PUBLIC LAW 107-368—DEC. 19, 2002 116 STAT. 3041 (ii) that accelerate the use of new knowledge and innovative technologies toward a more complete understanding of basic biological processes in plants, especially in economically important plants such as com and soy- beans. (B) Regional plant genome and gene expression research centers to conduct research and dissemination activities that may include— (i) basic plant genomics research and genomics applications, including those related to cultivation of crops in extreme environments and to cultivation of crops with reduced reliance on fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides; (ii) basic research that will contribute to the development or use of innovative plant-derived products; (iii) basic research on alternative uses for plants and plant materials, including the use of plants as renewable feedstock for alternative energy production and nonpetroleum-based industrial chemicals and precursors; and (iv) basic research and dissemination of information on the ecological and other consequences of genetically engineered plants. Competitive, merit-based awards for centers under this subparagraph shall be to consortia of institutions of higher education or nonprofit organizations. The Director shall, to the extent practicable, ensure that research centers established under this subparagraph collectively examine as many different agricultural environments as possible, enhance the excellence of existing Foundation programs, and focus on plants of economic importance. (C) Research partnerships to focus on— (i) basic genomic research on crops grown in the developing world; (ii) basic plant genome research that will advance and expedite the development of improved cultivars, including those that are pest-resistant, produce increased yield, reduce the need for fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides, or have increased tolerance to stress; (iii) basic research that could lead to the development of technologies to produce pharmaceutical compounds such as vaccines and medications in plants that can be grown in the developing world; and (iv) research on the impact of plant biotechnology on the social, political, economic, health, and environmental conditions in countries in the developing world. Competitive, merit-based awards for partnerships under this subparagraph shall be to institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, or consortia of such entities that enter into a partnership that shall include one or more research institutions in one or more developing nations, and that may also include for-profit companies involved in plant biotechnology. The Director, by means of outreach, shall encourage inclusion of historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribally controlled colleges and universities, Alaska Native-serving institutions, and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions in consortia that enter into such partnerships.