The USDA recently released an RFA for undergraduate research and extension experiential learning fellowships. This program is similar to the NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates). The USDA RFA is titled “Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative” and you can find the full request for applications online.
The purpose of the grant is to:
- Provide undergrads with hands-on experience in laboratories.
- Train undergraduates to join the agricultural workforce or pursue graduate school in the agricultural sciences.
- Mentor undergraduates in research and extension.
- Awards of up to a maximum of $300,000 and a period of up to for 3 years.
- Project costs must be predominantly for student support and up to a maximum of 30 undergraduates can be supported on any single proposal.
A competitive proposal will:
- Respond to one of the six NIFA foundational areas.
- Involve undergraduates in research and/or extension.
- Describe specific activities the students will complete.
- Explain the significance of the research/extension activities.
- Engage several faculty to serve as mentors.
- Recruit at least 50 percent of the undergrads from outside Virginia Tech.
Procedural highlights include:
- An internal pre-proposal due to CALS on Feb. 11 at noon.
- A letter of intent due to the USDA on Feb. 18 for the selected preproposals.
- The full proposal is due to the USDA on May 6.
This grant is a limited submission, so Virginia Tech can only submit three proposals. CALS is conducting an internal competition to select the three proposals that will be submitted to the USDA. The USDA will only award one per institution.
Please submit the pre-proposals no later than noon, Feb. 11 via email to Nancy Dudek.