Project Requirements & Review

Researchers should carefully consider Horticultural Research Institute’s reporting and funding policies as they begin the application process.


Financial Requirements

Horticultural Research Institute grants may be used only for the direct costs of the project; the researcher may not use these funds to pay for general or administrative expenses. Funding is awarded annually. Grant recipients seeking additional support must complete the competitive grant application process for additional funding.

Award amounts:

  • Traditionally grants have been awarded in amounts: $5,000 - $35,000. Occasionally, HRI awards larger grants.
  • Researchers are not required to match the funds provided by HRI.
  • Researchers are asked to provide minimum and maximum funding levels in their proposals. This is an opportunity for the applicant to state at what level the research could still complete some of the research, if HRI could not fully support the maximum request.

Contracts and timing: Funds are allocated only after both parties sign the HRI Financial Aid Agreement.

  • Funds are generally distributed between April and June of each year.
  • Projects may begin before the release of funds.

Changes to project timing and funding:

  • No cost extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Contact Jennifer Gray for details.
  • Unspent funds may remain the property of the researcher, to be used in furtherance of the supervising institution’s horticultural research program, with permission of HRI. Contact Jennifer Gray for details.
  • HRI is not responsible for payment of any amount other than the financial assistance specifically set forth in the Agreement.

Plant Breeding Research Policy

The introduction of new plant material and cultivars into the marketplace is critical to the continued success and viability of the nursery, greenhouse, garden center, and landscape industry. Currently there exist a number of individual and group proprietary programs available to breed and market ornamental plant material with desirable ornamental characteristics including flower form, color, plant shape and foliage.

There are limited resources and financial incentives in the private sector to provide the long term and more fundamental genetic and germplasm development that concentrates on non-ornamental characteristics of plant material.

It shall be the policy of HRI to give preferential consideration to germplasm, plant breeding and cultivar enhancement research efforts that focus on developing resistance to biotic (insect and disease pests), tolerant of abiotic stresses (heat, drought, cold hardiness, urban sites, poor soils, etc.), invasiveness and adaptation to climate change. In addition, where intellectual property and patent opportunities arrive from such funded research efforts, HRI will engage with collaborative research partners where intellectual property and patent rights can be shared, such as CRADA opportunities with USDA Agricultural Research Service.

(adopted November 19, 2008 by the HRI Executive Committee)

Reporting Requirements

Horticultural Research Institute requires reports for each grant awarded.  In addition to reports, HRI will request that "popular-press" style articles be submitted for inclusion in HRI’s printed and electronic communication tools. This is an important step in communicating the required “applied advice” to the industry and meeting grant requirements.

Reports for FY2017 projects will be due on the following schedule (subject to change):

  • Progress Report: September 1, 2017
  • Interim Report: April 15, 2018
  • Final Report: Project Completion (no later than December 31, 2018)
  • HRI strongly encourages submission of final papers in the Journal of Environmental Horticulture

Document Downloads


Final Report Instructions and Template

Interim Report Instructions & Template

Review Process

Researchers will receive electronic confirmation in response to your submitted proposal. This confirmation will state your submission has been received and a confirmation number for your application will be provided. If you do not receive a confirmation from HRI, please contact Jill Calabro.

HRI has a three-phase review process.

  1. Researchers seeking project support must meet HRI’s industry-approved standards for value, impact and accountability.
  2. Green industry leaders evaluate the significance and economic usefulness of projects.
  3. HRI’s scientific advisory panel assesses a project's feasibility and methodology.

The final selection of applications takes place in November and December. HRI will contact applicants regarding their proposal's status in January. Funding for selected projects is issued at the discretion of the HRI Executive Committee and dependent upon acceptance of HRI's financial aid agreement between the researcher and relevant institutions.

HRI does share review comments regarding the outcome of your proposals if they are available. Applicants have access to the comments and scores once awards have been announced. Please contact Jill Calabro for more information on your proposal.