Those funds are often difficult or impossible to get or may require compromises in the research plan. A principal inves- tigagor could afford, for example, the assistance of either a graduate student, a technician, or partial sup- port of a postdoctoral fellow. In contrast, an award at the higherlevel would provide a principal investigator with sufficient funds to pay for research supplies and to support at least one graduate student, one postdoc- toral research fellow, or both.
This provides a key means of attracting young scientists to careers in agricultural and food science. These figures are par- ticularly sobering since competitive grants are a major source of support for graduate students the nation's future scientists.
A program's grants should not only be sufficient in size but they should also be large enough to compete for the attention of scientists currently working in other areas. The sum of all budget categories adds up to more than the average size of a grant because each grant does not allocate monies to all the budget categories.
Only the supplies and indirect costs categories are allocated in all grants. Values in parentheses are ranges. This category includes equipment maintenance contracts, animal care facility fees, subcontracts to outside services, etc. Data are based on a review of 20 randomly selected grants and were compiled by the Competitive Research Grants Office, U. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.
The sum of all personnel categories adds up to more than the total personnel category because each grant does not allocate monies to all the personnel categories. Combined data from three of the six divisions of the Directorate of Biological, Behavioral, and Social Sciences. CData represent grants to individual investigators, which are predominantly grants coded as ROT, and exclude continuation payments for awards made in previous years.
NIH Data Book National Institutes of Health. Research in genetics and plant breeding that needs data from at least four or five growing seasons cannot rationally be proposed for completion within a 2-year grant period. Similarly, worthwhile projects that involve extensive field or clinical work require not only the support of skilled laboratory and field person- nel but also sufficient time. Another example of research that requires a longer time frame is the effort to break through long-standing barriers to knowledge of basic plant or animal growth processes or barriers to knowledge of ecosystems for sustainable agriculture- breakthroughs that are prerequisites to developing more efficient systems of production.
Still another example of research that requires a longer time frame is the pursuit of economically viable new uses of existing crops a pursuit that may entail the applica- tion of genetic engineering techniques to develop new traits in plants, agronomic and production research and plant breeding to bring yields up to profitable levels, engineering and food processing research to I - ESTING IN RESEARCH develop efficient technologies for handling and con- verting materials, and changes in agricultural com- modity and conservation policies to accommodate the needed adjustments in regional cropping patterns.
It is difficult to persuade talented scientists to invest time in preparing and conducting research programs when the time allowed for the research is too short for them to achieve meaningful results and when there is uncertainty about whether a grant will be renewed and the funding continued so Mat the work can be completed.
It is also difficult to persuade new postdoctoral fellows to relocate if they can only be guaranteed partial support for 2 years. It is difficult, too, to conduct strong graduate-level research training programs if only short-term partial funding is avail- able.
These programs generally run at least 3 and often 4 years, but the average duration of USDA competitive grants has been 2 years see Table 3.
The difficulty and uncertainty connected with plan- ning a graduate research program with only 2-year grants has discouraged many scientists and their stu- dents from applying for the short-term grants. The best solution is the most direct one. Average for all grants awarded, including forestry and small business innovation awards. This change alone will enable the USDA competitive grants program to go a long way toward attracting more top-notch, new sci- entific talent to the sciences basic to agriculture, food, and the environment.
It is a necessary first step in meeting the research and educational challenges that lie ahead National Research Council, b.
Each year, hundreds of technically meritorious pro- posals submitted to the USDA competitive grants program go unfunded, and if funding prospects were better, many more proposals would probably be sub- mitted. Goals for the distribution of funding by type of 25 grant should apply to the total program, not to each of the six major program areas. The awarding of funds should be governed by the creativity that scientists demonstrate in proposing to tackle problems and by the relevance of the proposals, not by a priori distribu- tional goals.
But the distribution of funds through the four types of grants would also depend, to some degree, upon the goals and priorities set for research. When new plant biotechnolo- gies are being adapted and assessed for widespread commercial use, a different mix of grant types will be expected, including mission-linked multidisciplinary team grants. The distribution of funds by grant type and across the six major program areas will also be influenced by the priorities of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.
Growing concern about both the protection of water quality and changes in global climate, for example, might lead to an increase in the funding appropriated to the natural resources and the environment program area.
Targets for the distribution of funds by type of go ant arepresentedinTable3. These are goals to strive for rather than binding rules, and they apply only to a fully funded program.
