MAFF has received 12 tenders for a research contract to investigate the health effects of organophosphorus sheep dips.
The contract was re-advertised after MAFF rejected 13 earlier proposals, including one from researchers at Porton Down chemical weapons research centre.
Junior farm minister Angela Browning said she had been advised that the quality of proposals was "considerably improved". The research contract would be announced "as soon as possible".
MAFF is also planning a study on alternatives to chemicals for ectoparasite control and work on new vaccines for the control of sheep scab.