oversight

Agricultural Research: USDA's Outreach to Minority-Serving Institutions Could Improve Grant Competition

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-05-14.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to Congressional Requesters




May 2003
             AGRICULTURAL
             RESEARCH
             USDA’s Outreach to
             Minority-Serving
             Institutions Could
             Improve Grant
             Competition




GAO-03-541
                                               May 2003


                                               AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH

                                               USDA’s Outreach to Minority-Serving
Highlights of GAO-03-541, a report to          Institutions Could Improve Grant
Congressional Requesters
                                               Competition



The U.S. Department of Agriculture             In fiscal year 2001, minority-serving institutions competed more successfully
(USDA) awards more than                        for NRI funding than in prior years, as measured by the percentage of grant
$200 million annually to                       proposals awarded funding—30 percent of their proposals were awarded as
universities and colleges to support           compared with 13 percent in fiscal year 2000 and only 7 percent in fiscal year
its research, education, and                   1997. However, because minority-serving institutions submitted only 46 of
extension missions. USDA’s largest
grant program is the National
                                               the 2,579 NRI proposals, they received less than 2 percent of the NRI funding
Research Initiative (NRI). GAO was             in fiscal year 2001. Senior administrators at many of the 43 minority-serving
asked to examine the (1) success of            institutions told us that they submit few, if any, proposals because their
minority-serving institutions in               institutions’ limited resources place them at a disadvantage in competing
competing for NRI research grants,             with the major land grant universities.
(2) factors that could improve their
success in competing for these                 The minority-serving institutions and three major land grant universities
grants, and (3) actions USDA has               generally told us that the key to success in competing for NRI grants is
taken to improve the quantity and              making a commitment to research by improving an institution’s research
quality of grant proposals these               faculty, equipment, and facilities. Although 35 of the 43 minority-serving
institutions submit. GAO                       institutions said they have made a commitment to performing research,
interviewed senior administrators
at 43 minority-serving institutions
                                               only 4 institutions believe they have the resources needed to compete with
that had either applied for an NRI             the major land grant universities. Several institutions cited the need, for
grant between fiscal years 1997 and            example, to hire faculty members primarily interested in research. The major
2001 or received more than                     land grant universities in Montana, Maine, and Vermont said attracting top
$100,000 from USDA for research,               faculty to perform research and encouraging faculty to submit numerous
three major land grant universities,           grant proposals were important factors in their recent competitive success.
and cognizant USDA officials.                  Two of these universities also used their own funds to support research.

                                               USDA has several initiatives designed to help universities improve the
To encourage minority-serving                  quantity and quality of grant proposals, but these efforts have not
institutions to submit more NRI                substantially benefited many of the minority-serving institutions we
grant proposals, GAO recommends                contacted. Specifically, upon request, USDA offers on-site reviews to
that USDA improve its outreach by              improve a university’s research capabilities, grant writing workshops, and
tailoring on-site reviews to address           communication with USDA officials about the competitive grant programs.
strategies for becoming more                   However, senior administrators at most of the minority-serving institutions
competitive. In response to                    told us that USDA’s outreach efforts do not address their particular need to
USDA’s comments on GAO’s draft                 understand how to build a competitive research program that will enable
recommendation about the cost of               them to generate more NRI grant proposals and receive more funding.
implementing a new outreach
effort, GAO revised its
recommendation to clarify that                 NRI Grants Awarded to Minority-Serving and All Institutions, Fiscal Years 2000 and 2001
USDA could use on-going outreach
programs to address strategies for              Dollars in thousands
building competitive research                                                                2000                             2001
programs.                                       NRI grants                     Minority serving         All    Minority serving           All
                                                Proposals submitted                         46       2,746                   46      2,579
                                                Proposals awarded                             6        683                   14          595
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-541.
                                                Percent awarded                            13.0       24.9                 30.4          23.1
To view the full report, including the scope    Funds awarded                             $529    $109,927               $1,751   $97,986
and methodology, click on the link above.
                                               Source: USDA.
For more information, contact Robin M.
Nazzaro at (202) 512-3841 or
nazzaror@gao.gov.
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Results in Brief                                                           2
               Background                                                                 3
               Minority-Serving Institutions Have Improved their Success Rate in
                  Receiving NRI Grants, but They Have Submitted Few Proposals             7
               Many Minority-Serving Institutions Said They Need to Attract Top
                  Faculty to Perform Research                                           10
               Institutions Interested in Strengthening Research Said USDA’s
                  Outreach Efforts Have Not Met Their Needs                             13
               Conclusions                                                              15
               Recommendations for Executive Action                                     16
               Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                       16
               Scope and Methodology                                                    16

Appendix I     The 43 Minority-Serving Institutions We Contacted                        19



Appendix II    USDA’s Formula Funds for Land Grant Institutions,
               Fiscal Year 2001                                                         21



Appendix III   USDA’s 23 Competitive Grant Programs for Its
               Research, Education, and Extension Missions                              24



Appendix IV    NRI Proposals and Grant Awards for Minority-
               Serving Institutions, Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001                     27



Appendix V     NRI Results of Certain Minority-Serving
               Institutions and Three Comparably Sized
               Universities, Fiscal Years 2000-01                                       30



Appendix VI    Comments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture                         31




               Page i                                      GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
Tables
         Table 1: Highest Degree Offered by the Minority-Serving
                  Institutions Contacted                                                           5
         Table 2: Funding Provided by USDA’s Competitive Grant Programs
                  That Are Specifically Designated for Minority-Serving
                  Institutions, Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001                                     6
         Table 3: The Success of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) in
                  Competing for NRI Grants, Compared with All Institutions,
                  Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001                                                   8
         Table 4: The Success of New Mexico State University (NMSU) in
                  Competing for NRI Grants, Compared with Other Minority-
                  Serving Institutions, Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001                             9




         Abbreviations

         A&M          Agricultural and Mechanical
         A&T          Agricultural and Technical
         MSI          minority-serving institutions
         NMSU         New Mexico State University
         NRI          National Research Initiative
         USDA         U.S. Department of Agriculture




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         Page ii                                                GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   May 14, 2003

                                   The Honorable Robert W. Goodlatte
                                   Chairman
                                   The Honorable Charles W. Stenholm
                                   Ranking Minority Member
                                   Committee on Agriculture
                                   House of Representatives

                                   The Honorable Larry Combest
                                   House of Representatives

                                   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awards more than $200
                                   million annually in competitive grants to universities and colleges to
                                   support its research, education, and extension missions. These funds are
                                   awarded primarily to higher education institutions that teach agricultural
                                   sciences, including (1) the major land grant universities that were
                                   established through federal grants of public lands beginning in 1862,
                                   (2) historically black land grant universities, (3) Native American land
                                   grant colleges, and (4) certain universities and colleges serving Hispanic
                                   students. USDA’s largest competitive grant program—the National
                                   Research Initiative (NRI)—provided $96 million in grants in fiscal year
                                   2001 to support basic and applied research in such areas as sustainable
                                   agriculture, plant and animal gene studies, and food safety. USDA awards
                                   the remaining funds through 22 other grant programs, including 5
                                   programs specifically designed to support research, education, or
                                   extension activities at institutions that serve minorities.

                                   Some minority-serving institutions have expressed concern that they
                                   cannot effectively compete for NRI research grants. Specifically, they said
                                   that minority-serving institutions have fewer research resources, including
                                   faculty, equipment, and facilities, and that USDA has not provided the
                                   outreach assistance that these institutions need in order to compete.

                                   As requested, we assessed the participation of minority-serving
                                   institutions in the NRI grant program. Specifically, we examined the
                                   (1) success of these institutions in competing for NRI research grants,
                                   (2) factors that could improve their success in competing for these grants,
                                   and (3) actions USDA has taken to improve the quantity and quality of the
                                   grant proposals that these institutions submit.



                                   Page 1                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                   To assess the success of minority-serving institutions in competing for NRI
                   research grants, we obtained NRI grant award data for fiscal years 1997
                   through 2001. Because New Mexico State University is both a major land
                   grant university and a Hispanic-serving institution, we have included its
                   data in the minority-serving institution totals, but we have also reported its
                   data separately. To examine the factors that could improve the success of
                   minority-serving institutions, we interviewed senior administrators at all of
                   the 18 historically black land grant institutions, 5 Native American land
                   grant institutions, and 20 Hispanic-serving institutions. (See app. I.) These
                   43 institutions included all of the minority-serving institutions that had
                   either (1) applied for at least one NRI grant during fiscal years 1997
                   through 2001 or (2) received more than $100,000 from USDA for research-
                   related activities during fiscal year 2000. Nineteen of these institutions
                   offer a doctoral degree, and 24 institutions offer lesser degrees. We also
                   interviewed senior administrators at three of the major land grant
                   universities—Montana State University at Bozeman, the University of
                   Maine, and the University of Vermont. These universities are comparable
                   in size to many of the minority-serving institutions that offer doctoral
                   degrees and have successfully competed for NRI grants in recent years. To
                   evaluate USDA’s actions to improve the quantity and quality of grant
                   proposals submitted by minority-serving institutions, we interviewed
                   USDA officials and senior administrators at each of the 43 minority-serving
                   institutions that we contacted about USDA’s outreach efforts.