The emphasis given to principal. In counting and comparing the total number of proposals submitted, grants awarded, and grants funded, one runs the risk of mixing apples with oranges. Most grants cover a time period of more than 1 year, and a grant awarded for a 3-year period, for example, may appear in the statistics overtime either as one grant or as three grants, depending on whether it is a simple or a continuing grant. In the case of a simple grant, the full 3 years of funding are obligated in 1 fiscal year, so the grant appears only once in the statistics.
Supplemental funds are small additions to a grant to cover an unanticipated need to complete the research, such as the need to purchase a special instrument. Thus, statistics on the SUCCESS rate of grant applications can compare the number of proposals received and reviewed within a fiscal year with the number of new grants competitively awarded in that year, but not with the total number of grants funded during that same year. In contrast, both NSF and the institutes at NIH obligate roughly two-thirds of their funds to continuing grants in each fiscal year.
The data presented in Table 3. In the NSF, NIH, and USDA competitive research grants pro- grams, principal investigator grants have been, and continue to be, highly successful in advancing sci- ence, and they constitute the primary basis of research progress.
They must be given a major emphasis in the expanded USDA competitive grants program. Assuming that a principal investigator grant repre- sents funding for one senior scientist, a student, and a technician for 3 years; that a fundamental multidisci- plinary team grant represents funding for at least two collaborating senior scientists and staff for 4 years; and that a mission-linked multidisciplinary team re- search grant represents funding for a team headed by four senior investigators for 4 years, then one can construct a table see Table 3.
Since the size and duration of research-strengthening grants will vary depending on the need for fellowship or program support, their number is not included in the estimates in Table 3. Still excluding research-strengthening grants, an estimated 4, principal investigators or senior scientists would be supported in any 1 year more than five times the number under the current program which supports about scientists per year: In comparison, NIH awards about 6, grants annually.
About one-third of the propos- als submitted each year to NIH result in grant awards. NSF awards about 2, biosciences grants each year twice the number proposed for the expanded USDA program; about 20 percent of the proposals result in grant awards.
For comparative data for FY , see Table 3. The estimates in Table 3. This conclusion is based on the size of the pool of agricultural and biological scientists who are expected to be interested in the expanded program. This group is already interested in the current program, as indicated by the high proportion of proposals judged meritorious that go unfunded each year.
The proposed expansion in program scope and the increased size and duration of grants should secure their interest even more. In addition, the proposed expansion will also provide for graduate assistantships and postdoctoral appointments that will maintain a continuing influx of high-quality young scientists. Comparable data for physical and social scientists and engineers cannot be examined because the scope and emphasis of the current pro- gram do not attract their attention, but it is wholly reasonable to expect them to be highly interested in the 27 expanded program, as they are for comparable NSF and NIH programs.
This represents 56 percent of the 8, agricultural scien- tists working in traditional agricultural science fields, mainly at land-grant universities Table 3. How- ever, the grants will also go to scientists outside the traditional agricultural science fields, just as grants in biomedicine go to scientists both inside and outside biomedical fields. To illustrate the potential involve- ment of scientists outside traditional agricultural sci- ences, consider only the 40, biological scientists see Table 3.
If all 4, grants were awarded to these scientists, the US DA program would tee support- ing about 12 percent of them. But, of course, a mix of scientists will be supported. If the proposed program were to fund agricultural and biological scientists in the same proportions as at present about 70 percent of the grants now go to scientists at land-grant universi- ties , then about 3, agricultural scientists about 39 TABLE 3. CResearch-strengthening grants would vary in size and number and are not estimated here NA, not applicable.
Grants Grants Agricultural scientists8, NA, Not available; percentage cannot be estimated on the basis of available information. These are not part of the land-grant university agricultural experiment station system. In comparison, about 45 percent of the 40, biological scientists conducting research in re- ceivedNIHgrants.
Therefore, the 1, grants awarded per year are still insufficient to fund agricultural scien- tists even to the level of NlH's funding of biological scientists and can involve biological scientists only to a very small extent. Thus, 1, grants per year should be seen, over the long term, as only a minimum number of grants for the USDA competitive grants program.
Yet, the needs and opportunities warrant the proposed action. This section presents three reasons for the need for new, not redirected, funding: Based on constant dollars, the purchasing power of USDA re.
Yet, the environment in which agriculture must operate has changed substantially. The macroeconomic condi- tions that effect the farmer end producer global trade policy, the federal budget, and the value of U.
