An NC State project targeting emerging infectious plant diseases in Africa received a $75,000 research grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative. Jean Ristaino, professor of plant pathology, and Linda Hanley-Bowdoin, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Biochemistry, are spearheading the project. Researchers from the University of California at Davis, Colorado State University and Ohio State University round out the team.
The project was one of 12 to receive funds in the latest round of grants awarded by the initiative. The awards support interdisciplinary research on ecosystem services, the benefits that people obtain from nature. The projects chosen represent a variety of approaches to such research, which was the subject of the ninth annual Futures Initiative conference held last November.
These competitive seed grants aim to fill a critical gap in funding for research on new ideas. Major federal funding programs do not typically provide support in areas that are considered risky or unusual. The Futures grants allow researchers to start recruiting students and postdoctoral fellows, purchasing equipment, and acquiring preliminary data, all of which can position the researchers to compete for larger awards from other public and private sources.