                   In fiscal year 2001, minority-serving institutions competed more
Results in Brief   successfully for NRI funding than in prior years, as measured by the
                   percentage of grant proposals awarded funding—30 percent of their
                   proposals were awarded as compared with 13 percent in fiscal year 2000
                   and only 7 percent in fiscal year 1997. However, because minority-serving
                   institutions submitted few NRI grant proposals—only 46 (or 1.8 percent)
                   of the 2,579 NRI proposals in fiscal year 2001—they received less than 2
                   percent of the NRI funds. Senior administrators at many of the minority-
                   serving institutions told us that they submit few, if any, proposals because
                   their institutions’ limited resources place them at a disadvantage in
                   competing with the major land grant universities.

                   The minority-serving institutions and the three major land grant
                   universities generally told us that the key to success in competing for NRI
                   grants is making a commitment to research by improving an institution’s
                   research faculty, equipment, and facilities. Although 35 of the 43 minority-
                   serving institutions said they have made a commitment to performing
                   research, only 4 institutions believe they have the resources needed to


                   Page 2                                         GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
             compete with the major land grant universities. Several institutions cited
             the need, for example, to hire faculty members interested primarily in
             research in order to receive highly competitive NRI grant funding. In
             addition, many of the minority-serving institutions do not offer doctoral
             degrees and generally require faculty members to devote most of their
             time to teaching. Administrators at major land grant universities in
             Montana, Maine, and Vermont cited the importance of attracting top
             faculty to perform research and encouraging faculty to submit numerous
             grant proposals for their recent competitive success. Two of these
             universities also used their own funds to support research.

             USDA has several initiatives designed to help universities improve the
             quantity and quality of grant proposals, but these efforts have not
             substantially benefited many of the minority-serving institutions we
             contacted. Specifically, upon request, USDA offers universities on-site
             reviews to improve a university’s research capabilities, workshops on how
             to write grant proposals, and opportunities to communicate with USDA
             officials responsible for the competitive grant programs. However,
             according to senior administrators at most of the minority-serving
             institutions we contacted, these outreach efforts do not address their
             particular need to understand how to build a competitive research
             program that will enable them to generate more NRI grant proposals and
             receive more funding. Specifically, only four minority-serving institutions
             were among the 41 universities that requested one or more on-site reviews
             during the past 3 years. Many minority-serving institutions also told us that
             communications with USDA were limited and needed to be strengthened.

             To encourage minority-serving institutions that offer a doctoral degree to
             submit more NRI grant proposals, we are recommending that the
             Secretary of Agriculture direct the department to improve its outreach to
             these universities by tailoring its on-site reviews of research facilities to
             address strategies for becoming more competitive in research and by
             fostering direct contact between USDA and these universities.


             USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service is
Background   responsible for fulfilling the department’s research, education, and
             extension missions. To achieve these missions, USDA has developed
             partnerships with agricultural universities dating back to the First Morrill
             Act in 1862,1 which gave the states public lands for use in establishing


             1
             Act of July 2, 1862, ch. CXXX.



             Page 3                                          GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
colleges to teach agriculture and the mechanical arts. Today, the 50 states,
the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and five U.S. territories have major
land grant universities that were established under that act. In addition,
USDA supports agricultural research, education, and extension at colleges
and universities that serve three minority populations. First, under the
Second Morrill Act in 1890,2 16 southern and border states established
separate agricultural colleges for black students. These institutions, plus
Tuskegee University and West Virginia State College, are designated as
historically black land grant universities (also known as the 1890
institutions). Second, the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of
1994,3 and subsequent amendments,4 gave land grant status to 31 Native
American land grant institutions (known as the 1994 institutions). Last, the
Department of Education considers universities and colleges to be
Hispanic-serving institutions if (1) Hispanics constitute at least 25 percent
of the student population and (2) the family income of at least 50 percent
of the Hispanic students is below 150 percent of the poverty level, as
determined by the U.S. Census Bureau. New Mexico State University and
the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez are major land grant
universities established under the First Morrill Act in 1862 and also
Hispanic-serving institutions.

The 43 minority-serving institutions that we contacted offer diverse
programs in higher education. As shown in table 1, half of the historically
black land grant universities and the Hispanic-serving institutions we
contacted offer a doctoral degree. In contrast, the highest degree offered
by the five Native American land grant institutions we contacted is either
an associate degree or a baccalaureate. In addition, while the historically
black land grant universities and the Native American land grant
institutions have been legislatively designated as agricultural universities
and colleges, only 4 of the 20 Hispanic-serving institutions we contacted
have a school of agriculture—California State University at Fresno, New
Mexico State University, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and
Texas A&M University at Kingsville. Furthermore, two Hispanic-serving
institutions were among the top 70 universities to receive federal research
and development funding in fiscal year 2000,5 and three historically black


2
Act of Aug. 30, 1890, ch. 841.
3
Pub. L. No. 103-382, Title V, Part C, §§ 532, 533.
4
Pub. L. No. 105-185, § 251(a) (1998); P.L. No. 107-171, § 7201(d) (2002).
5
These are the University of Miami and the University of New Mexico.




Page 4                                                   GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                                        land grant universities and five additional Hispanic-serving institutions
                                                        were among the top 200 universities to receive federal research and
                                                        development funding in fiscal year 2000.

Table 1: Highest Degree Offered by the Minority-Serving Institutions Contacted

                                            Historically black land grant                   Hispanic-serving       Native American land grant
 Highest degree offered                                      institutions                        institutions                     institutions Total
 Associatea                                                             0                                   0                                3     3
 Baccalaureate                                                          1                                   0                                2     3
 Master’s                                                               8                                  10                                0   18
 Doctorate                                                              9                                  10                                0   19
 Total                                                                 18                                  20                                5   43
Source: USDA and the Department of Education.
                                                        a
                                                         Associate degrees typically are offered by community colleges and junior colleges for completion of a
                                                        2-year program.


                                                        USDA supports research, education, and extension activities at
                                                        universities and colleges each year primarily through a fixed allocation of
                                                        funding to land grant institutions, known as “formula” funds, and through
                                                        various competitive grant programs. In fiscal year 2001, formula funding
                                                        constituted 73 percent and competitive grants constituted 27 percent of
                                                        USDA’s funding to universities and colleges.

                                                        USDA allocates formula funds to land grant universities and colleges on
                                                        the basis of legislatively established criteria. For example, formula funds
                                                        for research are allocated using U.S. Census Bureau data on each state’s
                                                        farms, rural population, and rural poverty. In fiscal year 2001, USDA
                                                        provided $579 million in formula funding that included from $1 million to
                                                        $5.5 million to each historically black land grant institution, $20,000 to
                                                        $107,000 to each Native American land grant institution, and $1.2 million
                                                        to $23.2 million to each major land grant university. (See app. II.) The
                                                        Hatch Act of 1887 authorized formula funding for the major land grant
                                                        universities for agricultural research.6 More recently, the National
                                                        Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977
                                                        extended formula funding to the historically black land grant institutions,7




                                                        6
                                                            Act of Mar. 2, 1887, ch. 314.
                                                        7
                                                            Pub. L. No. 95-113, § 1445.



                                                        Page 5                                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                              and the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994 authorized
                                              formula funding for the Native American land grant institutions.8

                                              USDA also supports its research, education, and extension missions by
                                              awarding more than $200 million annually to universities and colleges
                                              through 23 competitive grant programs. (See app. III.) Most of these
                                              programs provide small amounts of funding—less than $5 million
                                              annually—to support specific program goals. Table 2 shows that funding
                                              for the five grant programs specifically designated to support minority-
                                              serving institutions increased from $11.7 million to $17.9 million during the
                                              5-year period.

Table 2: Funding Provided by USDA’s Competitive Grant Programs That Are Specifically Designated for Minority-Serving
Institutions, Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001

 Dollars in millions
                                                                              1997          1998          1999        2000        2001
 Program                              Eligibility                           awards        awards        awards      awards      awards
 1890 institution capacity building   Any historically black land
 grants program                       grant institution                         $8.8          $8.8        $8.7         $8.7         $8.9
 Hispanic-serving institutions        Any Hispanic-serving
 education grants program             institution                                1.4            2.4         2.7         2.7          3.3
 Tribal colleges extension            Any Native American (1994)
 program                              land grant institution                       0                0        0          2.9          3.1
 Tribal colleges education equity     Any Native American (1994)
 grants program                       land grant institution                     1.5            1.5         1.6         1.6          1.5
 1994 institution research            Any Native American (1994)
 program                              land grant institution                      0              0           0          0.5         0.9
 Total                                                                        $11.7          $12.6       $13.0        $16.5       $17.9
Source: USDA.

