.

      2. All full proposals will be acknowledged.

      3. All full proposals will be screened to ensure they are complete and meet the requirements identified in this solicitation.

      4. All proposals pertaining to program development will be technically evaluated for intrinsic and intellectual merit by a peer review panel established for the program objectives and areas.

      5. All proposals pertaining to further development of the agricultural communications network will be technically evaluated by appropriate peers.

    2. Evaluation Criteria
    3. Proposals will be judged based on the following:

      1. For both first time and repeat lead institutions proposing to develop and deliver programming:

        1. Intrinsic/Intellectual Merit (60 points)

          • Rationale for project (10 points)

          • Relationship of project objectives to overall program objective/s (20 points)

          • Appropriateness of program delivery method to be used (10 points)

          • Evaluation, dissemination and assessment strategy (10 points)

          • Qualifications and competency of team to execute the project (10 points)

        2. Broader Impacts (40 points)

          • Potential for significant impact on the knowledge base, target audience, food and agriculture sector and network development (10 points)

          • Likelihood to encourage multi-state, multi-institutional collaboration and partnerships (10 points)

          • Potential to increase the participation of women, under represented minorities and persons with disabilities (10 points)

          • Potential for national impact through identified outcomes (10 points)

  7. Notes Important to Full-Proposal Submission

    1. Personnel Information Required

    2. To assist peer reviewers in assessing competence and experience of proposed project staff, the key personnel to be involved must be identified clearly. For each project director involved, and for all senior associates and other professional personnel who expect to work on the project, whether or not funds are sought for their support, the following should be included in completing the ADEC template:

      1. An estimate of the time commitments necessary.

      2. A curriculum vitae pertinent to the project and up-to-date.

      3. Publication List(s). A chronological list of the five most representative projects or publications during the past five years as it relates to the proposed effort must be provided for each professional project member for whom a curriculum vitae is provided.

    3. Budget

    4. A detailed budget is required for full proposals. The budget form may be reproduced as needed by applicants. Funds may be requested under any of the categories listed on the budget form, provided that the item or service for which support is requested is allowable under the authorizing legislation, the applicable Federal cost principles, and this solicitation, and can be justified as necessary for the successful conduct of the proposed project.

      The following guidelines should be used in developing your full proposal budget(s):

      1. Salaries and Wages. Salaries and wages are allowable charges and may be requested for personnel who will be working on the project in proportion to the time such personnel will devote to the project. If salary funds are requested, the number of Professionals and Other Personnel and the number of full-time equivalents (FTE) must be shown in the spaces provided. Grant funds may not be used to augment the total salary or rate of salary of project personnel or to reimburse them for time in addition to a regular full-time salary covering the same general period of employment. Salary funds requested must be consistent with the normal policies of the institution and with OMB Circular No. A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions. Administrative and Clerical salaries are normally classified as indirect costs. However, if requested under A., they must be fully justified.

      2. Fringe Benefits. Funds may be requested for fringe benefit costs if the usual accounting practices of the institution provide that institutional contributions to employee benefits (social security, retirement, etc.) be treated as direct costs. Fringe benefit costs may be included only for those personnel whose salaries are charged as a direct cost to the project. See OMB Circular No. A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, for further guidance in this area.

      3. Nonexpendable Equipment. Nonexpendable equipment means tangible nonexpendable personal property including exempt property charged directly to the award having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. As such, items of necessary instrumentation or other nonexpendable equipment should be listed individually by description and estimated cost. This applies to revised budgets, as the equipment item(s) and amount(s) may change. Each applicant also must attach to its budget an analysis of the costs and benefits of purchasing (or leasing) different types of facilities, equipment, components, hardware and software, and other items.

      4. Materials and Supplies. The types of expendable materials and supplies which are required to carry out the project should be indicated in general terms with estimated costs.

      5. Travel. The type and extent of travel and its relationship to project objectives should be described briefly and justified. In the budget narrative, for both domestic and foreign travel, provide the purpose, the destination, method of travel, number of persons traveling, number of days, and estimated cost for each trip.

