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FAQs

1. Why do I need an Experiment Station Project?

You need an Experiment Station Project if you are a faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) with a research appointment > 5% or you receive significant funding administered through the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station (aka the Ag Experiment Station (AES), aka the Experiment Station).

Federal (Hatch) and state funds for research projects are used to support salaries for scientists and their support staff (technicians, graduate research assistants, scientists, etc.), and are budgeted from the Experiment Station in proportion to their research appointment. Experiment Station funds expand CALS capacity to conduct needed research (Hatch funds are commonly called 'capacity funds'). Because funds are from both state and federal sources, a federal reporting system has been developed to account for all Experiment Station expenditures.

All research sponsored by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) must be entered into the NIFA Reporting System (NRS). NRS stores the project description and is where Project Directors (PD) enter and submit annual progress reports.  These reports are used to prepare University reports and are frequently accessed by legislative staff and by scientists in related fields.

AES expenses (salaries, equipment, expense/supplies) are tracked in Workday, so it's important to associate the correct Worktag and DD code with each line item.

 

2. What is a Hatch Project?

A Hatch Project is a "plan of work" for Ag Experiment Station (AES) faculty and serves as an umbrella for all research activities of AES faculty members. The funding sources (i.e., federal Hatch/Multistate funds and the required state matching dollars) require AES faculty to 'be on a project' in the form of a Hatch project.
Projects provide a means to ensure that the proposed research aligns with identified critical issues and a means to report progress on research conducted at AES facilities. 

 

3. How do I get a Hatch Project?

Contact AES support team at aes_research@iastate.edu with the type of program you would like to join: Hatch, Hatch multistate, Animal Health, or McIntire-Stennis.   
It's always best to start the process earlier than later, it can take between 2 and 8 weeks before NIFA approves the project and research can begin.

 

4. When am I considered to have an official Hatch Project?

A Hatch Project is not official, and research may not begin until NIFA approves it. 

 

5. How do I know my Hatch Project is still active?

Hatch Projects are active for up to five years. The PD of the project takes the lead to ensure the project is active. If you are unsure, contact AES staff at: aes_research@iastate.edu.

 

6. Why should I file a Project/Results report?

Once a project has been approved by NIFA, you have entered into essentially a contract between yourself and NIFA.  You agree to perform research on the topic in the proposal and report results annually.  Future NIFA grants may not be awarded if you are a PD or co-PD on a project that has a delinquent report.

 

7. How do I know if my report is a Progress Report or a Final Report?

Competitive grants require annual progress reports with a final report the last year of the grant.  These are located in REEport.
Hatch, Hatch multistate, McIntire-Stennis, and Animal Health projects require an annual report in NRS.  The last year of the project should include highlights from previous annual reports, all wrapped up in one larger report.
Contact aes_research@iastate.edu if you are not sure. 

 

8. When do I file my reports?

Hatch/Multistate, McIntire-Stennis, and Animal Health Projects are generally due around December15.  These reports cover the federal fiscal year starting on October 1 of the previous year and ending on September 30 of the current year, e.g., 10/1/2021 - 9/30/2022.
NIFA competitive grants are due within 60 days before to 90 days after the anniversary/termination date.

 

9. What happens if I do not make an annual report?

Future NIFA grants may not be awarded; internal funding opportunities and multistate travel funds all look at the current project report status. If you are a PD or co-PD on a project that has a delinquent report these opportunities may not be available to you.