                                              Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.


                                              NRI is USDA’s largest competitive grant program. Since 1991, USDA has
                                              awarded NRI grants through a competitive peer review process for
                                              selecting the best research proposals based on scientific merit,
                                              investigator qualifications, and relevance of the proposed research to U.S.
                                              agriculture. The purpose of NRI grants is to fund high-priority research
                                              directed at increasing the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture; improving
                                              human health and well-being through an abundant, safe, and high-quality
                                              food supply; and sustaining the quality and productivity of the natural
                                              resources upon which agriculture depends. NRI grants fund both


                                              8
                                               Pub. L. No. 103-382, Title V, Part C, §§ 532, 533.




                                              Page 6                                                    GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                        fundamental research—the quest for new knowledge about agriculturally
                        important organisms, processes, systems, or products—and mission-
                        linked research, which targets specific problems, needs, or opportunities.
                        USDA uses at least 10 percent of the NRI funding primarily to support
                        (1) postdoctoral fellowships, (2) research by new investigators, and
                        (3) strengthening awards of up to $75,000 for scientists at small and mid-
                        sized institutions with limited institutional success in winning NRI awards
                        or in states included in USDA’s Experimental Program for Stimulating
                        Competitive Research.9

                        USDA provides outreach on its competitive grant programs to interested
                        universities through national program leaders. For NRI, each national
                        program leader performs outreach to interested universities and colleges
                        by, for example, presenting information about the grants at professional
                        and scientific meetings, notifying universities about grant program
                        activities and deadlines for submitting proposals, organizing and
                        presenting grant workshops, and responding to the questions of university
                        administrators and scientists. In comparison, a single USDA national
                        program leader is primarily responsible for performing outreach for three
                        smaller competitive grant programs specifically designated for the 31
                        Native American land grant institutions.


                        As shown in table 3, the grant proposals submitted by minority-serving
Minority-Serving        institutions have fared better in the NRI peer review process in fiscal year
Institutions Have       2001 than in the past—their success rate in receiving funding grew from 7
                        percent of the proposals submitted in fiscal year 1997 to 13 percent in
Improved their          fiscal year 2000 to 30 percent in fiscal year 2001. In fiscal year 2001, USDA
Success Rate in         awarded 14 NRI grants to minority-serving institutions—more than twice
                        as many grant awards as these institutions had received in prior years.
Receiving NRI Grants,   However, minority-serving institutions generally submit less than 2
but They Have           percent of the more than 2,500 research proposals for NRI grant funding
Submitted Few           that USDA receives each year from universities and colleges—proposals
                        submitted by minority-serving institutions dropped from 81 in fiscal year
Proposals               1997 to less than 50 in subsequent fiscal years. Specifically, in fiscal year
                        2001, 18 minority-serving institutions were among more than 250
                        institutions that submitted proposals for NRI funding, with the major


                        9
                         This program is a partnership between USDA and states designed to encourage states’
                        investment in science and technology. A state is eligible to participate in the program if the
                        3-year average of its NRI funding is no higher than the 40th percentile of NRI funding for all
                        states.




                        Page 7                                                   GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                                            (1862) land grant universities accounting for almost two-thirds of the
                                                            proposals submitted. While NRI funding for minority-serving institutions
                                                            grew from $264,000 in fiscal year 1997 to $595,000 in fiscal year 1999 to
                                                            $1.8 million in fiscal year 2001, the funds awarded in fiscal year 2001
                                                            constituted only 1.8 percent of the total NRI funds awarded.

Table 3: The Success of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) in Competing for NRI Grants, Compared with All Institutions,
Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001

 Dollars in thousands
                                             1997                     1998                   1999                  2000                2001
 NRI grants                          MSI            Total      MSI           Total   MSI            Total   MSI           Total      MSI    Total
 Proposals
 submitted                             81           2,837        47          2,610     49           2,724     46          2,746        46     2,579
 Percent of total
 proposals submitted                  2.9            100        1.8           100     1.8            100     1.7           100        1.8       100
 Proposals awarded                      6            736          6           712       6            703       6           681         14       595
 Percent of
 proposals that were
 awarded                              7.4            25.9      12.8           27.3   12.2            25.8   13.0           24.9      30.4       23.1
 Percent of total
 awards                                0.8         100          0.8         100        0.9         100       0.9          100         2.4       100
 Funds awarded                       $264      $88,270        $491      $89,089      $595     $113,392      $529     $109,927      $1,751   $97,986
 Percent of total
 funds awarded                        0.3            100        0.6           100     0.5            100     0.5           100       1.8        100
 Average award                        $44           $120        $82          $125     $99           $161     $88          $161      $125       $165
Source: GAO analysis of USDA data.



                                                            The performance of minority-serving institutions in competing for NRI
                                                            grants is heavily influenced by New Mexico State University, which is both
                                                            a major land grant university and a Hispanic-serving institution. Among the
                                                            minority-serving institutions, New Mexico State University generally
                                                            submitted the most NRI grant proposals and received the most grants each
                                                            year from fiscal year 1997 through fiscal year 2001—no other minority-
                                                            serving institution was awarded more than three NRI grants during this 5-
                                                            year period. (See app. IV.) Table 4 shows that in fiscal year 2001, New
                                                            Mexico State University submitted 33 percent of the grant proposals and
                                                            received 50 percent of the grant awards and 34 percent of the grant
                                                            funding among minority-serving institutions. More specifically, NRI
                                                            awarded funding to 7 of New Mexico State University’s 15 grant proposals,
                                                            for a 47-percent success rate. In comparison, NRI awarded funding to 7 of
                                                            the 31 proposals submitted by all other minority-serving institutions, a 23-
                                                            percent success rate.




                                                            Page 8                                                  GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
Table 4: The Success of New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Competing for NRI Grants, Compared with Other Minority-
Serving Institutions, Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001

 Dollars in thousands
                                         1997               1998               1999              2000               2001
 NRI grants                          NMSU    Others     NMSU    Others     NMSU    Others     NMSU Others        NMSU Others
 Proposals submitted                   12        69        4        43        6        43       11     35          15     31
 Percent of total
 proposals submitted                  14.8     85.2          8.5    91.5    12.2      87.8      23.9    76.1       32.6      67.4
 Proposals awarded                       2        4            1       5       2         4         3       3          7         7
 Percent of proposals
 that were awarded                    16.7        5.8       25.0    11.6    33.3       9.3      27.3      8.6      46.7      22.6
 Percent of total
 awards                               33.3      66.7         16.7   83.3     33.3    66.7        50       50        50        50
 Funds awarded                         $21     $243         $149    $342    $300     $295      $260     $269      $592    $1,159
 Percent of total funds
 awarded                               8.0     92.0          30.3   69.7    50.4      49.6      49.1    50.9       33.8       66.2
 Average award                         $11      $61         $149     $68    $150       $74       $87     $90        $85      $166
Source: GAO analysis of USDA data.

                                                   Senior administrators we interviewed at the 43 minority-serving
                                                   institutions cited several reasons for not submitting proposals for NRI
                                                   research grants:

                                              •    The 24 institutions that do not offer a doctoral degree generally require
                                                   that faculty members devote at least 70 percent of their time to classroom
                                                   teaching, leaving little time for research.
                                              •    Seventeen minority-serving institutions have submitted few, if any,
                                                   proposals because they do not have the faculty, equipment, and facilities
                                                   to compete effectively outside their own types of institutions. For
                                                   example, administrators at five historically black land grant institutions
                                                   told us that while they generally cannot compete successfully for NRI
                                                   grants, they are successful when competing for funding limited to only the
                                                   historically black land grant institutions, such as the 1890 Institution
                                                   Capacity Building Grants Program.
                                              •    Faculty members at several institutions have stopped preparing NRI grant
                                                   proposals because previous proposals were not funded and feedback from
                                                   the peer review process was discouraging.
                                              •    Many scientists at historically black land grant institutions conduct
                                                   research on topics that are important to minority farmers in the region
                                                   around their universities, but may not have the broader applicability that
                                                   USDA seeks to fund through NRI.
                                              •    Several Hispanic-serving institutions that do not have a school of
                                                   agriculture receive insufficient information about USDA’s research
                                                   priorities and the NRI competitions.