      6. Publication Costs/Page Charges. Anticipated costs of preparing and publishing results of the project being proposed (including page charges, necessary illustrations, and the cost of a reasonable number of coverless reprints) may be estimated and charged against the grant.

      7. Computer (ADPE) Costs. Reimbursement for the costs of using specialized facilities (such as a university or department-controlled computer mainframe or data processing center) may be requested if such services are required for completion of the work.The cost of computer services, including computer-based retrieval of scientific and technical information, may be requested. Internet connection costs may be requested, as appropriate.

      8. All Other Direct Costs. Anticipated direct project charges not included in other budget categories must be itemized with estimated costs and justified on a separate sheet of paper attached to the budget. This applies to revised budgets, as the item(s) and dollar amount(s) may change. Examples may include space rental at remote locations, subcontractual costs, and charges for consulting services. Applicants are encouraged to consult the "Instructions for Completing the Agricultural Telecommunications Program Budget," for detailed guidance relating to this budget category.

      9. Indirect Costs. Indirect costs are not allowed under the FY2002 Agricultural Telecommunications Program. This restriction flows down to any sub-recipient provided funds from a grant awarded under this program.

    5. Matching Funds

      1. If a proposal involves matching support (including both cash and in-kind contributions), the proposal must include written verification from third parties. Written verification means:

        1. For any third party cash contributions, a separate pledge agreement for each donation, signed by the authorized organizational representatives of the donor organization and the applicant organization, which must include: (1) the name, address, and telephone number of the donor; (2) the name of the applicant organization; (3) the title of the project for which the donation is made; (4) the dollar amount of the cash donation; and (5) a statement that the donor will pay the cash contribution during the project period.

        2. For any third party in-kind contributions, a separate pledge agreement for each contribution, signed by the authorized organizational representatives of the donor organization and the applicant organization, which must include: (1) the name, address, and telephone number of the donor; (2) the name of the applicant organization; (3) the title of the project for which the donation is made; (4) a good faith estimate of the current fair market value of the in-kind contribution; and (5) a statement that the donor will make the contribution during the grant period.

      2. The sources and amount of all matching support from outside the applicant institution should be summarized on a separate page and placed in the proposal immediately following the budget form and any attachment thereto. All pledge agreements must be placed in the proposal immediately following the summary of matching support.

      3. Applicants should refer to OMB Circulars A-110, "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations," and A-21, "Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and other Agreements with Educational Institutions" for further guidance and other requirements relating to matching and allowable costs.

    6. Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As outlined in 7 CFR Part 3407, the environmental data or documentation for any proposed project is to be provided with the project proposal in order to assist in carrying out the responsibilities established under NEPA. In some cases, however, the preparation of environmental data may not be required. Certain categories of actions are excluded from the requirements of NEPA.

      In order to determine whether any further action is needed with respect to NEPA (e.g., preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS)), pertinent information regarding the possible environmental impacts of a proposed project is necessary; therefore, the National Environmental Policy Act Exclusions Form (Form CSREES-1234) provided must be included in the proposal indicating whether the applicant is of the opinion that the project falls within one or more of the categorical exclusions.

      Even though a project may fall within the categorical exclusions, it may be determined that an EA or an EIS is necessary for an activity, if substantial controversy on environmental grounds exists or if other extraordinary conditions or circumstances are present which may cause such activity to have a significant environmental effect.

PART IV. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION

  1. Grant Awards

    1. General

    2. Within the limit of funds available for such purpose, ADEC will make grants to those responsible, eligible applicants whose proposals are judged most meritorious under the procedures set forth in this solicitation. All projects will be for a one-year implementation period with extensions possible in consultation with ADEC. Projects need not be initiated on the grant effective date, but as soon thereafter as practicable so that project goals may be attained within the funded project period. All funds granted by ADEC under this solicitation shall be expended solely for the purpose for which the funds are granted in accordance with the approved application and budget, the terms and conditions of the award, the applicable Federal cost principles, and the Department of Agriculture's assistance regulations (Parts 3015 and 3019 of 7 CFR).

