The GRIP4PSI initiative enables the NC State community to collaborate on integrated research/outreach projects that are focused on plant improvement, data-driven agricultural bioscience, and resilient agricultural systems. This program is intended to seed, incentivize and amplify visionary research that will result in a high return on investment in terms of extramural funding, award-winning research impacts, and first-class interdisciplinary graduate education and training.
Four awards were made in FY 2020-21 each worth up to $650,000 over three and a half years, and are supported by the Office of Research and Innovation in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Natural Resources, the College of Sciences, Wilson College of Textiles, Poole College of Management, the Office of the Provost, and the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science. The current GRIP4PSI projects awarded are as follows and funding began in July 2020:
- Dr. Christine Hawkes, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, FUN-CROPS: Foliar Fungal Endophytes for Enhanced Crop Sustainability and Resilience;
- Dr. Jean Ristaino, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Director of Emerging Plant Disease, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Plant-Aid: A Data-Driven and Sensor-Integrated Platform for Monitoring Emerging Plant Diseases;
- Dr. Katharina Stapelmann, Department of Nuclear Engineering, Harnessing (Bio-) Electrochemical Technologies as Sustainable Sources for On-Demand Precision Agriculture;
- Dr. Cranos Williams, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Improving Crop Productivity and Value Through Heterogeneous Data Integration, Analytics, and Decision Support Platforms.
Outcomes for the GRIP4PSI initial fiscal year 2020-21 of support included the following: 24 follow up funding proposals submitted; 7 follow up funding proposals awarded for a total of $2,072,636; 29 students supported; 39 publications or presentations generated; 1 workshop and 3 patents. In addition, the work conducted under several GRIP4PSI projects (Katharina Stapelmann and Cranos Williams) was instrumental in an extensive effort to obtain a recently awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Science and Technology Center (STC) grant (Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability – STEPS, PI Jacob Jones, funding amount $25,000,000), which was an outcome of the original GRIP project previously supported by KIETS in collaboration with the Vice Chancellor for Research and RTI. Adrian Percy, one of the world’s top leaders in the agriculture field, became the first executive director of the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (NC PSI) on November 1, 2021 and the NC State Plant Sciences Building on Centennial Campus was dedicated on April 12, 2022.