Solicitation of Input From Stakeholders Regarding Centers of Excellence, Implementation, 41257-41258 [2014-16614]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 135 / Tuesday, July 15, 2014 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture Solicitation of Input From Stakeholders Regarding Centers of Excellence, Implementation National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. ACTION: Notice of web-based listening session and request for stakeholder input. AGENCY: As part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) strategy to successfully implement Section 7214 of Public Law 113–79, the Agricultural Act of 2014, NIFA is soliciting stakeholder input on how it will provide priority to Centers of Excellence in the receipt of funding from its competitive research or extension programs. NIFA will be holding web-based listening sessions in order to solicit stakeholder input on this new challenge area. The focus of the web-based listening sessions will be to gather stakeholder input that will be used in developing a process for consistently providing priority consideration to these Centers of Excellence. NIFA is particularly interested in input on how best to define the scope of a Center of Excellence, whether there are models being used by other federal agencies that might be useful to examine, and at what point in the review/selection process ‘‘priority’’ should be given to applications submitted by Centers of Excellence. All comments must be received by close of business on July 31, 2014, to be considered in the initial drafting of the FY 2015 process for priority consideration of the Centers of Excellence. SUMMARY: The web-based listening sessions will be held on Thursday, July 17, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (ET), and Thursday, July 31, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., ET. All written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m., ET on Thursday, July 31, 2014. DATES: The web-based listening sessions will be hosted using Adobe Connect. On July 17th and July 31st and, please access the following Web site, http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/ frnce/. In addition, audio conference call capabilities can be accessed at 1– 888–844–9904, participant code 3702409. You may submit comments, identified by NIFA–2014–003, by any of the following methods: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:46 Jul 14, 2014 Jkt 232001 Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Email: Centers@nifa.usda.gov. Include NIFA–2014–003 in the subject line of the message. Fax: 202–690–0289. Mail: Paper, disk or CD–ROM submissions should be submitted to Centers of Excellence; Centers of Excellence-Office of the Administrator, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, STOP 2201, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–2201. Hand Delivery/Courier: Centers of Excellence-Office of the Administrator, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 4248, Waterfront Centre, 800 9th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024. Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and reference to NIFA–2014–003]. All comments received will be posted to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Valeria Best, (202) 720–8540 (phone), (202) 690–1260 (fax), or vbest@ nifa.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comment Procedures Persons wishing to present oral comments during the web-based listening session on either Thursday, July 17, or Thursday, July 31, 2014 are requested to pre-register by contacting Ms. Valeria Best at (202) 720–8540, by fax at (202) 690–1260 or by email to vbest@nifa.usda.gov. Participants may reserve one 5-minute comment period. More time may be available, depending on the number of people wishing to make a presentation. Reservations will be confirmed on a first-come, firstserved basis. All other participants may provide comments during the webbased listening session if time permits, or submit written comments. All written comments must be received by close of business July 31, 2014, to be considered. All comments and the official transcript of the web-based listening session, when they become available, may be reviewed on the NIFA Web page, http:// www.nifa.usda.gov, for six months. Background and Purpose NIFA is moving forward to implement Section 7214 of the 2014 Farm Bill. Beginning in October of 2014, this section requires that the Agency prioritize Centers of Excellence PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41257 established for purposes of food and agricultural research, extension, and education activities when selecting recipients of grants from any of the Agency’s research or extension competitive grant programs. While the Farm Bill delineates criteria for being recognized as a Center of Excellence, such as coordination and cost effectiveness, the leveraging of resources using public-private partnerships, and the ability to increase economic returns to rural communities, it will be important that NIFA hear from the community about what the scope of a Center of Excellence should be, and what our stakeholders believe are the strengths and weaknesses of some of the models that are used by other federal agencies. Section 7214 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113–79) (i.e., the 2014 Farm Bill) adds a new section 1673 to the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5926) to require the Secretary of Agriculture to prioritize Centers of Excellence that are established for purposes of carrying out research, extension, and education activities relating to the food and agricultural sciences (as defined in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103)) for the receipt of funding for any competitive research or extension program administered by the Secretary. The amendment takes effect on October 1, 2014. The Agency is considering different ways to implement the ‘‘priority’’ consideration of grant proposals from Centers of Excellence, including using the Center of Excellence distinction as a tie-breaker, should proposals be equally ranked for funding during our peer review process, or providing additional points to Center of Excellence proposals as part of applying evaluation criteria during the peer review process. A center of excellence is composed of 1 or more of the following entities that provide financial or in-kind support to the Center of Excellence: State agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations, foundations, or corporations; and individuals. The criteria for Centers of Excellence include efforts: to ensure coordination and cost effectiveness by reducing unnecessarily duplicative efforts regarding research, teaching, and extension; to leverage available resources by using public-private partnerships among agricultural E:\FR\FM\15JYN1.SGM 15JYN1 41258 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 135 / Tuesday, July 15, 2014 / Notices industry groups, institutions of higher education, and the Federal Government; to implement teaching initiatives to increase awareness and effectively