Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 6/5/2024

2024 SPSD Collaborative Soil Survey Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil and Plant Science Division (NRCS SPSD), is announcing the potential availability of funding for agreements for the purposes of supporting cooperative research in soil science and soil survey. The purpose of the 2024 Soil Survey Cooperative Research Proposals is to promote research that informs and improves soil survey. Each proposal must include significant collaboration with soil survey personnel (such as those at the National Soil Survey Center, MLRA Soil Survey or Regional offices). The proposal’s deliverables and their connection to soil survey must be clearly explained. Extra consideration will be given to proposals that include Dynamic Soil Survey research support, with close collaboration with National Soil Survey Center Research Soil Scientists. The work should have national or broad regional application to fill gaps in soil survey databases, provide new approaches to collecting or interpreting soil survey data, and/or address emerging issues in the national research priority areas.

The FY24 research priorities were developed through meetings of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) Research Priorities Committee and in conjunction with NRCS and SPSD priorities. We expect to fund approximately up to $3,000,000 of cooperative research depending on funding availability. Eligibility is limited to institutions of higher education in the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) network CESU National Network. Proposals are requested for competitive consideration of awards for projects 2-3 years in duration. The estimated funding floor for this opportunity is $50,000 and the estimated funding ceiling is $500,000.

Deadline: July 8, 2024

Areas of Interest

Proposal topics should address emerging issues within at least one of three nationally relevant areas of soil survey research:

Dynamic Soil Properties (DSPs) and Soil Change
• Investigation of DSPs not currently accounted for in evaluations of soil change at decadal time scales.
• Assessments of DSPs for forest soils.
• Creation of digital soil mapping models for predicting DPSs through space and time.

Methods of Soil Hydrology
• Development of new field and laboratory methods that could be added to soil survey.
• Expansion of existing methods for characterizing soil hydraulic properties (e.g., water retention, hydraulic conductivity), including those that can be gathered from existing soil survey data.
• Enhancing communication of hydrologic toolsets and data to product users, especially non-soil scientists.

Expansion of Datasets
• Leveraging existing NRCS and non-NRCS datasets to expand the reach of soil survey (e.g., deeper depths, spatial gaps).
• Developing an online mapping tool or repository of soil survey projects, which could include major outcomes and generated datasets.
• Enhancing the compatibility of non-NRCS datasets (e.g., National Ecological Observatory Network, Molecular Observation Network, U.S. Geological Survey’s National Geothermal Data System) with soil survey data.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for this opportunity is limited to the following entity types:

a. Private institutions of higher education that are part of a CESU network.

b. Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education that are part of a CESU network.

An applicant organization may submit more than one application for different projects or proposing different approaches. In the case of applications submitted as revisions or corrections to a previously submitted application under this NFO, the agency will consider the last application submitted prior to the established deadline.

Amount Description

The estimated funding floor for this opportunity is $50,000 and the estimated funding ceiling is $500,000.

Funding Type