                                                   Page 9                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                The minority-serving institutions and the three major land grant
Many Minority-                  universities we contacted told us that to improve its success in competing
Serving Institutions            for NRI grants, a university needs to make a commitment to research by
                                improving research faculty, equipment, and facilities. Senior
Said They Need to               administrators at 35 minority-serving institutions told us that their
Attract Top Faculty to          institutions had either made a commitment to performing research or were
                                in the process of making this commitment. However, administrators at
Perform Research                only 4 of these institutions believe they have the resources—faculty,
                                equipment, and facilities—needed to compete with the major land grant
                                universities for NRI grants. Minority-serving institutions might increase the
                                number of NRI grant awards they receive if they follow the approach
                                taken by three major land grant universities that have become more
                                competitive in recent years. These universities—Montana State University
                                at Bozeman, the University of Maine, and the University of Vermont—
                                believe that to become competitive, a university must attract top faculty
                                members interested in conducting advanced research. Two of the
                                universities supported research with their own funds, which enabled
                                faculty members to submit sufficient numbers of high-quality grant
                                proposals to build a record of long-term commitment to a particular
                                research area.


Many of the Minority-           Overall, 35 of the 43 minority-serving institutions told us that they had
Serving Institutions That       made, or were in the process of making, the commitment to a research
Offer Doctorates Need to        program. However, only 19 of the 43 institutions offer a doctoral degree, a
                                key component of a competitive research program. Competitive research
Upgrade Their Resources         programs need faculty members recognized for publishing in the scientific
to Better Compete for NRI       literature to attract doctoral students and post-doctoral scientists—
Grants                          important members of a research team. These 19 universities provided the
                                following comments:

                            •   Five of the nine historically black land grant universities that offer
                                doctoral degrees said they need to give more emphasis to hiring scientists
                                who conduct the advanced research needed to compete for NRI research
                                grants. Several senior administrators also said their universities need to
                                improve their research infrastructure, encourage faculty to devote more
                                time to preparing proposals and performing research, and develop a
                                source of university funds to support research. Only Tuskegee University
                                stated that it faced no institutional barriers in competing for USDA grants.
                            •   The 10 Hispanic-serving institutions that offer doctoral degrees identified
                                different concerns. Because six of these universities do not have a school
                                of agriculture, several administrators cited the need to better understand
                                USDA’s grant programs and the fields of research being funded. Some



                                Page 10                                       GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                              Hispanic-serving institutions also said they need to increase the number of
                              faculty members conducting research and improve their skills, allocate
                              more faculty time for research, and improve the quality of proposals. The
                              University of Miami and the University of Texas at El Paso said that they
                              faced no institutional barriers in competing for USDA grants.

                              Even though the 24 minority-serving institutions that do not offer a
                              doctoral degree were interested in obtaining federal funds for research,
                              many stated that they could not compete successfully with major land
                              grant universities for NRI grants because their institutions (1) expected
                              faculty to give priority to classroom teaching and, as a result, few faculty
                              members had the time or experience needed to lead research projects and
                              (2) did not have the necessary research equipment and facilities.
                              Administrators at several of these institutions said that they would need to
                              gain experience in research and partner with larger universities.10 Only
                              California State University at Bakersfield said that it faced no institutional
                              barriers when competing for USDA grants.


Three Universities            During the 1990s, each of the three major land grant universities we
Improved Their Success by     contacted made a conscious effort to become competitive for research
Giving Priority to Research   grants because they had found that formula funding was no longer
                              sufficient to support their research efforts. According to senior
                              administrators, each university explicitly told its faculty members in
                              science areas that they needed to be competitive in obtaining grant
                              funding to have a successful career and each university provided
                              incentives and assistance to encourage faculty members to prepare grant
                              proposals and conduct research. In addition, both Montana State
                              University at Bozeman and the University of Vermont provided an initial
                              investment of university funds in order to foster the development of a
                              viable research program and encouraged faculty members to submit
                              competitive grant proposals. Specifically, the three universities identified
                              the following reasons for their success in competing for research grants:

                          •   Senior administrators at Montana State University at Bozeman believe that
                              their faculty members are critical to winning grants. In 1992, Montana
                              State began using federal agencies’ reimbursements of its indirect


                              10
                                Several institutions also cited the matching fund requirement of some of USDA’s grant
                              programs as a constraint because they did not have a ready source of funding, such as state
                              funding or an endowment, to provide the necessary match. NRI’s only matching fund
                              requirement is for equipment costing more than $25,000.




                              Page 11                                                GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
    (administrative and facilities) research costs to provide the competitive
    salaries and start-up packages needed to attract top faculty. The university
    has provided funding directly to the faculty and the department
    performing research for purchasing more equipment and making
    renovations and has established a process that reviews each proposal to
    ensure that the university has the space and equipment to perform the
    research. The administrators believe that good ideas are funded,
    regardless of the university that submits the proposal, and that good
    science, coupled with adequate facilities for conducting the research, will
    result in grant funding.
•   Similarly, a senior administrator at the University of Vermont cited two
    key factors to the university’s success in competing for NRI grants in
    recent years. First, Vermont is dedicated to hiring top faculty and
    providing an environment for their success. Second, beginning about 1996,
    Vermont set up an internal grant program that uses formula funds from
    USDA and the state. The university replicated the NRI peer review process
    by requiring that faculty members submit proposals for 3-year grants and
    using outside reviewers to assess the technical merits of each proposal.
    This program has helped faculty to become more competitive in their
    disciplines and more successful in competing for NRI grants.
•   Senior administrators at the University of Maine said that beginning about
    1996, they made it clear in hiring interviews that new faculty members are
    expected to obtain grants and perform research as part of their
    responsibilities. Current faculty members are told that they cannot get
    tenure at the university without obtaining grants and performing research.
    The university has also implemented a mentoring program in which
    successful grant writers help other faculty members with their proposals.
    The administrators encourage the faculty to contact federal agencies to
    gain assistance with their ideas and their proposals. The University of
    Maine, through efforts of the faculty, obtained necessary funds from the
    state government to help buy the equipment and build the facilities needed
    for research.

    Appendix V compares the NRI grant award success rates of the 19
    minority-serving universities that offer doctoral degrees with the success
    rates of the 3 major land grant universities for fiscal years 2000 and 2001.
    In each year, the 3 major land grant universities submitted about twice as
    many proposals as the 19 minority-serving universities. While a higher
    percentage of the minority-serving universities’ proposals were awarded
    funding in fiscal year 2001, the three major land grant universities received
    more NRI grant awards and more funding.




    Page 12                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                          Most of the 43 minority-serving institutions told us that they were aware of
Institutions Interested   USDA’s efforts to provide outreach to universities and colleges through
in Strengthening          (1) on-site reviews to improve a university’s research capabilities;11
                          (2) workshops on how to write grant proposals; and (3) opportunities to
Research Said USDA’s      communicate with national program leaders responsible for USDA’s
Outreach Efforts          competitive grant programs, including one-on-one sessions to explain
                          USDA’s peer review process. Several of the institutions we contacted
Have Not Met Their        stated that the outreach had improved their understanding of the NRI
Needs                     program and how to compete more effectively for USDA’s grants. For
                          example, two historically black land grant universities and the University
                          of Maine told us that USDA’s on-site review of their research capabilities
                          was extremely useful and that they had implemented several of the panel’s
                          recommendations. Similarly, five historically black land grant universities
                          that offer a doctoral degree told us that USDA’s national program leaders
                          had provided useful information that improved the quality of their
                          proposals, enabling them to better compete for NRI grants.

                          However, most of the minority-serving institutions we contacted stated
                          that USDA’s outreach programs have not addressed their particular need
                          to understand how to build a competitive research program that will
                          enable them to generate more NRI grant proposals and receive more
                          funding. Minority-serving institutions also have not routinely used USDA’s
                          outreach programs. For example, only four minority serving institutions—
                          New Mexico State University, North Carolina A&T State University, South
                          Carolina State University, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff—
                          were among the 41 universities that requested one or more on-site reviews
                          during the past 3 years. In addition, a Florida A&M University
                          administrator told us that USDA’s grant writing workshops offer little to
                          scientists and universities that have successfully competed in other USDA
                          grant programs because the workshops are aimed at faculty with limited
                          competitive experience and universities without an established research
                          program. Alternatively, administrators at Lincoln University and Salish
                          Kootenai College believe USDA’s grant writing workshops would be
                          extremely helpful because they have not submitted an NRI grant proposal
                          recently. However, their institutions do not have sufficient travel funds to
                          send faculty members to the workshops, which typically are offered in
                          cities that serve an entire region.



                          11
                           The on-site reviews are performed in response to a request by a land grant university.
                          Typically, a panel of four USDA and outside university experts conduct the review of an
                          agricultural department or program over a 3- to 5-day period.




                          Page 13                                                GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
    While the three major land grant universities we contacted stated that
    repeated contact with USDA’s national program leaders had been critical
    to building a successful competitive research grant program at their
    universities, several minority-serving institutions said that their
    communications with USDA have been ineffective. For example, senior
    administrators at six Hispanic-serving institutions that offer a doctoral
    degree told us that USDA either had not contacted them directly or had
    done so only through e-mail announcements of grant opportunities.
    Similarly, three of the nine historically black land grant universities that
    offer doctoral degrees stated that their communications with USDA have
    been limited and need to be strengthened. In addition, 12 of the 24
    minority-serving institutions that do not offer a doctoral degree generally
    had minimal contact with USDA. Some had tried unsuccessfully to contact
    USDA personnel to discuss grant opportunities.

