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Impact of Federal Capacity Funds

Whether it be investments in research to combat invasive species or outreach efforts to build healthier communities, Federal Capacity Funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provide vital support for a broad base of critically important programs that address local, state and national issues. At Cornell University, no other source of continuous funding addresses such a broad array of real-time, real-world issues important to our citizens, our food supply, our environment, and our future.

The $6 million project portfolio managed by Cornell AES supports an average of 175 researchers in three colleges. If projects also include an outreach and extension component, they might receive additional funding from Cornell Cooperative Extension, who manages Federal Capacity Funds from the Smith-Lever program.

In addition to directly addressing a range of important issues facing our region and especially New York State, funded research projects also enable faculty to be more competitive in applying for subsequent research funding from other sources.

Read about the impacts of selected projects from previous funding cycles below. 

Impacts of Research Funded by Federal Capacity Funds

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Trees in a city

Helping urban trees to adapt to climate change

Nov 15, 2019

Almost 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas and depends on the essential ecological, economic, and social benefits provided by urban trees and forests. This project strengthens the health of trees in cities by evaluating and carefully selecting suitable tree species, and by transforming compact urban soils to help trees thrive long-term in a challenging environment. Impact statement - urban trees

Corn field next to a creek

Reducing nitrogen runoff from farmland

Aug 16, 2019

Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient in agricultural production, but excess nitrogen runoff creates chronic pollution in coastal ecosystems. This project aims to reduce nitrogen pollution by engineering field-based bioreactors, and identifying the conditions under which they work best. Impact statement - denitrification

Baby chicks

Researchers use algae-based animal feed to produce healthier meat

Jan 22, 2019

Feeding chicks with algal biomass, left after biofuel fermentation, increases the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the chicken. This provides added health benefits to the public, while reducing the need for soybean or corn-based chicken feed. Impact statement - algae-based animal feed