NNGA Research Grants

The NNGA offers research grants to those institutions or individuals doing research on temperate zone tree nuts.

We welcome donations to help fund grants for individuals, institutions, and corporations. All donations are tax-deductible and tax-exempt to the extent allowable under the provisions of Internal Revenue Code 501 (c) (3).

Important Dates:

April 30 - One-page cover pre-proposal (optional) | June 30 - Grant Proposal

Donate to the NNGA

Anyone who has the interest and capability to perform pertinent research is eligible to submit proposals and receive grant money. This includes NNGA members, academic professionals, private individuals, and corporations.

Any topic dealing with temperate zone tree nuts is eligible. Historically, the interests of the NNGA have also included papaws and persimmons. Past annual reports can be consulted for an overview of NNGA interests. Suggested topic areas are:

  1.  Propagation
  2. Germplasm and Cultivar Evaluation
  3. Pest Management and Pest Biology
  4.  Mechanical Harvesting
  5.  Postharvest Handling and Processing
  6.  Orchard Establishment
  7.  Orchard Care and Maintenance
  8.  Marketing
  9. Basic Biology and Ecology
  10.  Foreign Exchange, esp. Germplasm

The NNGA favors projects which yield applicable, useful results which become part of the public domain. The NNGA does not support research which results in protected intellectual property (e.g., patents, copyrights), nor research providing exclusive support for a private enterprise.

NNGA Research Grants are not for the purposes of economic development, orchard establishment, or demonstration plantings. They are primarily for the purposes of furthering knowledge about nut tree cultivation, nut handling, utilization, and marketing.

In an effort to "spread around" scarce funds, projects are favored that are no more than two years' duration and $10,000 total NNGA contribution. The NNGA accepts and encourages projects of a smaller scale than these limits, and will consider partial funding (up to the above-stated limits) of larger scale projects, provided that other funding sources support the balance of the project. All NNGA grant funds must be used for direct costs of supported research. The NNGA does not fund indirect costs (overhead), or a corporate "fee" (profit).

Prior to submitting a grant proposal, proposers are encouraged, but not required, to submit a one-page letter which briefly describes what he or she would like to do with NNGA funds due no later than April 30. This letter should be sent to Greg Miller at empirechestnut@gmail.com, preferably as an attachment. The pre-proposal letter will allow us to assess the potential of the project and offer suggestions for the proposal. This step is especially helpful for those who are new to writing grant proposals or new to the NNGA.

Grant proposals are due June 30. A grant proposal is a prerequisite for all NNGA research grants. The proposal should be no more than 10 pages in length. It should be sent as an email attachment to Greg Miller at empirechestnut@gmail.com by the above deadline.

Cover Page Requirements

A) Title of the project

B) Name(s), address, and telephone number of the researcher(s)

C) Objective(s). Clearly and concisely describe what will be completed

D) Duration of project in months, giving appropriate dates

E) NNGA funds requested

F) Brief summary of rationale and procedure

G) Signature(s) of proposer(s)

Proposal Requirements

A) Rationale. Why the project is important and how NNGA members will benefit.

B) Procedure. Describe the steps that will be taken to meet the objectives, including a realistic timetable.

C) Facilities and Personnel. Describe where the project will be performed and what facilities and materials are necessary; also describe the qualifications of the individuals who will perform the research. Make a clear distinction between those items which will be purchased with NNGA funds and those which will be available from other sources.

D) Budget. List supplies, wages, and other expense items along with their associated cost. If funding sources other than the NNGA will support the project, show the costs in separate budget columns. Briefly describe how the costs were determined. For example, "Wages - $2,000" conveys a less satisfying message than "Wages (200 hr @ $10.00/hr) - $2,000." It is acceptable to use NNGA funds as reimbursement for costs already incurred. Usually such reimbursable costs would occur after the proposal is submitted but before the funds are disbursed. The proposer assumes the risk of such costs until and unless the proposal is funded. As stated previously, indirect costs (overhead) or a corporate fee (profit) are not allowed as expense items to be paid by the NNGA.