    Several senior administrators told us that USDA’s outreach efforts have
    not substantially benefited their institutions in the short term by helping
    them to compete successfully for NRI grant awards or in long term by
    helping them to build a competitive research program that would result in
    the submission of more NRI grant proposals. These administrators offered
    two suggestions for improving their institutions’ success in building their
    research programs:

•   Administrators at 12 institutions suggested that collaborating on research
    with faculty at major land grant institutions could help their institutions
    develop their research capabilities. They cited the importance of working
    in partnership with a larger university to compete more effectively for NRI
    grants, noting for example that about 40 percent of NRI funds in recent
    years have supported multidisciplinary research involving investigators in
    different fields collaborating to solve complex problems. In addition to
    sponsoring conferences that facilitate scientific exchanges, these
    administrators believe that USDA could do more to enhance collaborative
    opportunities, such as helping faculty at minority-serving institutions
    identify opportunities for collaborative research. However, they expressed
    concern about their ability to find partners with similar interests, the travel
    costs for faculty to attend national conferences, and the adequacy of the
    funding that their institutions would receive in a collaborative effort.
•   Administrators at 22 institutions suggested that they could best build a
    competitive research program if USDA were to (1) substantially increase
    the grant funding specifically designated for minority-serving institutions
    and (2) waive the matching fund requirements of certain grant programs,
    while maintaining formula funding levels. While USDA provides support to
    minority-serving institutions through five specifically designated grant



    Page 14                                         GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
              programs and formula funding, many administrators noted that their
              institutions do not compete on a level playing field for NRI research grants
              with major land grant universities because, unlike the major universities,
              they receive little state funding.


              Minority-serving institutions that offer a doctoral degree and that are
Conclusions   interested in becoming more competitive in receiving NRI grant funding
              have a major hurdle to overcome because they generally do not have the
              research faculty, equipment, and facilities needed to be competitive. While
              most of these institutions are committed to building their infrastructure,
              many have little institutional knowledge about the best approach for doing
              so. Montana State University at Bozeman, the University of Maine, and the
              University of Vermont have become more successful in competing for NRI
              grants because they have undergone a cultural change designed to build a
              long-term research program by, for example, emphasizing research in
              faculty hiring and promotion decisions.

              USDA’s outreach efforts have not led to a growing number of proposals
              from minority-serving institutions. For example, few minority-serving
              institutions have requested USDA’s on-site reviews of their research
              facilities, despite favorable comments from two minority-serving
              universities that have benefited from on-site reviews in recent years. In
              addition, several minority-serving institutions believe their
              communications with USDA are ineffective. Fostering outreach to
              minority-serving institutions and other land grant universities that
              generally have submitted few NRI proposals would also benefit USDA by
              enabling it to assess a greater number of advanced scientific research
              proposals in making its grant award decisions.




              Page 15                                       GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                         To encourage minority-serving and other universities that offer a doctoral
Recommendations for      degree to submit more NRI grant proposals, we recommend that the
Executive Action         Secretary of Agriculture direct the department to improve its outreach to
                         and communications with these universities. Among other things, the
                         department should:

                     •   Tailor its on-site reviews of research facilities to address strategies for
                         minority-serving institutions, as well as major land grant universities
                         participating in USDA’s Experimental Program for Stimulating
                         Competitive Research, to become more competitive in research. The
                         successes of the three comparable-size major land grant universities may
                         offer lessons for this effort.
                     •   Enhance its communications with minority-serving institutions and other
                         land grant institutions by fostering direct contact so that USDA has a
                         greater understanding of each institution’s capabilities and the institutions
                         have a greater understanding of USDA’s research priorities and needs.


                         We provided USDA with a draft of this report for its review and comment.
Agency Comments          USDA agreed with the report, stating that it is technically accurate and
and Our Evaluation       reasonably balanced. However, USDA disagreed with our
                         recommendation, stating that working closely with minority-serving
                         institutions to develop a cost-effective approach for building their research
                         programs would represent a conflict of interest. USDA said that it would
                         have to provide this service to all land grant institutions to be fair, but
                         added that it does not have sufficient staff and resources to do so. To
                         address USDA’s concerns, we have revised our recommendation by
                         linking it more directly to USDA’s existing outreach program that provides
                         on-site reviews of research facilities for any land grant institution and by
                         focusing on the need to enhance communication by fostering direct
                         contact between USDA and universities. (See app. VI for USDA’s written
                         comments and our response.)


                         To examine the success of minority-serving institutions in competing for
Scope and                USDA research grants, we obtained USDA data for fiscal years 1997
Methodology              through 2001 on all grant proposals and awards for each competitive grant
                         program with a research component. Grant awards data for fiscal year
                         2001 were the most current data available for our analysis. To the extent
                         possible, we resolved data discrepancies and omissions with USDA
                         personnel. However, in some instances, USDA’s data did not identify the
                         institution that was awarded grant funding, and USDA personnel could not
                         readily determine the university that received the funding.



                         Page 16                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
To examine factors that could improve the success of minority-serving
institutions in competing for NRI grants, we visited Texas A&M University
at Kingsville and Prairie View A&M University and conducted telephone
interviews with senior administrators responsible for research, education,
and extension grants at 41 other minority-serving institutions. Each of
these institutions had either applied for at least one NRI grant during fiscal
years 1997 through 2001 or received more than $100,000 from USDA
during fiscal year 2000, according to National Science Foundation data.12
They included all 18 of the historically black land grant institutions, 5 of 31
Native American land grant institutions, and 20 of the 219 universities and
colleges that the Department of Education has designated as Hispanic-
serving institutions.13 The senior administrator we interviewed at each
institution generally was the Dean of the School of Agriculture, the Vice
Provost for Research, or the Director of the Office of Sponsored Research.

In addition to the minority-serving institutions, we visited Montana State
University at Bozeman and conducted telephone interviews with senior
administrators at the University of Maine and the University of Vermont.
Each of these universities is a major (1862) land grant university that is
comparable in size to many of the minority-serving institutions that offer
doctoral degrees.14 Both Montana State University and the University of
Vermont participated in USDA’s Experimental Program for Stimulating
Competitive Research during fiscal year 2001. However, the state of
Montana no longer qualified in fiscal year 2002 because it exceeded the
threshold for NRI grant funding. Because all three universities had
progressed from receiving few NRI grants to being more successful, we
asked senior administrators to identify key factors that had led to their
improvement.

To assess USDA’s actions to improve the quantity and quality of grant
proposals, we interviewed cognizant USDA officials to identify USDA’s key
efforts to help the minority-serving institutions improve their
competitiveness. We then interviewed senior administrators at the



12
 See National Science Foundation/Division of Science Resources Statistics, Survey of
Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit
Institutions, Fiscal Year 2000.
13
  Hispanic-serving institutions’ eligibility can change based on student enrollment. We
excluded San Diego State University from our review because it currently does not meet
the criteria of a Hispanic-serving institution, according to senior university administrators.
14
 Student enrollment at the three universities ranged from about 8,900 to about 11,800.




Page 17                                                   GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
minority-serving institutions about the effectiveness of these outreach
efforts.

We conducted our review from September 2002 through April 2003 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.


As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 7 days after the
date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies to the Senate
Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; the Secretary of
Agriculture; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; and
other interested parties. We will also make copies available to others on
request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the GAO
Web site at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about the report, please contact me
at (202) 512-3841. Key contributors to this report were Richard Cheston,
Jeanne Barger, Curtis Groves, Brandon Haller, and Carol Herrnstadt
Shulman.




