WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Jody Hice (R-GA), who represents the University of Georgia, recently urged the U.S. Department of Energy and the Trump Administration to release critical grant funds awarded to UGA and Pennsylvania State University. The project, “DEEPER: An Integrated Phenotyping Platform for Deeper Rooting,” is part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration (ROOTS) program, which is aimed at developing cutting-edge technologies to improve productivity, resilience, and sustainability of deep-rooted crops. Following the work of Congressman Hice, his staff, and university officials, funding for the DEEPER project has proceeded to the contracting phase and will soon be released.
“The continued success of the University of Georgia in garnering grants is a direct result of the quality and caliber of its students and faculty and their determined efforts to seek funding for projects that improve science and technology,” said Congressman Hice. “I’m pleased that the Department of Energy has reconsidered its position to delay already authorized research funding and will release the grant allocation for the DEEPER project. I look forward to learning of its developments as we build a better energy future.
“We are grateful for Congressman Hice’s help and participation in releasing the funding for this vital project,” said Griffin Doyle, Vice President for Government Relations at the University of Georgia. “This grant will benefit UGA and Penn State to design and conduct a low-cost integrated system to identify and screen high-yielding deeper rooted crops.”
Researchers at the University of Georgia and Penn State received the $7 million grant from the Department of Energy through a Cooperative Agreement in January, and the funding for the project was initially set to be released on May 1st, 2017. In April, the Trump Administration imposed a freeze on ARPA-E grants and contracts pending further review.