disseminate solutions to target audiences through extension activities; and to increase the economic returns to rural communities by identifying, attracting, and directing funds to highpriority agricultural issues. Where practicable, the criteria for recognition as a center of excellence shall also include efforts to improve teaching capacity and infrastructure at colleges and universities (including land-grant colleges and universities, cooperating forestry schools, Non Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture, and Schools of Veterinary Medicine). NIFA is considering using a process where an applicant could self-identify as a Center of Excellence in an area of science as part of a particular grant application (using the legislative criteria described above), and the applicant’s justification would be evaluated as part of the peer review process, or using a process separate from the grant application process, where an applicant could request designation as a Center of Excellence, and should the Agency grant such a designation, it would potentially be applicable to multiple grant competitions where proposed work fell within a particular area of science. NIFA is holding web-based listening sessions to obtain comments to consider in developing a process for implementing the Centers of Excellence provision. The web-based listening sessions are open to the public. Written comments and suggestions may be submitted to Ms. Valeria Best at the address above. Implementation Plans mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES NIFA plans to consider stakeholder input received from this web-based listening session as well as other written comments in developing a process to implement the Centers of Excellence provision for FY 2015. Done at Washington, DC this 10th day of July, 2014. Robert E. Holland, Acting Associate Director, Programs, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. [FR Doc. 2014–16614 Filed 7–14–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–22–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:46 Jul 14, 2014 Jkt 232001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of the Census [Docket Number 140626541–4541–01] Establishment of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce ACTION: Notice of Program. AGENCY: This notice announces and seeks comments on the establishment of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program. Required by law, the program provides states the opportunity to specify the small geographic areas for which they wish to receive 2020 decennial population totals for the purpose of reapportionment and redistricting. SUMMARY: Comments on this notice are due by September 5, 2014. The deadline for states to notify the Bureau of the Census (Census Bureau) that they wish to participate in Phase 1, the Block Boundary Suggestion Project, is August 1, 2015. ADDRESSES: Please direct all written comments on this notice to the Director, U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Room 8H–002, Washington DC 20233. DATES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine C. McCully, Chief, Census Redistricting Data Office, U.S. Census Bureau, Room 8H–019, Washington DC 20233, telephone (301) 763–4039. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the provisions of Title 13, Section 141(c) of the United States Code (U.S.C.), the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) is required to provide the ‘‘officers or public bodies having initial responsibility for the legislative apportionment or districting of each state . . .’’ with the opportunity to specify geographic areas (e.g., voting districts) for which they wish to receive decennial census population counts for the purpose of reapportionment or redistricting. By April 1 of the year following the decennial census, the Secretary is required to furnish the state officials or their designees with population counts for American Indian areas, counties, cities, census blocks, and state-specified congressional, legislative districts, and voting districts. In accordance with the provisions of 13 U.S.C. 141(c), the Director of the Census Bureau, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, announces the establishment of the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program. The Census PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Bureau will issue an invitation to the officers or public bodies having initial responsibility for legislative reapportionment and redistricting this fall through the Census Redistricting Data Office inviting states to identify a non-partisan liaison that will work directly with the Census Bureau on the 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program. Once these liaisons are established, the Census Bureau will coordinate communications involving the commencement of the program. Since the 1990 Census, participation in both the Census Redistricting Data Program’s Block Boundary Suggestion Project and Voting District Project (2020 Redistricting Data Program Phases 1 and 2) under 13 U.S.C. is voluntary on the part of each state. However, if states choose not to participate in Phase 1 and Phase 2, the Census Bureau cannot ensure that the decennial census 2020 tabulation geography will support the redistricting needs of their state. Phase 1: Block Boundary Suggestion Project (BBSP) Beginning in the late summer of 2014, the Census Bureau will correspond with the legislative leadership and executive officer of each state to establish a 2020 Census Redistricting Data Program liaison. The Census Bureau will formally announce through a subsequent Federal Register Notice the commencement of Phase 1, the Block Boundary Suggestion Project (BBSP). The purpose of the BBSP is to afford states the opportunity to identify nonstandard features often used as electoral boundaries (such as a powerline or stream, rather than a street centerline which might divide voters into two districts) as census block boundaries. The BBSP option affords the state liaison the opportunity to provide suggestions for 2020 census tabulation block boundaries resulting in more meaningful block data for the state. Liaisons are able to work with local officials including county election officers and others to ensure local geography is represented in the 2020 tabulation block inventory. In addition, the liaison, on behalf of the state, will make suggestions for features not desirable as census tabulation blocks. By identifying undesirable features, the liaison may assist the Bureau in reducing the overall number of census tabulation blocks from the 2010 inventory. Beginning in late fall of 2015, states that choose to participate in Phase 1 will begin receiving guidelines and training for providing their suggestions for the 2020 census tabulation blocks as well as their suggestions for exclusion of line segments for consideration in the E:\FR\FM\15JYN1.SGM 15JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 135 (Tuesday, July 15, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41257-41258]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16614]