Robin M. Nazzaro
Director, Natural Resources
 and Environment




Page 18                                         GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                           Appendix I: The 43 Minority-Serving
Appendix I: The 43 Minority-Serving        Institutions We Contacted



Institutions We Contacted


                                                                                                           Highest degree
Institution                                                            Location              Enrollment    offered
Historically black land grant institutions
Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) Universitya                  Normal, AL                 5,849    Doctorate
Alcorn State University                                                Alcorn State, MS           3,096    Master’s
Delaware State University                                              Dover, DE                  3,343    Master’s
Florida A&M Universitya                                                Tallahassee, FL           12,316    Doctorate
Fort Valley State University                                           Fort Valley, GA            2,485    Master’s
Kentucky State University                                              Frankfort, KY              2,313    Master’s
Langston University                                                    Langston, OK               2,988    Master’s
Lincoln University                                                     Jefferson City, MO         3,332    Master’s
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University       Greensboro, NC             8,319    Doctorate
Prairie View A&M University                                            Prairie View, TX           6,747    Doctorate
South Carolina State University                                        Orangeburg, SC             4,467    Doctorate
Southern University and A&M College                                    Baton Rouge, LA            8,719    Doctorate
Tennessee State University                                             Nashville, TN              8,664    Doctorate
Tuskegee Universitya                                                   Tuskegee, AL               2,880    Doctorate
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff                                   Pine Bluff, AR             3,144    Master’s
University of Maryland – Eastern Shore                                 Princess Anne, MD          3,426    Doctorate
Virginia State University                                              Petersburg, VA             4,638    Master’s
West Virginia State College                                            Institute, WV              4,835    Baccalaureate
Hispanic-serving institutions
California State University at Bakersfield                             Bakersfield, CA            7,050    Master’s
California State University at Dominguez Hills                         Carson, CA                12,871    Master’s
California State University at Fresno                                  Fresno, CA                20,007    Doctorate
California State University at Fullerton                               Fullerton, CA             30,357    Master’s
California State University at Northridge                              Northridge, CA            31,448    Master’s
California State University at San Bernardino                          San Bernardino, CA        15,985    Master’s
City University of New York, City Collegea                             New York, NY              10,378    Master’s
City University of New York, Lehman College                            Bronx, NY                  8,889    Master’s
Florida International Universitya                                      Miami, FL                 31,727    Doctorate
New Mexico State Universitya                                           Las Cruces, NM            15,224    Doctorate
Occidental College                                                     Los Angeles, CA            1,796    Master’s
Texas A&M University at Kingsville                                     Kingsville, TX             6,148    Doctorate
Universidad Metropolitana                                              Cupey, PR                  7,094    Master’s
University of Miamia                                                   Coral Gables, FL          14,436    Doctorate
University of New Mexicoa                                              Albuquerque, NM           23,753    Doctorate
University of Puerto Rico at Mayagueza                                 Mayaguez, PR              12,244    Doctorate
University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campusa                    San Juan, PR               2,708    Doctorate
University of Texas at Brownsville                                     Brownsville, TX            9,373    Master’s
University of Texas at El Paso                                         El Paso, TX               16,220    Doctorate
University of Texas – Pan American                                     Edinburg, TX              13,640    Doctorate




                                           Page 19                                          GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                                Appendix I: The 43 Minority-Serving
                                                Institutions We Contacted




                                                                                                                                   Highest degree
 Institution                                                                     Location                        Enrollment        offered
 Native American land grant institutions
 Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College                                        Cloquet, MN                            1,023      Associate
                                                                                                                                         b
                                                                                                                                   degree
 Haskell Indian Nation University                                                Lawrence, KS                             967      Baccalaureate
 Lac Courte Orilles Ojibwa Community College                                     Hayward, WI                              516      Associate
                                                                                                                                         b
                                                                                                                                   degree
 Salish Kootenai College                                                         Pablo, MT                                976      Baccalaureate
 Turtle Mountain Community College                                               Belcourt, ND                             684      Associate
                                                                                                                                         b
                                                                                                                                   degree
Source: USDA and the Department of Education.

                                                Note: We excluded San Diego State University from our survey because senior university
                                                administrators told us that it does not meet the criteria of a Hispanic-serving institution.
                                                a
                                                 Among the top 200 universities and colleges to receive federal research and development funding in
                                                fiscal year 2000.
                                                b
                                                 An associate degree typically is offered by community colleges and junior colleges for completion of
                                                a 2-year program.




                                                Page 20                                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                        Appendix II: USDA’s Formula Funds for Land
Appendix II: USDA’s Formula Funds for Land
                                        Grant Institutions, Fiscal Year 2001



Grant Institutions, Fiscal Year 2001


Dollars in thousands
                                                               Formula funds for     Formula funds for              Total
Institution                                                            research             extension      formula funds
Historically black land grant institutions
Alabama A&M University                                                     $1,712              $1,394             $3,106
Alcorn State University                                                     1,722               1,371              3,093
Delaware State University                                                     577                 454              1,031
Florida A&M University                                                      1,297               1,185              2,482
Fort Valley State University                                                1,951               1,687              3,638
Kentucky State University                                                   2,279               2,134              4,413
Langston University                                                         1,427               1,260              2,687
Lincoln University                                                          2,185               2,114              4,299
North Carolina A&T State University                                         2,782               2,501              5,283
Prairie View A&M University                                                 2,869               2,610              5,479
South Carolina State University                                             1,492               1,223              2,715
Southern University and A&M College                                         1,371                   0              1,371
Tennessee State University                                                  2,121               1,892              4,013
Tuskegee University                                                         1,701               1,419              3,120
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff                                        1,503               1,257              2,760
University of Maryland–Eastern Shore                                        1,019                   0              1,019
Virginia State University                                                   1,827               1,600              3,427
West Virginia State College                                                   973                 998              1,971
Subtotal                                                                  $30,809             $25,098            $55,907
Native American land grant institutionsa
                                                                                                     b
Bay Mills Community College                                                    26                                     26
                                                                                                     b
Blackfeet Community College                                                    36                                     36
                                                                                                     b
Cankdeska Cikana Community College                                             24                                     24
                                                                                                     b
College of the Menominee Nation                                                25                                     25
                                                                                                     b
Crownpoint Institution of Technology                                           31                                     31
                                                                                                     b
D-Q University                                                                 20                                     20
                                                                                                     b
Dine College                                                                  107                                    107
                                                                                                     b
Dull Knife Memorial College                                                    25                                     25
                                                                                                     b
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College                                       24                                     24
                                                                                                     b
Fort Belknap College                                                           25                                     25
                                                                                                     b
Fort Berthold Community College                                                31                                     31
                                                                                                     b
Fort Peck Community College                                                    36                                     36
                                                                                                     b
Haskell Indian Nations University                                              79                                     79
                                                                                                     b
Institute of American Indian Arts                                              23                                     23
                                                                                                     b
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College                                   35                                     35
                                                                                                     b
Leech Lake Tribal College                                                      26                                     26
                                                                                                     b
Little Big Horn College                                                        29                                     29
                                                                                                     b
Little Priest Tribal College                                                   20                                     20
                                                                                                     b
Nebraska Indian Community College                                              23                                     23
                                                                                                     b
Northwest Indian College                                                       49                                     49




                                        Page 21                                          GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                            Appendix II: USDA’s Formula Funds for Land
                                            Grant Institutions, Fiscal Year 2001




Dollars in thousands
                                                                   Formula funds for     Formula funds for              Total
Institution                                                                research             extension      formula funds
                                                                                                         b
Oglala Lakota College                                                             72                                      72
                                                                                                         b
Salish Kootenai College                                                           68                                      68
                                                                                                         b
Sinte Gleska University                                                           58                                      58
                                                                                                         b
Si Tanka College                                                                  30                                      30
                                                                                                         b
Sisseton Wahpeton Community College                                               23                                      23
                                                                                                         b
Sitting Bull College                                                              26                                      26
                                                                                                         b
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute                                         68                                      68
                                                                                                         b
Stone Child College                                                               30                                      30
                                                                                                         b
Turtle Mountain Community College                                                 52                                      52
                                                                                                         b
United Tribes Technical College                                                   27                                      27
                                                                                                         b
Subtotal                                                                      $1,144                                  $1,144
Major land grant institutions
American Samoa Community College                                                  507                 645              1,152
Auburn University                                                               4,568               8,722             13,290
Clemson University                                                              3,806               7,331             11,137
Colorado State University                                                       3,030               3,448              6,478
College of Micronesia                                                             713                 968              1,681
                   d
Cornell University                                                              5,615              12,122             17,737
Iowa State Universityc                                                          6,376               9,913             16,289
Kansas State University                                                         3,551               6,183              9,734
                           c
Louisiana State University                                                      3,542               7,068             10,610
Michigan State University                                                       5,162               9,978             15,140
Mississippi State University                                                    4,610               8,576             13,186
Montana State University                                                        2,065               2,747              4,812
New Mexico State University                                                     1,837               2,610              4,447
North Carolina State University                                                 7,075              13,807             20,882
North Dakota State University                                                   2,435               3,608              6,043
Northern Marianas College                                                         661                 874              1,535
Ohio State Universityd                                                          6,107              11,533             17,640
Oklahoma State University                                                       3,456               6,261              9,717
Oregon State Universityc,e                                                      3,549               4,353              7,902
Pennsylvania State University                                                   6,451              11,754             18,205
Purdue University                                                               5,225               9,672             14,897
Rutgers University                                                              2,915               3,751              6,666
South Dakota State University                                                   2,558               3,783              6,341
Texas A&M University                                                            6,861              16,296             23,157
University of Alaska                                                            1,395               1,281              2,676
University of Arizona                                                           2,062               2,587              4,649
University of Arkansas                                                          3,967               6,998             10,965
University of California                                                        5,851              10,111             15,962
University of Connecticutf                                                      2,001               2,479              4,480
University of Delaware                                                          1,335               1,474              2,809




