Researchers seeking funding from the Maryland Soybean Board for 2015-2016 are required to submit pre-proposals by Oct. 15. The pre-proposal provides a concise summary statement of the proposed project prior to the preparation of a full, detailed grant application.
Travis Hutchison, a Talbot County producer and chairman-elect of the MSB Research Committee, commented: "We accomplish two things with this procedure. First, we get the opportunity to quickly review what researchers have in mind for the coming year.
“Perhaps more importantly,” he added, “we hope to spark an increase in grant applications. It's our thought that researchers might want to test the water with some new ideas — in production research or crop utilization or genetic development, for example — without having to go through the long and time-consuming process of filing a full-blown grant proposal."
Pre-proposals must be submitted on a form that may be downloaded from the Maryland Soybean Board website at www.mdsoy.com. The form must be returned to the board by Oct. 15. Additional pages may not be attached. Researchers are required to keep their summary statements to "two to three sentences."
Letters requesting researchers to submit full proposals will be mailed during the first week of November.
By federal law, under which the soybean checkoff program was authorized and mandated in 1990, checkoff revenues may be spent only in the areas of market development, research, education and commodity promotion. However, noted Hutchison, there's a lot of leeway, a lot of room for movement, in those areas.
"We don't want researchers to feel confined," Hutchison said. "We want to encourage new ideas. We are always interested in hearing about possibly better or novel ways to grow, manage, use or market our crop. We hope that the use of pre-proposals will continue to encourage these ideas to surface."