Science-based solutions to protect Minnesota's prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources
Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center
The Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) was established by the Minnesota Legislature “to research and develop methods to prevent and minimize the threats posed by terrestrial invasive plants, other weeds, pathogens, and pests in order to protect the state’s prairie’s, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources.” Funds provided through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund directed to MITPPC are to support applied research in terrestrial invasive species’ biology and management. The success of MITPPC will be determined by the impact that the funded research has on the management of terrestrial invasive species in Minnesota.
Pre-proposals should directly address one or more high-priority invasive terrestrial species identified by MITPPC’s prioritization process and one or more research themes. Those priorities are summarized in this RFP. Projects that are primarily educational will not be funded by MITPPC, but individuals supported by MITPPC are expected to engage in outreach and education. 
Faculty, staff, and postdocs with the authority to serve as principal investigators at all University of Minnesota campuses and Research and Outreach Centers are invited to submit pre-proposals. Multidisciplinary projects are strongly encouraged but not required. Researchers or managers from other academic, governmental, tribal, or private institutions are strongly encouraged to serve as cooperators. Proposals should include one or more implementation partners (i.e., representatives of organizations who are likely to use results from the project).  Collaborations with members of Indigenous communities are strongly encouraged. Appropriate Native Nations must be consulted during the pre-proposal development stage for proposed studies on reservation land. No funding may be transferred to cooperating institutions outside of the University of Minnesota, other than through contracts.
Up to $5 million will be allocated to new or continuing projects under this request for pre-proposals. A single pre-proposal may be for up to $150,000 per year for a maximum of four years. Funding is primarily to support graduate students and postdocs. Capital requests are not eligible. Funding is likely to begin in January 2023. Proposals for continued projects are not assured funding.
Each pre-proposal will be reviewed by a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and will be evaluated upon the following criteria: 
Strategic and tactical decisions for the statewide management of terrestrial invasive species depend on accurate, detailed information about the geographic distribution of those species. Currently, many agencies and organizations in Minnesota are gathering information about the distribution of terrestrial invasive species to support internal decision-making. There is a growing recognition of the value of sharing information about the distribution of invasive plants and pests more broadly. Some tools already exist for this purpose. For example, EDDMapS (www.eddmaps.org) has been used as a clearinghouse for terrestrial invasive plant data for some state agencies. Such tools are useful for collecting presence points but do not “connect the dots” to show the complete, potential distribution of an invasive plant or pest. Maps that depict where terrestrial invasive species are present and abundant across the state are essential to coordinate regional terrestrial invasive species management plans and to evaluate the effectiveness of the activities conducted under those plans. 
Some terrestrial invasive species may not be reliably detected with typical approaches. Ground-based surveys are time and resource-intensive and are frequently limited to relatively small areas. Aerial surveys for widespread woody species, such as buckthorn, have been attempted but have yielded too many false positives to be useful. New approaches to reliably detect and identify priority species are needed.
Temperature and moisture conditions, land use patterns, and global trade activity in Minnesota have been changing over the past 100 years and are projected to continue to change. Each of these future conditions can directly or indirectly affect the distribution, abundance, and/or impact of terrestrial invasive species that are already present or might arrive in the state. Tools are needed to describe which terrestrial invasive species are likely to become more widespread, abundant, or damaging and which are likely to experience geographic range contractions, become less abundant, or have less impact in the next 30–100 years. These descriptions should be as spatially explicit as possible.
A variety of cultural, physical, mechanical, biological and chemical approaches are being used alone and in combinations to control terrestrial invasive species in Minnesota. Invasive species managers face a two-part challenge when choosing a course of action. First, managers must contend with difficult questions about what constitutes successful management. For example, while the timely application of appropriate herbicides is likely to kill targeted plants, is the treatment “successful” if seeds are so plentiful that the plant readily re-establishes itself in the following year or if the composition of the plant community does not “improve”?  Similarly, at what time- or spatial-scale should management be considered successful, for example, only within the treated area or over the entire range of the plant within the state?  Second, managers frequently have little information about the effectiveness of novel management tactics. For example, the use of large grazing animals (e.g., sheep, goats, and cattle) increasingly is proposed as a strategy for invasive plant management, yet reliable information about the effectiveness of generalist grazers is limited. New control options are needed, and their effectiveness rigorously evaluated, to ensure management goals are being met.
Socio-economic factors and human dimensions play a major role in the likelihood of new species arriving, the effectiveness of management strategies, factors motivating landowners and others to implement management strategies, and the consequences of new invasions. Research is needed to identify and measure the strength (i.e., propagule pressure) of different human-mediated pathways that might bring new species to Minnesota. This research will inform regulatory decisions to help prevent the arrival of new species and direct early-detection surveys to areas where initial introductions are most likely. 
In addition, decision-support tools are needed to determine the relative effectiveness of eradication, containment, or suppression strategies under various conditions, while accounting for uncertainties in our knowledge about an invading species and/or its response to management. 
More information is needed about the effectiveness of various educational, regulatory, economic, or other interventions to promote the implementation of management treatments by landowners. In other words, once effective treatment options are identified, what strategies are most effective to promote their implementation by landowners? Hypothesis-driven research is needed to understand what motivates landowners to invest in treatments individually or through partnerships. 
Finally, the economic impacts from invasive species frequently depend on micro- and macroeconomic forces and often dictate the appropriate level of investment in a management response. Research is needed to better characterize the realized and potential economic impacts of invasive species in Minnesota and to incorporate this information and associated uncertainties into scalable budgeting tools for management decisions.
The taxa prioritized for research are listed (alphabetically, by scientific name) in the three tables below. Based on the prioritization process used by MITPPC, these species of invertebrates, plants, and plant pathogens have been identified as posing the greatest threats to Minnesota’s natural and agricultural resources if left unmanaged. MITPPC’s list of prioritized species is updated at least biennially to reflect new species evaluated and new information. The most recent update is effective January 1, 2022, and reflects a ranking of over 200 species. For a complete list of all the species evaluated by MITPPC to date and more information on the prioritization and evaluation processes, click here.
Only the species listed below are eligible for research funding from MITPPC:   
Scientific Name
Common Name
Aster yellows phytoplasma
Ceratocystis fagacearum
Cronartium ribicola
Geosmithia morbida
Globodera pallida; G. rostochiensis
Heterobasidion irregulare
Heterodera latipons, H. filipjevi
Hymenoscyphus fraxineus
Ash dieback
Macrophomina phaseolina
Charcoal rot
Ophiostoma novo-ulmi
Phyllachora maydis
Phytophthora ramorum
Raffaelea quercivora
Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, biovar 2
 
