Plant Production and Protection - Biology


Contact Dr. Robert Nowierski, NPL for SBIR Plant Production and Protection - Biology at or (202)401-4900 regarding questions about the suitability of research topics or to arrange a telephone consultation.


The objective of this topic area is to examine novel ways of enhancing crop production and protection by applying biological approaches to develop new methods for plant improvement, apply traditional plant breeding methods and new technologies to develop new food and non-food crop plants, develop plant characteristics that reduce the harmful impact of plant pests and biotic stresses, as well as new genotypes of existing crop plants with characteristics that allow for their use in new commercial applications. This topic area supports the NIFA Strategic Plan Goal 1 Science: Catalyze exemplary and relevant research, education and extension programs; SUB-GOAL 1.1: Advance our Nation’s ability to achieve global food security and fight hunger.

FY 2018 Research Priorities:

Examples of appropriate subtopics for research applications from small businesses include, but are not limited to the following:


1. Plant improvement

Improved crop production using traditional plant breeding and biotechnology, including but not limited to, molecular biology, and mutagenesis, genomics, tissue culture, and/or embryogenesis to produce crops with new or improved quality, yield, agronomic, horticultural, value- added, and/or economic traits. Topics may include, but not limited to:

a. Improvement of commercial floriculture production

Biological and/or technological approaches to improve the competitiveness of U.S. production of flowering potted plants, bedding plants, seasonal crops, annuals, perennials, and cut flowers.

b. Development of new crops

Development of new crop plants as sources of food, non-food industrial or ornamental products.


2. Pollinators and crop production

Projects that address the health and success of domesticated and natural pollinators of economically important crops.


3. Plant protection against abiotic and/or biotic stresses

Reduced the impact of plant pathogens, insect pests, and abiotic stress on crop plants; and increasing plant resistance to plant pathogens, insect pests, and abiotic stress. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

a. Improved plant disease diagnostics

Accurate, rapid, and cost-effective identification of causal agents in specialty crop plants at the earliest possible stage relative to manifestation of disease.

b. Bio-Based approaches

To protect organically-grown crops from insect and nematode pests and diseases, including the development of decision aid systems that are information extensive and time sensitive.


Other Key Information

  • Phase I applications involving the development of transgenic crops would benefit by the inclusion of a brief description of the proposed path to commercialization, including an understanding of what will be needed to clear regulatory consideration. Phase II applications involving the development of transgenic crops should have an expanded section on how regulatory considerations will be met and market entry attained. Applications that deal with non-biological engineering technologies should be sent to topic area 8.13 Plant Production and Protection-Engineering.
  • Applications that deal with the genetic improvement and production of woody biomass feedstock crops should be submitted to the 8.1 Forest and Related Resources topic area.
  • Applications that deal with the genetic improvement and production of algae should be  submitted to the 8.7 Aquaculture topic area.

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