                                            Page 22                                          GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                              Appendix II: USDA’s Formula Funds for Land
                                              Grant Institutions, Fiscal Year 2001




 Dollars in thousands
                                                                             Formula funds for          Formula funds for                    Total
 Institution                                                                         research                  extension            formula funds
 University of Floridac                                                                  3,471                      6,684                  10,155
 University of Georgia                                                                   5,497                      9,852                  15,349
 University of Guam                                                                        859                        946                    1,805
 University of Hawaii                                                                    1,431                      1,564                    2,995
 University of Idaho                                                                     2,540                      3,032                    5,572
 University of Illinois                                                                  5,693                     11,061                  16,754
 University of Kentucky                                                                  5,276                     10,119                  15,395
 University of Maine                                                                     2,337                      2,555                    4,892
 University of Maryland                                                                  2,621                      5,009                    7,630
 University of Massachusetts                                                             2,395                      3,490                    5,885
                           c,f
 University of Minnesota                                                                 5,420                     10,548                  15,968
                        c
 University of Missouri                                                                  5,132                      9,499                  14,631
 University of Nebraska                                                                  3,494                      5,363                    8,857
 University of Nevada                                                                    1,264                      1,389                    2,653
 University of New Hampshire                                                             1,720                      1,828                    3,548
 University of Puerto Rico                                                               3,997                      7,623                  11,620
 University of Rhode Island                                                              1,260                      1,355                    2,615
 University of Tennessee                                                                 5,117                     10,853                  15,970
 University of the District of Columbia                                                    659                        998                    1,657
 University of the Virgin Islands                                                          853                        917                    1,770
 University of Vermont                                                                   1,711                      2,038                    3,749
 University of Wisconsin                                                                 5,489                      9,063                  14,552
 University of Wyoming                                                                   1,726                      1,699                    3,425
 Utah State University                                                                   1,943                      2,114                    4,057
 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University                                     4,630                      8,638                  13,268
                                c
 Washington State University                                                             3,957                      4,754                    8,711
 West Virginia University                                                                2,953                      4,822                    7,775
 Subtotal                                                                            $192,731                    $328,748               $521,478
 Total                                                                                $224,684                   $353,846               $578,530
Source: USDA.

                                              Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.
                                              a
                                               White Earth Tribal and Community College became a Native American land grant institution in fiscal
                                              year 2002.
                                              b
                                               Native American land grant institutions are not eligible to receive formula funds for extension
                                              activities.
                                              c
                                                  Includes formula funds for the Veterinary School.
                                              d
                                                  Includes formula funds for the Research Foundation and the Research and Development Center.
                                              e
                                                  Includes formula funds for the College of Forestry.
                                              f
                                                  Includes formula funds for the Experimental Station




                                              Page 23                                                         GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                             Appendix III: USDA’s 23 Competitive Grant
Appendix III: USDA’s 23 Competitive Grant    Programs for Its Research, Education, and
                                             Extension Missions


Programs for Its Research, Education, and
Extension Missions

Dollars in millions
                                                                                                                           Fiscal year
Program                     Purpose                                               Eligibility                             2001 awards
National Research           Conduct fundamental and mission-linked                Any state agricultural experiment             $95.8
Initiative                  scientific research that is of benefit to agriculture station, college, university, other
                                                                                  research institution or organization,
                                                                                  federal agency, private
                                                                                  organization, corporation, or
                                                                                  individual
Integrated research,        Provide grants for research, education, or            Any college or university                      $40.0
education, and extension extension in the agriculture-related fields of
competitive grants          (1) water quality, (2) food safety, (3) pesticide
                            impact assessment, (4) crops at risk from Food
                            Quality Protection Act implementation, (5) Food
                            Quality Protection Act risk mitigation program
                            for major food crop systems, (6) methyl bromide
                            transitions program, and (7) organic transition
                            program
Small Business              Support the research of businesses with fewer         Any small business as defined in               $14.5
Innovation Research         than 500 employees for developing                     the program description
Program                     agriculturally related products or services
1890 institution capacity   Build teaching and research capacity                  Any historically black land grant                $8.9
building grants program                                                           institution
Children, youth, and        Develop and deliver educational programs that         Any Cooperative Extension Service                $7.8
families at risk initiative equip (1) limited resource families and (2) youth at a major (1862) land grant
                            who are at risk for not meeting basic human           institution
                            needs to lead positive, productive, and
                            contributing lives
Agricultural Risk           Provide education to agricultural producers           Any public or private entity,                    $4.8
Protection Act of 2000:     about the full range of risk management               including land grant colleges,
education and risk          activities, including futures, agricultural trade     cooperative extension services, and
management assistance options, crop insurance, cash forward                       colleges and universities
competitive grants          contracting, debt reduction, production
                            diversification, and farm resources risk
                            reduction
Higher education            Strengthen college and university teaching            Any land grant or other U.S. college             $4.1
challenge grants program programs in the food and agricultural sciences           or university offering a
                                                                                  baccalaureate or first professional
                                                                                  degree in at least one discipline or
                                                                                  area of the food and agricultural
                                                                                  sciences
Sustainable agriculture     Support research and extension that explore           Any land grant university (with some             $8.4
research and education      and apply economically profitable,                    opportunities for partnerships with
program                     environmentally sound, and socially supporting        producers)
                            farming systems
Hispanic-serving            Promote and strengthen the ability of Hispanic- Any Hispanic-serving institution                       $3.3
institutions education      serving institutions to carry out educational
grants program              programs to attract, retain, and graduate
                            outstanding students in the food and agricultural
                            sciences




                                             Page 24                                                   GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                             Appendix III: USDA’s 23 Competitive Grant
                                             Programs for Its Research, Education, and
                                             Extension Missions




Dollars in millions
                                                                                                                            Fiscal year
Program                     Purpose                                               Eligibility                              2001 awards
Tribal colleges extension   Fund new innovative extension programs for            Any Native American (1994) land                  $3.1
program                     Native American communities and tribal                grant institution
                            colleges
Food and agricultural       Encourage outstanding students to pursue and          Any land grant institution or a                   $2.9
sciences national needs     complete graduate degrees in the areas of food        college or university with a
graduate fellowship         and agricultural science                              demonstrated capacity to carry out
grants program                                                                    the teaching of food and agricultural
                                                                                  sciences. The institution must
                                                                                  confer a graduate degree in at least
                                                                                  one area targeted for fellowships.
AgrAbility projects         Provide training and technical assistance to          Cooperative programs between                      $2.7
                            disabled farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and         Cooperative Extension Services at
                            their families                                        the major (1862) land grant
                                                                                  institutions and private, nonprofit
                                                                                  disability organizations
Community food projects     Support the development of community food             Any private, nonprofit entity (may                $2.5
competitive grants          projects designed to meet the food needs of low       partner with public, private
program                     income people; increase the self reliance of          nonprofit, and private for-profit
                            communities in providing for their own food           entities)
                            needs; and promote comprehensive-to-local
                            food, farm, and nutrition issues
Regional integrated pest    Support the continuum of research and                 Any large (1862) land grant                       $2.5
management grants           extension needed to increase the (1)                  university
program                     implementation of integrated pest management
                            methods from development of individual pest
                            control tactics and (2) integration of tactics into
                            an individual pest control system
Extension Indian            Fund reservation agent positions                      Any Cooperative Extension Service                 $1.9
reservation program                                                               at a major (1862) land grant
                                                                                  institution
Biotechnology risk          Address the inherent risks of introducing             Any U.S. public or private research               $1.7
assessment research         genetically modified organisms into the               or educational institution
grants program              environment
Pest management             Address the need for developing pest                  Any state agricultural experiment                 $1.5
alternatives special        management alternatives, including specific           station, college, university, other
research grants program     needs that result from the implementation of the      research institution or organization,
                            Food Quality Protection Act                           federal agency, private
                                                                                  organization, corporation, or
                                                                                  individual
Tribal colleges education   Strengthen the teaching programs of the Native        Any Native American (1994) land                   $1.5
equity grants program       American land grant institutions in the food and      grant institution
                            agricultural sciences
Potato research special     Support potato research that focuses on varietal Any state agricultural experiment                      $1.4
grants program              development and testing                          station; land grant college or
                                                                             university; research foundation
                                                                             established by a land grant college
                                                                             or university; a college or university
                                                                             receiving funds under the Act of
                                                                             October 10, 1862, as amended; or
                                                                             an accredited school or college of
                                                                             veterinary medicine



                                             Page 25                                                    GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                             Appendix III: USDA’s 23 Competitive Grant
                                             Programs for Its Research, Education, and
                                             Extension Missions




 Dollars in millions
                                                                                                                         Fiscal year
 Program                     Purpose                                           Eligibility                              2001 awards
 Higher education            Provides scholarships for minority students to    Any U.S. college or university                   $0.9
 multicultural scholars      train in food and agricultural sciences           offering a (1) baccalaureate or first
 program                                                                       professional degree in at least one
                                                                               discipline of the food and
                                                                               agricultural sciences or (2) Doctor of
                                                                               Veterinary Medicine degree
 1994 institution research   Assist the Native American institutions in        Any Native American (1994) land                   $0.9
 program                     conducting agricultural research that addresses   grant institution
                             high priority concerns of tribal, national, or
                             multistate significance
 Secondary agriculture       Support and strengthen secondary education in     Any public secondary school                       $0.8
 education challenge         agrisciences and agribusiness and increase the
 grants program              number and/or diversity of young Americans
                             pursuing baccalaureate or higher degrees in
                             food and agricultural sciences
 Citrus Tristeza special     Support research that focuses on the problems     Any state agricultural experiment                 $0.7
 research grants program     caused by Citrus Tristeza virus                   station, college, university, other
                                                                               research institution or organization,
                                                                               federal agency, private
                                                                               organization, corporation, or
                                                                               individual
Source: USDA.




