The Center for Produce Safety issued its ninth call for research proposals Jan. 15. Executive director Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli said the center could award nearly $3 million in this round of funding.

“That’s the goal,” she said. “Last year, we were a little over that amount.”

Since it announced its first grants in 2008, the Center has awarded $13.6 million, funding 85 research projects at 27 institutions in four countries.

Researchers have until March 14 to submit proposals for this round of funding. Fernandez-Fenaroli said the projects selected likely will be announced in September.

The center’s research priorities contain broad, core questions that affect the entire industry, such as issues related to agricultural water, but the center also hopes to address issues specific to some of its partners, including California Leafy Greens Research Board and the Almond Board of California.

During the center’s 2014 Research Symposium, which is scheduled for June 24-25 in Newport Beach, Calif., attendees will hear results from research projects that have ended as well as updates about projects that are ongoing.

Last year’s symposium marked the first time the event had been expanded to a two-day format. Fernandez-Fenaroli, who noted that change was made after requests from participants, said that likely will be the format going forward.

“We’ll have two very full days,” she said. “We’ll evaluate and discuss how to use the information from the research so people will know how to take it home and use it in their own.