1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this Agreement is the technical, financial and material cooperation for the execution of the actions of the Embrapa´s Virtual Laboratory in the United States (LABEX-USA), for which the following is indispensable: 1.1. the development of a set of research projects of mutual interest, it being understood that these include research projects carried out in cooperation with direct participation of Embrapa and USDA-ARS researchers, and research projects of interest to Embrapa and as agreed by USDA-ARS, developed as a result of the work of Embrapa’s researchers, and in conformity with the laws, regulations, and policies of both countries; 1.2. the provision, by USDA-ARS to Embrapa, of logistical and scientific (physical and bibliographic; electronic, computer and other similar equipment) support, of the development of research projects of mutual interest referred to in sub item 1.1 above; 1.3. the provision, by USDA-ARS of necessary facilities for scientific research by Embrapa and to seek cooperative projects of mutual interest with other federal agencies and universities engaged in agricultural research and technology as relevant and mutually agreed to; 1.4. the provision by Embrapa for the transference to USDA-ARS of all necessary financial resources for operation of LABEX; 1.5. the agreement by USDA-ARS to effectively manage financial resources provided by Embrapa for the operation of LABEX; and
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Produce technology and knowledge of value to ARS and EMBRAPA in the broad areas of plant and animal sciences, soil science, agriculture and other additional fields (genomics, genetic resources, biobased products, food safety nanotechnology).
3. Progress Report:
In FY2012, the following long term senior scientist Labex positions were in place: 1) genetic resources and long-term preservation technologies at the ARS National Center for Genetic Resources Conservation in Ft. Collins, CO (ending January 2013); 2) animal health for gastrointestinal parasite resistance for genotypic selection at the Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory, Beltsville, MD (started March 2011); 3) soybean drought stress biotechnology through circadian clock gene understanding at the Plant Gene Expression Center, Albany, CA (started September 2011) ; 4) anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (started November 2011 ); 5) control of the insect vector involved in citrus greening disease at the Subtropical Horticultural Research Station in Ft. Pierce, FL (started August 2012); 6) Labex Coordinator & natural resource/climate change project facilitation, Beltsville, MD (started December 2011). The Labex-USA program reporting period (Jan-June 2012) has been busy on a number of fronts. Two lab visit programs were facilitated to engage Embrapa Center Directors (Agroenergy; Fisheries and Aquaculture) with ARS labs in new areas of collaborative research. Plans in each area are being put into place and elaborated on at the present. In the same time period seven Embrapa researchers visited ARS research facilities to explore project opportunities and six ARS researchers travelled to Brazil as invited speakers at conferences and were able to meet with Embrapa units working in parallel research and discuss partnerships and interact with Embrapa personnel. The Labex-USA program continued the dialogue with the Embrapa International Relations office to advance the “reverse-Labex” concept so that administrative issues are worked out prior to ARS researchers being placed in Embrapa labs, if or when funds are available to carry-out projects that are better suited to be carried out in Brazil or Embrapa labs. Labex-USA also advanced dialogue in climate change research by facilitating a second workshop encompassing the ARS GRACEnet and REAP program where Embrapa researchers will be able to work with their own data in the CQESTR carbon accounting model. The Labex-USA program also began routing Embrapa “post-doc” awardees through it in order to find the best and most suitable hosts for their programs.