Spring is the season of new beginnings — not only for plant life, but for those who study it. Trees bud, wildflowers bloom and the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation begins accepting applications for a new round of research grants.
Each spring, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation welcomes university proposals for research projects with the greatest potential to benefit the California ornamental industry, including cut flowers, cut greens, nurseries, ornamental bedding plants and the like. Specifically, the foundation looks for research into improving the efficacy and lowering the cost of pest or disease control, new or novel sustainable methods of controlling thrips, new or emerging pests, new or emerging crop protection materials, and water quality, conservation and use efficiency.
The approximately three-month application, evaluation and award process begins this year on April 24, when KKRF will issue its request for proposals.
Researchers have until May 23 to file their initial proposals or letters of intent. Next, the KKRF Board of Trustees will review all submissions, narrow the field of applicants and ask some universities to file expanded proposals.
After reviewing the expanded proposals, trustees will choose the grant recipients. Grant recipients will be announced in early July.
In evaluating proposed research, the foundation’s trustees will consider such factors as whether a project is scientifically sound, is achievable in the time allotted and will yield benefits — preferably immediate benefits — to the floral industry. Proposals involving educational seminars in different growing areas are encouraged.
Founded more than a quarter-century ago and administered by the California Cut Flower Commission, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation works to enhance the market position of the California floriculture industry by conducting and promoting research and to provide education to the floriculture industry.
Each year, the foundation awards about $30,000 in research funds, with the money typically disbursed among two or three institutions.
KKRF’s most recent grant recipients were the University of California Davis, which received $15,000, and the University of Minnesota, which received $13,750.
In the past, KKRF-funded projects have included research into the use of ultraviolet-absorbing plastic film to control thrips, “soft” pesticides in controlling nematodes in cut roses and technologies and practices for limiting nonpoint source pollution and stormwater runoff.