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USDA Opens VIVO Research Networking Tool to Public

By Sharon Durham
November 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2014—VIVO, a Web application used internally by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists since 2012 to allow better national networking across disciplines and locations, is now available to the public. USDA VIVO will be a "one-stop shop" for Federal agriculture expertise and research outcomes.

"USDA employs over 5,000 researchers to ensure our programs are based on sound public policy and the best available science," said USDA Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics Dr. Catherine Woteki. "USDA VIVO provides a powerful Web search tool for connecting interdisciplinary researchers, research projects and outcomes with others who might bring a different approach or scope to a research project. Inviting private citizens to use the system will increase the potential for collaboration to solve food- and agriculture-related problems."

The idea behind USDA VIVO is to link researchers with peers and potential collaborators to ignite synergy among our nation's best scientific minds and to spark unique approaches to some of our toughest agricultural problems. This efficient networking tool enables scientists to easily locate others with a particular expertise. VIVO also makes it possible to quickly identify scientific expertise and respond to emerging agricultural issues, like specific plant and animal disease or pests.

USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service and Forest Service are the first five USDA agencies to participate in VIVO. The National Agricultural Library, which is part of ARS, will host the Web application. USDA hopes to add other agencies in the future.

VIVO was in part developed under a $12.2 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant, made under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was provided to the University of Florida and collaborators at Cornell University, Indiana University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Washington University in St. Louis, the Scripps Research Institute and the Ponce School of Medicine.

VIVO's underlying database draws information about research being conducted by USDA scientists from official public systems of record and then makes it uniformly available for searching. The data can then be easily leveraged in other applications. In this way, USDA is also making its research projects and related impacts available to the Federal RePORTER tool, released by NIH on September 22, 2014. Federal RePORTER is part of a collaborative effort between Federal entities and other research institutions to create a repository that will be useful to assess the impact of Federal research and development investments.