In order to provide real-world solutions to problems associated with mycobacterial diseases of animals that are based on scientific excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration, we seek to implement innovative ways to leverage intellectual, financial and scientific resources.  We hope to accomplish this by (i) Organizing the MDA CAP as a dynamic research and development consortium with the aim of supporting and facilitating investigator-directed research; (ii) Developing shared core resources to support innovative research and training activities; (iii) Enhancing translational research capacity for developing and validating diagnostic tests, vaccines, and disease management concepts;  (iv) Serving as a resource for qualified investigators from academia, regulatory agencies, and industry; (v) Helping create a mechanism to provide developmental support to investigators; (vi) Providing information and scientific support for the development of a strong extension and education program for bTB and JD prevention and disease control to key stakeholders; and (vii) Building on collaborations with international partners and developing an innovative undergraduate research program for students from minority serving institutions (MSIs) along with educational programming for graduate students in one-health and animal disease education.

At the inception of NE-1201, we agreed on major programmatic objectives and initial project leaders, as well as defined specific short and medium term research objectives that were further refined during the annual meeting of project participants in October of 2013 and then again in a CAP planning workshop during March of 2014.   In brief, we prioritized projects through four lenses, and asked whether the projects were likely to be: (i) Transformative – did these have high potential for impact, change paradigms, or address a critical unmet need in MDA; (ii) Distinctive – would these be difficult to support through traditional funding mechanisms; (iii) Collaborative – would these promote truly interdisciplinary research, education or outreach activities; and, (iv) Catalytic – would these provide a strong foundation for developing future extramurally funded research, training, or extension activities.  Through this rigorous process, we were able to define key motivating factors for seven strategic program areas in which to devote our efforts for the MDA-CAP (see Table).
As already successfully implemented under the JDIP program, each project is continually evaluated through a rigorous process of scientific and external stakeholder review, and based on documentation of progress towards achieving goals.  Projects may be continued per original plan, modified, or redirected to a higher priority program or project.  This approach empowers the community, enables programmatic integration on an unprecedented scale, and provides flexibility in making funding decisions through regular peer-review and stakeholder input even after initiation of the project.  Together, this not only distinguishes the proposed MDA-CAP from other USDA-AFRI competitive programs, but also enables an extraordinary leveraging of funds and return on investment for USDA not typically possible through traditional funding mechanisms.
In the adjacent schematic and detailed in the sections below, we present an overview of the proposed research, extension and education projects and core activities for MDA-CAP. These activities are cross-cutting, with shared activities that enable leveraging of resources. We note that, consistent with our commitment to promoting the best science and ensuring flexibility in the decision making process, the projects and activities described in the following pages will be subject to a final stringent peer-review process prior to approval of the work-plans.
For more information on the MDA-CAP project, please email Vivek Kapur, or Paul Coussens.