[[Page 41257]]

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Solicitation of Input From Stakeholders Regarding Centers of 
Excellence, Implementation

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of web-based listening session and request for 
stakeholder input.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: As part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's 
(NIFA) strategy to successfully implement Section 7214 of Public Law 
113-79, the Agricultural Act of 2014, NIFA is soliciting stakeholder 
input on how it will provide priority to Centers of Excellence in the 
receipt of funding from its competitive research or extension programs.
    NIFA will be holding web-based listening sessions in order to 
solicit stakeholder input on this new challenge area. The focus of the 
web-based listening sessions will be to gather stakeholder input that 
will be used in developing a process for consistently providing 
priority consideration to these Centers of Excellence. NIFA is 
particularly interested in input on how best to define the scope of a 
Center of Excellence, whether there are models being used by other 
federal agencies that might be useful to examine, and at what point in 
the review/selection process ``priority'' should be given to 
applications submitted by Centers of Excellence.
    All comments must be received by close of business on July 31, 
2014, to be considered in the initial drafting of the FY 2015 process 
for priority consideration of the Centers of Excellence.

DATES: The web-based listening sessions will be held on Thursday, July 
17, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (ET), and 
Thursday, July 31, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., ET. All written 
comments must be received by 5:00 p.m., ET on Thursday, July 31, 2014.

ADDRESSES: The web-based listening sessions will be hosted using Adobe 
Connect. On July 17th and July 31st and, please access the following 
Web site, http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/frnce/. In addition, audio 
conference call capabilities can be accessed at 1-888-844-9904, 
participant code 3702409. You may submit comments, identified by NIFA-
2014-003, by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
    Email: Centers@nifa.usda.gov. Include NIFA-2014-003 in the subject 
line of the message.
    Fax: 202-690-0289.
    Mail: Paper, disk or CD-ROM submissions should be submitted to 
Centers of Excellence; Centers of Excellence-Office of the 
Administrator, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, STOP 2201, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20250-2201.
    Hand Delivery/Courier: Centers of Excellence-Office of the 
Administrator, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Room 4248, Waterfront Centre, 800 9th Street 
SW., Washington, DC 20024.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and reference to NIFA-2014-003]. All comments received will be posted 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Valeria Best, (202) 720-8540 
(phone), (202) 690-1260 (fax), or vbest@nifa.usda.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comment Procedures

    Persons wishing to present oral comments during the web-based 
listening session on either Thursday, July 17, or Thursday, July 31, 
2014 are requested to pre-register by contacting Ms. Valeria Best at 
(202) 720-8540, by fax at (202) 690-1260 or by email to 
vbest@nifa.usda.gov. Participants may reserve one 5-minute comment 
period. More time may be available, depending on the number of people 
wishing to make a presentation. Reservations will be confirmed on a 
first-come, first-served basis. All other participants may provide 
comments during the web-based listening session if time permits, or 
submit written comments. All written comments must be received by close 
of business July 31, 2014, to be considered. All comments and the 
official transcript of the web-based listening session, when they 
become available, may be reviewed on the NIFA Web page, http://www.nifa.usda.gov, for six months.