The regulatory climate is different and in flux, which increases the complexity and expense of doing business throughout the agricultural and food sector. And science and technology continue to evolve, altering farming prac- tices, markets, the cost of inputs, and overall produc- tivity. First, without the prospect of a sufficient and acces- sible source of funds, the agricultural, food, and envi- ronmental research system will find it difficult to bring younger scientists into the system and induce them to establish research careers there.
This takes on greater significance since the large cohort of highly produc- tive scientists who have been in the system since the ls will soon be retiring. Second, without growth, opportunities for gradu- ate education and research experiences within the systemcannotbemaintained.
Yet,graduate education is a major product of the U. Some would even argue that it is its most important product. Educational opportunities emphasizing agricultural research are the source of the skilled talent on which agriculture depends.
This is partly because the entire character of science has changed, particu- larly science for agriculture and biology. Instruments, techniques, and supplies have become extremely sophisticated and accurate. In addition, since many of the problems are now more multifaceted, more emphasis must be placed on mul- tidisciplinary work, and this, too, has raised costs, particularly in the field- and clinic-based studies nec 29 essary to understand the complex phenomena in- volved in agriculture.
Redirection of state funds and the securing of new state funds have also occurred through interactions within the state-federal partnership in research.
In a very real sense, the agricultural research sector has already been redirecting its funds. However, new demands are being made on the research system.
For example, new information and analysis are required within the regulatory environ- ment. Much more caution and thoroughness are required in developing and using new technologies, such as biotechnology for plants and animals, than have been required for conventional plant and animal breeding in the past. And there are research questions connected to the relationship between agriculture and the environment-for example, when the environ- ment is actually or potentially polluted by the contin- ued use of pesticides and natural and chemical fertil- izers, by agricultural and food processing wastes, and by leachates.
State-Federal Partnership The partnership between the states and the federal government in research, development, and applica- lion related to the agricultural and food sector involves both state end federal agencies and scientists. The partnership is strong and well estab- lished, and one of its key elements is collaboration in research and application. This collaboration is helped. States use a large portion of their total research funds to do research that is relevant to the entire nation.
One recent example of nationally relevant research by states is biotechnology research, which many states have emphasized and which, in most instances, is fundamental research. The significance of an ex- panded USDA competitive grants program is that it would use federal funds to provide major necessary support for fundamental research of national value, thereby lessening some of the competition for state funds, which could then appropriately be applied, in part, to state and regional problems.
There are no excess funds in this partnership for doing this essential job. As noted elsewhere in this proposal, if funds are taken away from the partnership or redi- rected to other activities-even to an expanded com- petitivegrantsprogram thenation's capacity to keep research, development, and application flowing will be diminished. Fiscal Realities Finally, there is the matter of fiscal realities: Where would it come from?
What are the implications of shifting funds from one pro- gram to another? At this time of fiscal constraint, the executive and legislative branches of the federal government must reduce the national debt and at the same time set priorities among competing federal expenditures to enact programs that maintain the welfare, infrastruc- ture, security, and continued economic growth of the United States. The goal of simultaneously reducing expenditures and attending to essential national needs requires fiscal prudence.
Trade-Offs Given the current era of fiscal constraints, this proposal for an increased investment in the agricul- tural, food, and environmental research system re- quires that several possible trade-offs be considered.
Can some current research programs be dis- continued in an effort to strengthen competitively supported research? The necessary funds could be directed to re- search from other USDA budget categories. The funds couldbe shifted from other parts of the federal budget into USDA.
Does the consistently high return on the agricultural research investment over- ride the need for funds in other areas of national interest? The investment in agricultural, food, and envi- ronmental research could be deferred until deficit re- duction has been achieved.
But investing new funds now can hasten future economic growth and scientific benefits. What will be gained-or lost by postpon- ing the investment? Thus, agricultural research is already substan- tially underfunded, given the continuing needs and the many new needs. It follows that a redirection of funds within an appropriation that is already too small will not allow the agricultural, food, and environmental research system to address fully the challenges con- fronting it.
However, some might argue that current. Atleast three points should be made in response. First, many observers believe that the political prospects for redirection are nil to modest. Second, any funds derived from redirection within the USDA research budget would diminish the capac- ity of the research and delivery system itself. It is this very system that is responsible for capturing the re- sults from competitively funded, formula- and state- funded, and other research, formulating them into technologies and applications and then delivering them to users.
