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  • Writer's pictureTom Kenny

USDA - 2023 SPSD Collaborative Soil Science Research - $3M Available

Notice of Funding Opportunity Summary

This Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO) is being released prior to appropriation and/or apportionment of funds for fiscal year 2023. Enactment of additional continuing resolutions or an appropriations act may affect the availability or level of funding for this program.”

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is announcing the potential availability of funding for agreements for the purposes of supporting cooperative research in soil science and soil survey. The purpose of the 2023 Soil Survey Cooperative Research Proposals is to promote research that informs and improves soil survey. As such, each proposal must include significant collaboration with soil survey personnel (such as National Soil Survey Center Research staff, Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) Soil Survey or Regional offices). The proposal’s deliverables and their connection to soil survey must be clearly explained.

The FY23 cooperative soil science research priorities were developed through iterative meetings and feedback gathered in conjunction with the 2022 Regional Conferences of the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS). We expect that this funding opportunity will select at least one proposal for funding from each region. The work should have regional application and fill gaps in soil survey knowledge and databases. We expect to fund approximately up to $3,000,000 of cooperative research depending on funding availability. Eligibility is limited to institutions of higher education in the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) network ( Proposals are requested for competitive consideration of awards for projects 2-3 years in duration. Individual proposals must have a total cost between $50,000 and $500,000.

Within the NCSS region where the work occurs, proposals topics should:

· Address emerging issues such as urban soil survey, ecosystem services, wetlands/hydric soils, climate, wildfire and/or soil biodiversity and how those topics intersect with ecological sites and soil survey.

· Enhance collaborative efforts between soil survey staff and cooperative research projects with emphasis on practical tools for MLRA staff and use of long-term monitoring and experiment locations.

Extra consideration will be given to proposals that include Dynamic Soil Survey Research Support (targeted towards close collaboration with National Soil Survey Center researchers).

All proposals must include a data management plan and all data and deliverables must be made publicly available per USDA regulations.

More information on NCSS regions – including maps and contacts is available at

For new users of, see Section D. for information about steps required before submitting an application via

Key Dates

Applicants must submit their applications via by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on July 22, 2023. For technical issues with, contact Applicant Support at 1-800-518-4726 or Awarding agency staff cannot support applicants regarding accounts.

For inquiries specific to the content of the NFO requirements, contact the federal awarding agency contact (section G of this NFO). Please limit questions to those regarding specific information contained in this NFO (such as dates, page numbers, clarification of discrepancies, etc.). Questions related to eligibility or the merits of a specific proposal will not be addressed.

The agency anticipates making selections by August 18, 2023 and expects to execute awards by September 30, 2023. These dates are estimates and are subject to change.

Grant Management Associates has years of experience with opportunities like this one. Contact us today for a consultation.

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