2020 Request for Research Proposals
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) at the University of Minnesota is seeking proposals for research studies to advance control and management, prevention of establishment and spread, risk assessment, and early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Minnesota.
Through this competitive proposal process, MAISRC will administer an estimated $1,500,000 to fund high-priority research needs focused on new lines of research and continuation of existing projects. MAISRC conducted a thorough and systematic needs assessment earlier in 2018 that included AIS managers, researchers, and the public, to identify and prioritize research related to protecting Minnesota from AIS impacting or likely to impact the state. This RFP is focused on 19 research priorities that were identified in this process and considered for new lines of research. For information on the proposal submission process for continuation projects, see separate RFP.
Proposals are invited from investigators at any Minnesota-based academic or governmental research institution for work that proposes to build capacity in and benefit Minnesota. Researchers who have not previously been supported by MAISRC are especially encouraged to submit proposals. Research collaborations and multi-investigator projects are also strongly encouraged. Research teams may include expertise outside of Minnesota if needed. However, please note that some restrictions apply for use of grant funds out of state.
Projects are expected to use state-of the-art techniques and approaches and must produce both peer-reviewed publications in high-quality journals as well as technical publications. Resources within the newly renovated MAISRC Containment Laboratory may be available for use in association with funded projects. Anticipated funding availability is January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.
Pre-proposal instructions and selection process
The funds to support research solicited in this announcement primarily originate from the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund (ENRTF), administered by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Therefore, eligible expenses for pre-proposals are the same as LCCMR’s.
Pre-proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of MAISRC’s Director, two members of MAISRC’s Advisory Board, and two technical reviewers. Evaluation will be based on degree the pre-proposal fits research priorities, likelihood the research project will result in important new information useful for solving AIS problems in Minnesota, and demonstrated capacity of the collaboration to perform the proposed research. Demonstrated support from end users of the research and ability to leverage additional funding will also be considered.
Investigators invited to submit full proposals will provide detailed research plans that will undergo scientific peer-review Funding is available upon final approval of a work plan and budget, following peer-review and revisions.
For UMN proposals: Please do not submit through SPA. We recommend, however, that you discuss your pre-proposal with your finance team, department head, and others who would eventually need to approve your proposal so that we can avoid problems down the road if you are invited to submit a full proposal.
The deadline for pre-proposals is March 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM.
1. Project proposal – submit in one PDF; click here for template
- Cover Sheet – 1 page limit; included in template
- Pre-proposal Narrative – 3 page limit; included in template
- Researcher Qualifications – provide a CV for all primary investigators; 2 page limit each
- Project Manager’s Organization Description – 1 page limit
2. Project Budget – submit in MS Excel; click here for template
3. Optional Attachments – letters of support, etc.
The deadline for pre-proposals is March 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM. Submit all documents to email@example.com. Please contact MAISRC Director, Dr. Nicholas Phelps, with questions about research priorities or the proposal process – firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-624-7450.
Proposals for research on the following topics will be considered for funding. Like AIS problems in general, these problems are complex. To be effectively addressed, many of these topics will benefit from innovative research approaches, research scope spanning fundamental and applied, and/or multidisciplinary expertise. The topics are not listed in priority order. If not specifically addressed below, the species studied must be included on the MAISRC 2020 species priority list. Research not focused on addressing one of the following priorities will not be considered for funding.
A: Early detection and preventing the establishment of priority species
- Assess the prevalence of high priority AIS throughout Minnesota with probabilistic sampling to better inform early detection and prevention efforts.
- Characterize and assess the risk of pathways not currently captured through watercraft inspection programs (i.e. resort access, non-transient boat movement) and from the movement of equipment (i.e. docks and boat lifts) to prioritize zebra mussel prevention, education, inspection and enforcement efforts.
- Evaluate pathways of introduction, establishment risk and secondary spread of crayfish in trade (biological supply houses, personal consumption, educational use, bait, etc.) for Minnesota with emphasis on species such as rusty, red swamp and marmokrebs.
- Quantify the prevalence and distribution of novel and emerging viruses and microbes in baitfish and evaluate the risk to sportfish populations.
- Describe and quantify the trade and transport of aquatic invasive species and pathogens into and within Minnesota, including the aquarium industry, live food markets, water gardens, educational suppliers, cultural release practices and online trade to determine the relative risk of various pathways.
- Validate the use and interpretation of practical cost effective early detection methods for high priority invasive species that are localized in their distribution or not currently present in MN.
B: Creating and improving options for control of priority species
- Develop and evaluate novel control methods for high priority AIS (e.g. dreissenid mussels and plants) that could be used for rapid response eradication or large-scale population suppression, while minimizing non-target impacts.
- Evaluate the efficacy of control methods on starry stonewort abundance and persistence, including algaecides, pesticides, physical removal, and combinations of those methods, at multiple spatial and temporal scales (e.g., lab, mesocosm/field, treatment timing).
- Evaluate non-target impacts and control of invasive aquatic plants using new and existing herbicides, with emphasis on low dose application, using lab, mesocosm and field-scale experiments.
- Evaluate the efficacy of alternative barrier technologies, including acoustic/light/bubble barriers, on black carp, grass carp, and northern snakehead in river systems.
- Assess the persistence and viability of starry stonewort bulbils in the sediment with and without active management.
- Develop an environmental risk assessment for the use of pathogenic or genetic biological control strategies for high priority species in MN aquatic systems. Risk assessment should include metrics that will inform and describe the potential effects on rare resources (such as endangered and threatened species), water resources, wildlife populations, and other natural resources. This assessment could act as a scoping or reference document for use in future environmental review processes.
- Determine public understanding and attitudes on the use of chemical and biological control strategies for AIS management and develop communication tools. This should consider existing (e.g. EarthTec QZ, 2-4-D) and future (e.g. pathogens, genetic modification) methods for AIS control.
- Develop viable and cost effective alternatives for the use of non-native Phragmites at waste water treatment facilities.
C: Understanding impacts to prioritize management actions
- Conduct a thorough toxicological risk assessment for the medium and long-term use of chemical control (e.g. copper-based pesticides) of invasive species on lake ecosystems and human health.
- Evaluate the potential effects of climate change on the distribution and impacts of high priority aquatic invasive species; this can include potential new introductions and/or species that have already been detected in Minnesota.
- Evaluate the economic impact of priority AIS introductions (e.g. invasive carp, zebra mussel, starry stonewort, Eurasian watermilfoil) on property values, business and tourism over time to inform cost-benefit analyses, communication efforts and management decisions.
- Quantify the impacts of aquatic invasive species on lakes and rivers in Minnesota, including changes to energy flow, food webs, and/or ecosystem dynamics. This should focus on “ecosystem engineers” that are likely to have the greatest impact on native ecosystems.
- Identify lake characteristics that infer resistance and resilience to establishment and impacts of AIS.
Funding for the 2020 MAISRC RFP is provided by the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).