Redirection of funding would under- mine not only the system's capacity for innovation but also continuing efforts to strengthen its research capa- bilities. Thus, taking funds from the research and delivery system would diminish it precisely when it needs to be more effective. This proposal strongly recommends against the redirection of funds within the USDA research budget for the reasons given above. If no growth in the USDA research budget is possible, then decisions to redirectUSDA's research funds are judgments that elected and other public officials may choose to evaluate.
Investment of Subsidy Savings As U. If that occurs, pant of this funding should be reinvested in research programs that can strengthen the knowledge that supports the production of agricultural commodi- ties and the food and fiber industries of the country.
Such redirection is appropriate because the research will directly benefit those commodities: Investment Using Non-USDA Funds Beside reinvesting savings from the decreases in subsidy payments, another possibility is reinvestment from other nonresearch portions of the federal budget. The first reason is economic, the second is scientific, and the third combines both. In addition, investment in the environmental component of the system will have a substantial direct monetary value as less expensive and more effective environ- mental management systems are used involving more effective, less environmentally problematic fertiliz- ers, insecticides, and herbicides and their integrated systems.
Furthermore, money spent ensuring envi- ronmental quality for the agricultural and food system will keep problems from building and will thus save on future remedial costs. Increased funding can be used to major advantage. The necessary scientific talent in the physical, biological, engineering, and social sciences as well as in agriculture and related disciplines is also available and ready to compete for this new funding.
Moreover, USDA has shown that it can professionally administer and manage a competitive grants program. The third reason that this substantial increase should be enacted in a single year is a reflection of the broadened scope of agricultural, food, and environ- mental research and of the importance of sustained agricultural advancement for the U.
The agribusiness complex contributes an estimated A rationale is the researcher's reason for conducting the research in the first place. For example, a researcher is trying to find out whether or not a full breakfast.
In a review of the literature,. If it also runs counter to your hypothesis,. The statement of purpose is not simply a statement of why the research is being done. That is what the rationale section is for. Rather, "purpose" refers to the goal or objective of your research. The purpose statement should answer questions. The introduction usually ends with a research question or questions.
This question should be. On another hand, some research reports end or begin with an abstract. An abstract is a highly abbreviated usually words synopsis of your research. It should describe your rationale and objectives, as well as your methods and findings. Nor can it report on the limitations of your research or offer suggestions for future research. But, after reading your abstract, people unfamiliar with your research should know what it is about and whether they want to read the entire report.
Therefore, it requires a clear and precise description of how an experiment was done, and the rationale for why specific experimental procedures were chosen. Therefore, the methods section structure should: The description of preparations, measurements, and the protocol should be organized chronologically.
Material in each section should be organized by topic from most to least important. What are research methods and oil exploration? It might seem contrapuntal to say that being too specific can be a by product of trying to accomplish too much, but consider these topic examples:.
The benefits to homeless veterans of establishing a turquoise line from central park to the suburbs on workdays. In this example, there may not be enough research about the individual parts in order to apply so many qualifiers. If there is a gap in the study of homelessness new public transportation in general, you will have a hard time supporting the more specific idea.
Consider taking a step out from such specificity. The benefits to the homeless of establishing ways in and out of the city. This topic will allow you to operate directly between segments of previous literature. You will be able to note exactly one gap, rather than a string of gaps that you yourself must fill. Filling more than one gap in a research paper is always a good sign that your topic is either too broad or too narrow.
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It is important for you to be able to explain the importance of the research you are conducting by providing valid arguments. Rationale for the study needs to be specific and ideally, it should relate to the following points: 1. The research needs to contribute to the elimination of a gap in the literature. Elimination of gap in existing pool of literature is one of the compulsory requirements for your study.
A rationale is a kind of sub-proposal within a proposal: it offers the reasons for proceeding to address a particular problem with a particular solution. A rationale for research is a set of reasons offered by a researcher for conducting more research into a particular subject -- either library research, descriptive research, or experimental research.
Aug 28, · Mainly, a rationale will need to have stated your research problem, defined the key terms, noted objectives and noted the importance of the subject. In addition, a rationale will need to have reviewed and summarized the available literature, noted any gaps in /5(62). Explaining the purpose of a research study and providing a compelling rationale is an important part of any research project, enabling the work to be set in the context of both existing evidence (and theory) and its practical applications.
rationale Somewhere in the introduction you need to inform the reader of the rationale of your research. This is a brief explanation of why your research topic is worthy of study and may make a significant contribution to the body of already existing research. A rationale typically consists of a line of reasoning that performs two principal functions. It describes a context within which to locate the intended project and suggests why doing such a study is worthwhile.