The Fine Print

The NNGA expects a written report of the results of supported research, preferably a presentation at the annual meeting and a manuscript submitted for the annual report. Publication of the results in another journal or bulletin is an acceptable alternative, provided that a copy is sent to the research committee. If results are not published, a written report should be sent to the research committee.

All proposals received prior to June 30 will be considered for the current year's funding. The research committee will evaluate the proposals based on appropriateness of the research, creativity and novelty of the approach, and the sufficiency of the personnel, facilities, and budget to meet the objectives. Preference will be for small-scale, self-contained projects which do not require ongoing funding. For example, evaluation of a cultivar planting for disease resistance would be preferred over establishing a cultivar planting. Funding decisions will be finalized at the annual Executive Board meeting which is usually held in August. All proposers will be notified of funding or denial within one week after the conclusion of the annual meeting. Proposals which have been denied funding may be resubmitted (perhaps modified) in some subsequent year if the proposer and research committee deem it appropriate. For funded grants, a check for up to 85% of the approved amount will be disbursed from the NNGA treasurer to the recipient after the annual meeting. For projects lasting longer than one year, funds generally will be disbursed on an annual basis. The final 15% of the grant funds will be disbursed only after the NNGA has received a final report (manuscript) to be published in the NNGA annual report. The research committee may negotiate with the proposer regarding the budget or other aspects of the proposal. Such negotiations may take place before or after the annual meeting

Research grant proposals are approved for funding at the Annual Meeting after recommendation by the Research Grant Committee and approval by the Board of Directors. The total grant amount approved by the Board of Directors is a maximum; the actual grant amount may be less if the grant recipient and Research Grant Committee find that a lower amount is appropriate. If a higher amount is needed, this must be requested through another grant proposal. Shortly after grant proposals are approved for funding, the chair of the Research Grant Committee will notify the proposers in writing and provide instructions and forms for obtaining funds.

Generally, funds are disbursed annually, and fund requests should cover that year's expenditures as indicated in the proposal budget. Funds may be used as reimbursement for expenses already incurred or as advancement for future expenses. The final 15% of a project's budget are held by the NNGA until the project is completed and the results are presented at the Annual Meeting, and/or submitted as a manuscript to be published in the Annual Report, or published in a refereed journal. For long-term projects, a detailed progress report should be presented and/or published as above. Grant recipients should spend all their funds over a one to three-year period. There is a four-year time limit.

The NNGA is not liable for any funds not requested within four years of the time that the grant is awarded. For long-term projects, the expenditures should be broken down into two or three-year segments, each with it's own grant proposal. After a grant proposal is approved, the proposer will receive copies of the form entitled, NNGA Research Grant Request for Funds. The initial request for funds is made by filling out this form and sending it back to the chair of the Research Grant Committee. This form is signed by the chair and forwarded to the NNGA treasurer. The treasurer then sends a check to the grant recipient. The amount of the initial request may vary depending on the project duration and budget time-line, but it should never exceed 85% of the total grant amount approved. For projects lasting more than one year, there will likely be a need to make one or two interim fund requests. Interim fund requests should be accompanied by a brief progress report that includes an accounting of expenditures, both past and forthcoming. The sum of the initial plus all interim fund requests should total no more than 85% of the total grant amount approved. The final fund request (usually 15% of total budget) should be accompanied by a final report or a substantial progress report (see above). Also, the final fund request should be accompanied by a budget report that shows details of how the funds were spent. Source documentation for these expenses should be maintained by the project administrator and be made available to the NNGA on request. It is important for the NNGA that grant funds be spent appropriately and that research projects proceed as smoothly and successfully as possible.

It sometimes happens that expenses change or needs and opportunities change. If there are budget changes that exceed 10% of the total budget amount, the grant recipient should notify the chair of the Research Grant Committee. The Research Grant Committee will accommodate and perhaps suggest reasonable changes, but is not authorized to grant budget increases. If the project is terminated before completion, any unspent funds should be returned to the NNGA. As stated in the "Guidelines for Proposers", the NNGA does not fund indirect costs, overhead, or "fees" (profit).