Researchers: Land a Grant with this Video Tutorial on Systems Research
GRIFFIN, Georgia – Some of the Southern region’s most respected sustainable ag experts lend their experiences and advice about approaches to systems research in a new video tutorial series developed by Southern SARE.
Researchers interested in pursuing systems research projects through our Research & Education and Large Systems Research grants now have access to a tutorial of what systems research is and how to successfully write a systems research grant.
For decades, we have supported the application of systems research in sustainable agriculture. The concept targets the interactions of agricultural components and how those components function together to help define the characteristics of a whole agricultural production system.
The “Perspectives on Systems Research” video tutorial is divided into five modules: Introduction and Meet the Exemplars, Getting Started in Systems Research, Building a Systems Research Team, Overcoming Challenges and Obstacles, and Funding and Support.
The videos, produced by the University of Kentucky with support from the University of Georgia, are designed to help researchers be more successful in securing grant support for systems projects.
In the first module, viewers are given a brief overview of what systems research is and are introduced to several systems experts:
• Charlie Jackson, director and one of the founding farmers of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project in North Carolina. ASAP helps create and expand local food markets by linking local farms to local markets and supporters, and building healthy communities through connections to local food.
• Vivien Allen, the Paul Whitfield Horn Professor and Thornton Distinguished Professor of Forages in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University. Allen’s research has included over a decade’s worth of successful results integrating crop and livestock systems with water management to enhance natural resources, improve profitability, and create a more sustainable approach to agriculture.
• Anthony Flaccavento, executive director and founder of Appalachian Sustainable Development, a non-profit dedicated to developing healthy, diverse, and ecologically sound economic opportunities in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee.
• Paul Mueller, a professor of crop science and sustainable ag coordinator at North Carolina State University. Mueller is also the coordinator for the Farming Systems Research Unit of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a non-profit that develops and promotes food and farming systems that protect the environment, strengthen local communities, and provide economic opportunities in North Carolina and beyond.
The second module discusses the challenges researchers face when addressing systems research and how they can apply systems research projects to their own work.
The third module discusses the importance of team building, leadership and support when managing systems research projects, especially when team members come from different research traditions.
The fourth module covers the challenges and obstacles of conducting systems research. Systems research experts share their experiences and insights to help others get started in systems research.
The fifth module reveals strategies for securing funding and support to conduct systems research projects.
The video modules are part of a series of systems research educational materials available on our website. They include a bulletin also titled, “Perspectives on Systems Research,” a series of archived grantsmanship workshops conducted by USDA-NIFA, and a PowerPoint presentation on an introduction to systems research developed by Laurie Drinkwater of Cornell University.
A book on systems research is currently being produced by SARE Outreach and is expected to be available in 2012.
Published by the Southern Region of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Southern SARE operates under cooperative agreements with the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture to offer competitive grants to advance sustainable agriculture in America's Southern region.