$2-million research grant
By Catherine Doss
Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 07 - October 9, 1997
Virginia Tech's Office of International Research and Development (OIRD) has received a $2-million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Africa Bureau for a five-year project to design new methods of grasshopper and locust control.
The project will be carried out by a consortium of several international agencies with Virginia Tech serving as the lead organization. Other members of the consortium are the USDA Biological Control Laboratory, the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) based in Kenya, a FAO-UN locustox project in Senegal, the Ethiopia-based regional entity Desert Locust Control Organization (DLCO), and ACDI/VOCA (an NGO/PVO). The Virginia Tech-led consortium won the grant through open competition.
The project is titled "Development of Biopesticides for Grasshopper and Locust Control in Sub-Saharan Africa."
"These insects are devastating pests that often cause severe crop losses and famine throughout Africa, the arid, and semi-arid tropics," said OIRD Director S.K. DeDatta. "This project grant continues Virginia Tech's leadership in integrated pest management (IPM)/plant protection involving applied, basic, and strategic research."
"Virginia Tech has an excellent reputation in biological control of insects, and the funding of this grant should enhance its stature," said Tim Mack, head of the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech and co-principal investigator (co-PI) of this project. Other co-PI's include Don Mullins with the Department of Entomology and Sue Tolin and Herman Warren of the Department of Plant Pathology, Plant Physiology, and Weed Science. Larry Vaughan, research associate and special assistant to the director of OIRD, will provide technical support for the project during fiscal year 1998 and will also serve as project co-PI. DeDatta will serve as the project's principal investigator for administration. John T. Rifenbark of the USAID Africa Bureau will serve as the project manager.
With this newest grant, OIRD's current portfolio totals $22 million. Virginia Tech ranks in the top five among land-grant universities in garnering USAID funding for international agriculture projects. OIRD's projects include global, regional, and country-specific programs in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Ukraine, and Albania. These projects involve faculty members from Virginia Tech and collaborating land-grant universities as well as graduate students who often secure assistantships and funding for tuition and fees from project funding.
OIRD is part of the Outreach Division of the university.