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LGU2U Initiative


NIFA’s relocation to Kansas City, MO created a significant need to strengthen long-term relationships, rebuild shared culture, impart knowledge, and renew essential partnerships between Land-grant Universities (LGUs) and NIFA. NIFA has rapidly restaffed and rebuilt with a workforce that reflects a wide range of prior experience and varying familiarity with LGU’s mission, functions, and administrative procedures. The LGUs are key NIFA stakeholders and partners in the capacity grant and other unique programs. Good working relationships between LGUs and NIFA are extremely valuable to both. Together, the LGUs and NIFA believe an investment to reinvigorate and reimagine this historic partnership will benefit both parties and all stakeholders by synergistically enhancing our missions and catalyzing our capacity to build a better future. Hence, the creation and implementation of the LGU2U Initiative with NIFA.

The LGU2U Initiative will reinforce and enhance the unique relationship between LGUs and NIFA through active learning and engagement resulting in a strengthened and vibrant partnership.

As NIFA rebuilds its staff, processes, and systems, this presents an important opportunity for both partners. As USDA’s premier stakeholder-driven extramural science funding agency, how well NIFA functions and partners with the LGUs is a timely and critically important metric. Initially, the North Central (NC) LGUs, through the LGU2U Initiative, are offering to have their experienced workforce accelerate this rebuilding to improve our partnership with unique opportunities to jointly grow, continuously improve our processes and achieve shared success.

This pilot program is being initiated by the North Central Cooperative Extension Association (NCCEA) and North Central Regional Association (NCRA). It offers virtual sessions led by North Central LGU staff and leaders strategically matching LGU financial expertise with NIFA’s Office of Grants and Financial Management (OGFM) in Phase I and with LGU administrators and NIFA’s program professionals in Phase II. The goal of LGU2U is to accelerate the onboarding process and help to restore the agency’s institutional knowledge and capacity to engage with LGUs and other partner institutions. North Central LGUs and NIFA will jointly commit to long-term partnership improvements. As this pilot program is successfully refined, other programs and people contacts will occur nationally and would be engaged in future versions of the LGU2U program.

Phase I (NIFA OGFM and LGU Financial Officers):

Session A, NIFA OGFM 2U

Session I​, Partnerships Across LGUs and NIFA

Session II​, Funding Connections and Programming

Session III, Accountability and Compliance 

  • November 17, 2021, 9:30 to 11:00 am CT (10:30 am to 12:00 noon ET) 

  • Generously led by Purdue University, IN: Bernie Engel, Matt Clawson, Susan Kremer, Beth Siple

  • Speaker Bios

  • Recorded Session:

  • Breakout Group Feedback Summary

  • Slideshows:

    • Management of USDA NIFA Funding, presented by: Matt Clawson, Susan Kremer, Beth Siple; Purdue University​

    • NIFA Funds Cycle, presented by: Matthew Faulkner, Deputy Director, NIFA OGFM; Joseph Perez, Acting Branch Chief, Policy POD; Linda Cambron, Acting Branch Chief, Capacity AMD; Peter Reeves, Branch Chief, Oversight POD 

Session IV: Sustaining the Partnership

Supporting Materials: 

Phase I Initiative Leadership:

Phase II (NIFA Program Professionals and LGU Administrators):

Session 1: Historical Underpinnings of the Partnership Between USDA and LGUs

Session 2: Integration of Capacity and Competitive Funds for Supporting Programming and Research Activities

Session 3: Priority Setting—How LGUs and NIFA Set Their Science Priorities

Supporting Materials: 

Phase II Initiative Leadership:

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