Amaranthus palmeri
Palmer amaranth
Berberis x ottawensis (B. thunbergii x B. vulgaris)
Ottawa barberry
Bromus inermis; Poa pratensis
Cool season grasses (smooth brome, Kentucky bluegrass)
Centaurea stoebe subsp. micranthos; C. diffusa
Knapweeds (spotted, diffuse)
Cirsium arvense
Canada thistle
Euphorbia esula
Leafy spurge
Frangula alnus; Rhamnus cathartica
Buckthorn (glossy, common)
Gypsophila paniculata
Baby’s breath
Lonicera maackii; L. morrowii; L. tatarica; L. japonica
Honeysuckles
Lupinus polyphyllus
Large-leaved lupine
Microstegium vimineum
Japanese stiltgrass
Phragmites australis subsp. australis
European common reed
Robinia pseudoacacia
Black locust
Tanacetum vulgare
Common tansy
Typha x glauca; T. angustifolia
Non-native cattails (hybrid, narrowleaf)
 
Scientific Name
Common Name
Agrilus plannipennis; A. biguttatus
Flat-headed borers (emerald ash borer, oak splendor beetle)
Anoplophora glabripennis
Asian longhorned beetle
Aphis glycines
Soybean aphid
Dendroctonus ponderosae
Mountain pine beetle
Drosophila suzukii
Spotted wing drosophila
Eupoecilia ambiguella
European grape berry moth
Halyomorpha halys
Brown marmorated stink bug
Helicoverpa armigera
Old world bollworm
Lumbricus rubellus; Amynthas spp.
Non-native earthworms (leaf worm, jumping worms)
Lymantria dispar dispar; L. dispar asiatica
Lymantria dispar moths (European, Asian)
Popillia japonica
Japanese beetle
Scolytus schevyrewi; S. multistriatus
Elm bark beetles (banded, European)
Sirex noctilio
Sirex woodwasp
Spodoptera littoralis
Egyptian cottonworm
Tetropium fuscum
Brown spruce longhorned beetle
The pre-proposal must contain six components:
Provide a brief synopsis of the overall project’s goals and objectives, as well as anticipated outcomes. 
250 words
Construct a problem statement that addresses the necessity of the project, the context or problem to which it is responding, the urgency and the overall goals of the project, and the outcomes to be achieved.
1,000 words
Break the project into no more than three research activities. Provide a concise explanation of how each activity contributes to addressing the research hypothesis for priority themes and targeted invasive terrestrial species.
1,000 words
Describe how the research project will impact the management of invasive species, including how implementation partners will be involved in project development and implementation.
750 words
Provide a complete reference to each cited work. See the application guidance document (PDF) for details on how to format references.
Your budget must clearly account for how all requested funds would be used. We are required to follow LCCMR guidance on allowable expenses. Please review a detailed list of allowable expenses on the LCCMR website.
Proposals by post-docs or staff must include a faculty co-principal investigator. Faculty who agree to serve as a co-principal investigator must be the direct supervisor of the lead investigator and certify that they are willing and able to assume leadership of a project if the lead investigator leaves the University. 
Deadline: 4:30 PM on April 29, 2022 
Electronic submissions through MITPPC grant portal are required. Pre-proposals must be submitted through MITPPC online grant management portal at z.umn.edu/mitppcgrant. Principal investigators will receive confirmation when their pre-proposal is received.
4:30 PM on April 29, 2022
This request for pre-proposals is made possible by funding to MITPPC from the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). The LCCMR is also running a concurrent RFP, which encourages principal investigators from the University of Minnesota to apply for terrestrial invasive species research funding from MITPPC, when applicable.
Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center
1992 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
[email protected]

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