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U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA)
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), created by congress in 2008 to replace the former Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), which had been in existence since 1994. NIFA's mission is to advance knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. NIFA provides program leadership in research, education, and extension and administer funding at the state and local level in these areas.
FY 2015 Proposed $12.8 million
NIFA’s current priority areas include (1) global food security and hunger, (2) climate change, (3) sustainable energy, (4) childhood obesity, and (5) food safety. Nanoscale science and nanotechnology has demonstrated relevance and great potential to enable revolutions in broad agriculture and food systems, including plant production and products; animal health, production, and products; food safety, nutrition, health, and wellness; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. The agency’s nanotechnology research has broadly contributed to the NNI PCAs, with primary emphasis on fundamental nanoscale phenomena and processes (PCA 1), nanomaterials (PCA 2), nanoscale devices and systems (PCA 3), and environment, health, and safety (PCA 7).
In particular, NIFA’s nanoscale science and nanotechnology research has focused its investment on detection and intervention technologies for enhancing food safety and agricultural biosecurity; effective and safe delivery of bioactives in functional foods for improving human health and wellness; and product traceability, identity preservation, and tracking to embrace the continuous advancement of information technology for better decision making through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), NIFA’s flagship competitive grants program. AFRI also has supported research on perceptions of the public and other stakeholders regarding the perceptions and acceptance of nanotechnology applications in food and agriculture.
Dr. Hongda Chen, National Program Leader, Bioprocess Engineering/Nanotechnology