• Mountain pine beetle damaged forest
    Mountain pine beetle is the #1 TIS in Minnesota

MITPPC announces Request for Pre-Proposals

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 prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources.” Funds provided through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund directed to the MITPPC are to support applied research in terrestrial invasive species’ biology and management by faculty, post-doctoral associates, and graduate students. The success of the MITPPC will be determined by the impact that the Center’s research has on management of terrestrial invasive species in Minnesota.

  • Priorities. Pre-proposals should directly address one or more high-priority invasive terrestrial plants or pests and one or more research themes identified by the MITPPC’s prioritization process. Those priorities are summarized in this RFP. Projects that are primarily educational will not be funded by the MITPPC, but individuals supported by the MITPPC are expected to engage in outreach and education.
  • Eligibility. Faculty 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, 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). No funding may be transferred to cooperating institutions outside of the University of Minnesota.
  • Funding availability. At least $1.5 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 the fall of 2018.
  • Deadline to submit proposals. April 30, 2018 (4:30 PM) Electronic submissions are required. Pre-proposals should be submitted to Heather Koop, Associate Director, Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center, Principal investigators will receive confirmation when their pre-proposal is received.
  • Questions? Program and scientific questions should be directed to Dr. Robert Venette, Director, MITPPC,; 612-301-1405. Administrative questions should be directed to Heather Koop, Associate Director, MITPPC,; 612-626-1914.

Please note that the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) is 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.

MITPPC announces three new terrestrial invasive species research project funded from ML 2016 Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund.

Fungi in ash trees: towards protecting trees from emerald ash borer and new diseases, $500,000 to Robert Blanchette, Plant Pathology, CFANS. This research will investigate and identify the fungi associated with emerald ash beetles and their ash treegalleries, identify potential canker causing fungi for their pathogenicity to ash and decay fungi evaluated for their degradation potential for possible bio-control for this pest. Cooperators include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the USDA-ARS.

Understanding the benefits and limitations of using goats for invasive plant control, $445,533 to Tiffany Wolf, Veterninary Population Medicine, CVM. Our goals are to 1) assess the efficacy of goat browsing for invasive species control, 2) determine the effects of goat browsing on native plant abundance and community composition, and 3) assess whether goose grazing can be utilized to lower the incidence of P. tenuis in goats by reducing gastropod abundance. Cooperators include Goat Dispatch and the University of Tennessee.

Genetic control of invasive insect species: Phase I, $296,655, Michael Smanski, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics and Biotechnology Institute, CBS. This research project will develop species-specific barriers to reproduction of the spotted wing drosophila, a significant pest of fruit growers. The biocontrol technology will constitute an important component of Integrated Pest Management strategies for this pest.

Buckthorn: Uniting Farmers and Foresters, Scientists and Citizens

A half-day symposium with presentations by leading scholars in forest health, entomology, plant pathology and public land managers was held on the UMN St. Paul campus on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Speakers addressed current research into buckthorn's effects on the natural and agricultural environments. This inter-disciplinary, applied research focused symposium will recommend research questions to the MITPPC for future funding considerations. A white paper describing the recommendations will be forthcoming.

MITPPC announces publication of white paper on the relationship between soybean aphid and prairie butterflies

The Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center and the Institute on the Environment co-sponsored a symposium on the relationship between soybean aphids and prairie butterflies. The event was the first time that scientists working on prairie butterflies and soybean aphids in Minnesota had met to discuss issues of mutual concern. Presentations from the symposium may be accessed on the Center's YouTube channel. The report's recommendation to the MITPPC is to "vigorously" assess and test the hypothesis that the potentially harmful effects of soybean aphid insecticide drift has led to the decline in prairie butterfly populations in the last ten years.