    3. Grant Award Document and Notice of Grant Award

      1. The grant award document shall include, at a minimum, the following:

        1. Legal name and address of performing organization.

        2. Title of project.

        3. Name(s) and address(es) of Project Director(s).

        4. Project period, which specifies how long ADEC intends to support the effort.

        5. Total amount of ADEC financial assistance approved during the project period.

        6. Legal authority under which the grant is awarded.

        7. Approved budget plan for categorizing project funds to accomplish the stated purpose of the grant award.

        8. Other information or provisions deemed necessary by ADEC to carry out its granting activities or to accomplish the purpose of a particular grant.

      2. The notice of grant award, in the form of an electronic mail letter, will provide pertinent instructions and information to the grantee which are not included in the grant award document described above.

  2. Use of Funds; Changes

    1. Delegation of fiscal responsibility. The grantee may not in whole or in part delegate or transfer to another person, institution, or organization the responsibility for use or expenditure of grant funds.

    2. Change in project plans.

      1. The permissible changes by the grantee, project director(s), or other key project personnel in the approved project grant shall be limited to changes in methodology, techniques, or other aspects of the project to expedite achievement of the project's approved goals. If the grantee and/or the project director(s) are uncertain as to whether a change complies with this provision, the question must be referred to the ADEC staff.

      2. Changes in approved goals, or objectives, shall be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADEC staff prior to effecting such changes. In no event shall requests for such changes be approved which are outside the scope of the original approved project.

      3. Changes in approved project leadership or the replacement or reassignment of other key project personnel shall be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADEC staff prior to effecting such changes.

      4. Transfers of actual performance of the substantive programmatic work in whole or in part and provisions for payment of funds, whether or not Federal funds are involved, shall be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADEC staff prior to effecting such transfers.

    3. Changes in project period. The project period may be extended by ADEC without additional financial support, for such additional period(s) as ADEC determines may be necessary to complete or fulfill the purposes of an approved project. Any extension of time shall be conditioned upon prior request by the grantee and approval in writing by ADEC, unless prescribed otherwise in the terms and conditions of a grant.

    4. Changes in approved budget. Changes in an approved budget must be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by ADEC prior to instituting such changes if the revision will result in a need or claim for the award of additional funds or involve transfers or expenditures of amounts requiring prior approval as set forth in the applicable Federal cost principles, Departmental regulations, or in the grant award.

  3. Other Federal Statutes and Regulations that Apply

  4. Several other Federal statutes and/or regulations apply to grant proposals considered for review and to project grants awarded under this part. These include but are not limited to:

    7 CFR Part 1.1-- USDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act

    7 CFR Part 3 -- USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection.

    7 CFR Part 15, subpart A - USDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

    7 CFR Part 3015, as amended by 62 FR 45947 - USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations, implementing OMB directives (i.e., Circular Nos. A-21, and A-122) and incorporating provisions of 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308 (formerly the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, Pub. L. 95-224), as well as general policy requirements applicable to recipients of Departmental financial assistance.

    7 CFR Part 3017, as amended by 61 FR 250, January 4, 1996 - USDA implementation of Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and Government wide Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Grants).

    7 CFR Part 3018 - USDA implementation of Restrictions on Lobbying. Imposes prohibitions and requirements for disclosure and certification related to lobbying on recipients of Federal contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and loans.

    7 CFR Part 3019, as amended by 62 FR 45934 - USDA implementation of OMB Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.

    7 CFR Part 3052 - USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Institutions.

    7 CFR Part 3407 - CSREES procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended.

    29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15B (USDA implementation of statute), prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in Federally assisted programs.

    35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. - Bayh-Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in Federally assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR part 401).

  5. Other Conditions

  6. ADEC may, with respect to any grant, impose additional conditions prior to or at the time of any award when such conditions are necessary to assure or protect advancement of the approved project, the interests of the public, or the conservation of grant funds.

Dr. H. Dean Sutphin
Cornell University

Dr. Janet Poley
President, ADEC

____________________________________
Date

 

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