USDA‐NIFA supports research and extension activities at land‐grant institutions through federal funds that are appropriated to states on the basis of statutory, population‐based formulas. Formula grants are directed to state Agricultural Experiment Stations, the Cooperative Extension System, and Cooperative Forestry Programs. In most cases, the states are required to match the federal formula dollars with nonfederal contributions. The four research funding programs for land‐grant universities are Hatch, Multistate Research (a subset of Hatch), McIntire‐Stennis, and Animal Health and Disease.
Normally each faculty member with an experiment station appointment will have a Hatch or Multistate research project (although in some cases the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty members may also be supported on the McIntire‐Stennis Forestry Research Program or Animal Health & Disease Research program as appropriate). The purpose of the Hatch program is to support "research basic to problems of agriculture in its broadest aspects" The Hatch program encompasses areas ranging from soil and water conservation, to food safety to biotechnology and aquaculture, to animal and crop production. An individual project allows the faculty member to focus on clearly defined research and outreach appropriate to the goals of the Hatch program. Faculty who currently have or previously had a Hatch project have the option of joining or initiating a multistate research project which focuses on problems common to two or more states. Suggestions for multistate projects often originate with the interested scientists; however, directors of the various state agricultural experiment stations may establish technical committees to prepare a research project to address broadly recognized problems.
Why are projects required?
The Hatch, Multistate and other projects serve as an accounting link for the expenditure of funds within college and Federal Formula Fund accounts. Without an active project, faculty, student, staff and professional salaries cannot be paid and research operating expenses may not expended from these accounts, even if funds are available. For this reason, it is extremely important for faculty to initiate and maintain active projects. All experiment station (research) faculty salaries are totally or in part supported by Federal Formula Funds or the associated state matching funds thus they are required to maintain an active individual project or to participate in an approved Multistate project, and to abide by all reporting requirements established at the federal level. These requirements include writing a proposal, submitting annual progress reports and filing a termination report. Specific instructions for developing an individual project, writing and submitting annual accomplishment or termination reports, and the revised policy on multistate proposals are given under specific headings.
Based on our current policy, faculty members in CALS with 20 percent or more research appointment supported by the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station (VAES) are required to develop and maintain a Hatch research project. Hatch research projects encompass research activities that are carried out by one or more individuals at a single State Agricultural Experiment Station such as VAES. New faculty who have not previously had a Hatch project are required to have an individual Hatch project. In contrast, Multistate research projects involve cooperative, jointly planned multidisciplinary efforts on high priority topics of concern to several states, in collaboration with the USDA‐NIFA and possibly other agencies. The main purpose of multistate research projects is to promote interdisciplinary work, investigate problems that are too complex for a single state and stimulate exchange of ideas and collaboration among scientists.
To promote multidisciplinary collaboration, the VAES will now allow the faculty members who have previously had a personal Hatch project to count their Multistate research as their core project. In other words, those faculty members who are actively involved in Multistate research projects will no longer be required to have an individual Hatch project. Those who wish to maintain individual Hatch projects can still continue to do so. Faculty who are interested in participating in a Multistate project should contact Robin Williams for additional information.
Adapted from USDA/NIMSS