                                             Page 26                                                 GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                     Appendix IV: NRI Proposals and Grant
Appendix IV: NRI Proposals and Grant Awards for Minority-Serving Institutions,
                                     Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001


Awards for Minority-Serving Institutions,
Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001

                         1997             1998                    1999                    2000                2001
Institution         Proposal Award   Proposal Award          Proposal Award          Proposal Award      Proposal Award
New Mexico
State Universitya        12      2             4       1              6          2        11       3            15           7
Tuskegee
University               10      0             7       1              3          0         4       1             3           1
Alabama A&M
University               11      0             4       0              3          0         0       0             0           0
Florida A&M
University                3      0             7       0              4          0         2       0             3           0
Tennessee
State University          1      0             3       0              2          2         3       0             4           0
California State
University at
Fresno                    2      0             5       1              3          0         2       1             0           0
Texas A&M
University at
Kingsville                3      1             3       0              5          0         1       0             0           0
North Carolina
A&T State
University                3      1             1       0              3          0         2       0             2           1
University of
Puerto Rico at
Mayagueza                 8      1             2       1              1          0         0       0             0           0
Virginia State
University               12      0             0       0              0          0         0       0             1           0
University of
Miami                     3      0             2       1              0          0         1       0             4           1
Prairie View
A&M University            1      0             2       0              1          0         0       0             2           1
Langston
University                2      0             0       0              3          1         1       0             1           0
Florida
International
University                1      0             0       0              1          0         3       0             1           1
City University
of New York,
Lehman College            0      0             0       0              2          0         2       0             1           0
City University
of New York,
City College              0      0             1       0              1          1         1       0             1           1
University of
Arkansas at
Pine Bluff                1      1             1       1              1          0         1       0             0           0
Southern
University and
A&M College               1      0             1       0              1          0         1       0             0           0
University of
Maryland–
Eastern Shore             0      0             1       0              1          0         1       0             1           0




                                     Page 27                                              GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                    Appendix IV: NRI Proposals and Grant
                                    Awards for Minority-Serving Institutions,
                                    Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001




                        1997             1998                    1999                    2000                2001
Institution        Proposal Award   Proposal Award          Proposal Award          Proposal Award      Proposal Award
University of
Puerto Rico,
Medical
Sciences
Campus                   2      0             0       0              1          0         1       0             0           0
California State
University at
Northridge               1      0             0       0              1          0         1       0             0           0
California State
University at
San Bernardino           2      0             1       0              0          0         0       0             0           0
Fort Valley
State University         0      0             0       0              2          0         0       0             1           0
University of
New Mexico               1      0             0       0              1          0         1       0             0           0
University of
Texas at El
Paso                     0      0             0       0              0          0         1       0             2           0
California State
University at
Bakersfield              0      0             0       0              0          0         0       0             2           1
California State
University at
Fullerton                0      0             0       0              0          0         1       0             1           0
University of
Texas–Pan
American                 0      0             1       0              1          0         0       0             0           0
Universidad
Metropolitana            0      0             0       0              0          0         1       1             0           0
California State
University at
Dominguez Hills          1      0             0       0              0          0         0       0             0           0
Fond du Lac
Tribal and
Community
College                  0      0             1       0              0          0         0       0             0           0
Haskell Indian
Nation
University               0      0             0       0              1          0         0       0             0           0
Kentucky State
University               0      0             0       0              1          0         1       0             0           0
Lac Courte
Orilles Ojibwa
Community
College                  0      0             0       0              0          0         1       0             0           0
South Carolina
State University         0      0             0       0              0          0         1       0             0           0
Turtle Mountain
Community
College                  0      0             0       0              0          0         1       0             0           0




                                    Page 28                                              GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                  Appendix IV: NRI Proposals and Grant
                                  Awards for Minority-Serving Institutions,
                                  Fiscal Years 1997 through 2001




                      1997                 1998                    1999                       2000                        2001
 Institution     Proposal Award       Proposal Award          Proposal Award             Proposal Award              Proposal Award
 University of
 Texas at
 Brownsville           0      0              0         0               0          0               0          0                1         0
 Total                81      6             47         6              49          6              46          6               46        14
Source: USDA.
                                  a
                                   Also a major land grant university established through federal grants of land to the states authorized
                                  by the First Morrill Act in 1862.




                                  Page 29                                                        GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                                           Appendix V: NRI Results of Certain Minority-
Appendix V: NRI Results of Certain Minority-
                                           Serving Institutions and Three Comparably
                                           Sized Universities, Fiscal Years 2000-01


Serving Institutions and Three Comparably
Sized Universities, Fiscal Years 2000-01

 Dollars in thousands
                                                                  2000                                                    2001
                                                Proposals         Proposals          Funding               Proposals      Proposals        Funding
 Institution                                    submitted           awarded          awarded               submitted       awarded         awarded
 Minority-serving institutions with
 doctoral program
 Alabama A&M Universitya                                   0                  0              0                     0                   0         0
                                       a
 California State University at Fresno                     2                  1           $130                     0                   0         0
                         a
 Florida A&M University                                    2                  0              0                     3                   0         0
 Florida International Universityb                         3                  0              0                     1                   1      $305
 New Mexico State Universitya                             11                  3            260                    15                   7       592
 North Carolina A&T State Universitya                      2                  0              0                     2                   1       150
                               a
 Prairie View A&M University                               0                  0              0                     2                   1       108
 South Carolina State Universityc                          0                  0              0                     0                   0         0
 Southern University and A&M                               1                  0              0                     0                   0         0
          a
 College
                              a
 Tennessee State University                                3                  0               0                    4                   0         0
                                     a
 Texas A&M University at Kingsville                        1                  0               0                    0                   0         0
                       a
 Tuskegee University                                       4                  1              75                    3                   1        25
 University of Maryland - Eastern                          1                  0               0                    1                   0         0
        a
 Shore
                     b
 University of Miami                                       1                  0               0                    4                   1       310
                           b
 University of New Mexico                                  1                  0               0                    0                   0         0
 University of Puerto Rico at                              0                  0               0                    0                   0         0
 Mayagueza
 University of Puerto Rico, Medical                        1                  0               0                    0                   0         0
 Sciences Campusb
 University of Texas at El Pasob                           1                  0              0                     2                   0         0
 University of Texas – Pan Americanb                       0                  0              0                     0                   0         0
 Total                                                    34                  5           $465                    37                  12    $1,490
 Major land grant universities of
 comparable size
 Montana State University at                              48                 18        $1,636                     43                  14    $1,520
 Bozeman
 University of Maine                                      15                  6           929                     19                   4       440
 University of Vermont                                    12                  5           649                      8                   0         0
 Total                                                    75                 29        $3,214                     70                  18    $1,960
Source: USDA.
                                           a
                                               Minority-serving university with a school of agriculture.
                                           b
                                               Hispanic-serving institution that does not have a school of agriculture.
                                           c
                                               Historically black land grant university that does not have a school of agriculture.




                                           Page 30                                                             GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
                            Appendix VI: Comments from the U.S.
Appendix VI: Comments from  Department of Agriculture



the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Note: GAO’s comments
appear at the end of this
appendix.




See comment 1.




                            Page 31                               GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
Appendix VI: Comments from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture




Page 32                               GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
              Appendix VI: Comments from the U.S.
              Department of Agriculture




              The following is GAO’s comment on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
GAO Comment   letter dated April 29, 2003.

              1. To address USDA’s concerns, we have revised the recommendation in
                 our draft report by linking it to an existing USDA outreach program
                 that provides on-site reviews of research facilities for any land grant
                 institution and by focusing on the need to enhance communication by
                 fostering direct contact between USDA and universities.




(360262)

              Page 33                                       GAO-03-541 Agricultural Research
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