Background and Purpose

    NIFA is moving forward to implement Section 7214 of the 2014 Farm 
Bill. Beginning in October of 2014, this section requires that the 
Agency prioritize Centers of Excellence established for purposes of 
food and agricultural research, extension, and education activities 
when selecting recipients of grants from any of the Agency's research 
or extension competitive grant programs. While the Farm Bill delineates 
criteria for being recognized as a Center of Excellence, such as 
coordination and cost effectiveness, the leveraging of resources using 
public-private partnerships, and the ability to increase economic 
returns to rural communities, it will be important that NIFA hear from 
the community about what the scope of a Center of Excellence should be, 
and what our stakeholders believe are the strengths and weaknesses of 
some of the models that are used by other federal agencies.
    Section 7214 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Pub. L. 113-79) 
(i.e., the 2014 Farm Bill) adds a new section 1673 to the Food, 
Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 5926) to 
require the Secretary of Agriculture to prioritize Centers of 
Excellence that are established for purposes of carrying out research, 
extension, and education activities relating to the food and 
agricultural sciences (as defined in section 1404 of the National 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 
U.S.C. 3103)) for the receipt of funding for any competitive research 
or extension program administered by the Secretary. The amendment takes 
effect on October 1, 2014. The Agency is considering different ways to 
implement the ``priority'' consideration of grant proposals from 
Centers of Excellence, including using the Center of Excellence 
distinction as a tie-breaker, should proposals be equally ranked for 
funding during our peer review process, or providing additional points 
to Center of Excellence proposals as part of applying evaluation 
criteria during the peer review process.
    A center of excellence is composed of 1 or more of the following 
entities that provide financial or in-kind support to the Center of 
Excellence: State agricultural experiment stations; colleges and 
universities; university research foundations; other research 
institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national 
laboratories; private organizations, foundations, or corporations; and 
individuals.
    The criteria for Centers of Excellence include efforts: to ensure 
coordination and cost effectiveness by reducing unnecessarily 
duplicative efforts regarding research, teaching, and extension; to 
leverage available resources by using public-private partnerships among 
agricultural

[[Page 41258]]

industry groups, institutions of higher education, and the Federal 
Government; to implement teaching initiatives to increase awareness and 
effectively disseminate solutions to target audiences through extension 
activities; and to increase the economic returns to rural communities 
by identifying, attracting, and directing funds to high-priority 
agricultural issues. Where practicable, the criteria for recognition as 
a center of excellence shall also include efforts to improve teaching 
capacity and infrastructure at colleges and universities (including 
land-grant colleges and universities, cooperating forestry schools, Non 
Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture, and Schools of Veterinary 
Medicine). NIFA is considering using a process where an applicant could 
self-identify as a Center of Excellence in an area of science as part 
of a particular grant application (using the legislative criteria 
described above), and the applicant's justification would be evaluated 
as part of the peer review process, or using a process separate from 
the grant application process, where an applicant could request 
designation as a Center of Excellence, and should the Agency grant such 
a designation, it would potentially be applicable to multiple grant 
competitions where proposed work fell within a particular area of 
science.
    NIFA is holding web-based listening sessions to obtain comments to 
consider in developing a process for implementing the Centers of 
Excellence provision. The web-based listening sessions are open to the 
public. Written comments and suggestions may be submitted to Ms. 
Valeria Best at the address above.

Implementation Plans

    NIFA plans to consider stakeholder input received from this web-
based listening session as well as other written comments in developing 
a process to implement the Centers of Excellence provision for FY 2015.

    Done at Washington, DC this 10th day of July, 2014.
Robert E. Holland,
Acting Associate Director, Programs, National Institute of Food and 
Agriculture.
[FR Doc. 2014-16614 Filed 7-14-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-22-P