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Reducing crop damage and maximizing production through the use of micro climate technology

Request for Proposals – third party research contract

Summary

In initial stages of the PEI COPC Organic Industry Research Coordination Project development, PEI COPC members identified the availability/accessibility of environmental sensors to monitor micro climate variables, such as greenhouse temperature, as a priority for on-farm research and management. Toward this end, the PEI COPC Research Coordinator seeks to establish a contract with expert hardware/software developers for third-party research that would carry out the following tasks in a Pilot Phase as part of the first year of the Organic Industry Research Coordination Project.

Specific tasks

  • Review of available platforms and relevant similar research, to be included in final report
  • Propose a budget for the provision of 3-5 pilot phase sensors, to align with the PEI Department of Agriculture & Fisheries Technology and Science Adoption Sub-Program and the PEI COPC Research Coordination Project
  • Develop hardware & software components of automated temperature measurement sensors, including threshold-based warning, data archiving & visualization systems, making use of in-kind resources available from the UPEI Climate Lab as beneficial
  • Calibrate temperature sensors to weather stations/sensors currently used by UPEI Climate Lab
  • Install, maintain and monitor pilot phase sensors, adapting system as necessary to improve data flow and usability
  • Work with PEI COPC Research Coordinator to enable data archiving in a format conducive to easy input into crop phenology/pest emergence models for 2016 spring/growing season
  • Work with PEI COPC Research Coordinator to develop relevant on-farm research protocol/manual related to sensor use
  • With PEI COPC Research Coordinator, lead relevant session of PEI COPC cooperator-researcher meeting ( Dec. 7-8, TBC), presenting work done & results, answering member questions, and identifying potential next (Phase 1) directions & participants
  • Keep in regular contact with PEI COPC Research Coordinator throughout, with updates and questions
  • Submit final report by December 11th, compiling and discussing results and next directions

Timeline

  • Funding applications to the Technology and Science Adoption Sub-Program will be submitted by the PEI COPC Research Coordinator in August, requiring first a budget for sensor components from contracted researchers
  • Pilot sensors should be installed by September, to allow time for preliminary data acquisition and feedback from participating farmers during the current growing season, noting that sensor/software adaptations will be made as necessary on an ongoing basis throughout the fall
  • On-farm research protocol/manual will be prepared in advance of the PEI COPC cooperator-researcher meeting in early December
  • This pilot phase is expected to be carried out from now to December 2015, concluding with the final report submission on/before December 11th

Please submit a proposal with a detailed budget, including research consulting fees and other foreseen expenses, specifying how you would accomplish the above research goals, as well as any other relevant information to research [at] organicpei [dot] com. Where multiple consultants will be involved, please indicate on which aspects of the project each will lead or be involved.