NGDC is partnering with scientists at universities around the country to build an active research program focused on the development, use, and visualization of soil information in support of NRCS resource conservation and inventory activities.
NGDC funds projects that discover and apply new ideas to address current and future resource inventory and conservation challenges. Technology transfer between the research community and NRCS is a key goal of NGDC’s external research program. Other important goals include development of technology to improve NRCS activities and professional development and mentoring of potenial employees.
NGDC research projects are typically funded through the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) National Network for a period of one or two years. NGDC occasionally funds projects through cooperative agreements or competitive contracts, as well. Current funding opportunities are described under Requests for Proposals.
A soil component map of a small watershed in northeastern Vermont is one result of a cooperative research project between NGDC, NRCS Vermont, and Dartmouth College.
Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units National Network
The CESU National Network is a partnership between universities, federal agencies, state agencies, tribes, and other organizations to conduct ecosystem studies research and education. CESUs provide an ideal framework within which to fund soil science and soil conservation related research. NGDC research is primarily funded through CESU contracts. Agreements have already been established between each CESU’s member organizations; therefore future contracts between members are easily implemented.
Seventeen CESUs, each focused on a particular biogeographic region of the country, have been established. Approximately 175 colleges and universities, 13 federal agencies, and 40 NGOs and other partners are currently members of the CESU network. NGDC encourages potential collaborators to determine the status of their institution within the CESU National Network. Individuals at institutions that are not members of a CESU are encouraged to collaborate with colleagues at CESU institutions when preparing proposals in repsonse to NGDC RFPs.