Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.
Since its inception in 1985, this program has supported Fellows in six areas of the food and agricultural sciences deemed critical to agricultural research and teaching. Recent targeted need areas are Animal Biotechnology; Food Science; Food, Forest Products, or Agricultural Engineering; Agribusiness Marketing or Management; Human Nutrition; Plant Biotechnology; and Water Science. An example: One Fellow who conducted research leading to a dissertation on the heat and mass transfer of hygroscopic porous materials, is now a university Assistant Professor.
Uses and Use Restrictions
Competitive annual grants providing for a limited number of graduate stipends are awarded to selected U. S. institutions of higher education so as to distribute support for graduate study to promising food and agricultural scientists and professionals.
Individuals selected initially by the institution must enroll in a program leading to a graduate, master's or doctoral degree in one of the targeted national needs areas of the food and agricultural sciences.
Such persons may not have been enrolled previously in the program at the same degree level.
Current fellows are eligible to receive supplemental grants of $3,000 to cover travel and living expenses for special international study or thesis/dissertation research experiences.
Funding for the supplemental grants will be awarded on a competitive basis using no-year funds drawn from expired fellowship grants with unspent funds remaining as set forth in the annual program guidelines.
Proposals may be submitted by all U.S.
colleges and universities that confer a master's or doctoral degree in at least one area of the food and agricultural sciences targeted for national needs fellowships.
As defined in Section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended (7 U.S.C.
3103), the terms "college" and "university" mean "an educational institution in any State which: (a) Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate; (b) is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education; (c) provides an educational program for which a bachelor's degree or any other higher degree is awarded; (d) is a public or other nonprofit institution; and (e) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association." Eligibility also applies to research foundations maintained by eligible colleges or universities.
Funds awarded in this program are used to support the training of graduate students to obtain either a master's or doctoral degree in one of the targeted specializations of the food and agricultural sciences.
Each prospective grantee institution must furnish the information and assurance specified in the guidelines. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
Aplication and Award Process
All proposal solicitations are published on the Agency's Web site.
This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No.
A-102 and E.O.
Formal proposal to the Office of Extramural Programs, CSREES, USDA, as outlined in the guidelines. Application procedures are contained in the Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowships Grant Application Kit. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110 as implemented by 7 CFR Part 3019. Starting in fiscal year 1997, CSREES will provide support on a biennial basis and combine appropriations from two fiscal years into one competition to be held during odd-numbered years.
CSREES Higher Education Program staff members review and evaluate all proposals with the assistance and advice of a peer panel of qualified scientists, administrators, and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Proposals are accepted in order of merit to the extent permitted by available funds.
Specific deadlines dates are announced in the request for applications or guidelines for each fiscal year.
National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977, as amended, Section 1417b(b)(6), Public Law 95-113, 7 U.S.C. 3152.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
From 90 to 180 days.
None. Contingent upon appropriations, funds are allocated to provide support for doctoral fellows for 36 months and for masters fellows for 24 months.
Formula and Matching Requirements
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grants cover a five-year period, however, fellows are supported for three years for a doctoral degree or two years for a masters during that five-year period.
Post Assistance Requirements
Documentation of fellowship appointments (Form CSRS-707) must be submitted by project directors upon request of CSREES.
A graduate fellow exit report (Form CSRS-709) must be submitted by project directors for each fellow supported by a grant as soon as a fellow is: (a) Graduated; or (b) officially terminated from the program.
Audits will be conducted in accordance with guidelines established in the revised OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," and implemented in 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations."
Grantees are expected to maintain separate records for each grant to insure that funds are used for the purpose for which the grant was made. Records are subject to inspection during the life of the grant and for three years thereafter.
(Grants) FY 07 $3,506,539; FY 08 est $4,276,800; and FY 09 est not reported.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Minimum and maximum amounts of funding per grant, as well as stipend levels, are established by the annual program announcement.
Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature
7 CFR Part 3402 (52 FR 4712, February 13, 1987, as amended by 55 FR 2214, January 22, 1990); Application Kit for the Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowships Grants; 7 CFR Part 3015, USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations; 7 CFR Part 3017, Government wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and Government wide Requirements for Drug- Free Workplace (Grants); 7 CFR Part 3018, Restrictions on Lobbying; and 7 CFR Part 3019, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.
Regional or Local Office
National Program Leader; Higher Education Programs; Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, USDA; 1400 Independence Avenue, SW; STOP 2251, Washington, DC 20250-2251; Telephone: (202)720-7854.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
(1) The degree to which the proposal clearly establishes that the proposed program of graduate training will result in the development of outstanding scientific/professional expertise related to the national need area and in a reasonable period of time; (2) the degree to which the proposed program of study reflects special features such as a combination-disciplinary, approach (inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary or cross-disciplinary), a unique collateral specialization in a related discipline, experimental learning opportunities, a unique mentoring program, seminars, or a multi-university collaborative approach; (3) the degree to which the proposal establishes that the institution's faculty, facilities and equipment, instructional support resources, and other attributes are excellent for providing outstanding graduate study and research at the forefront of science and technology related to the chosen area of national need; (4) the degree to which the institution's plans and procedures for recruitment and selection of academically outstanding fellows and for monitoring and facilitating fellow's progress through a program of study reflect excellence as documented in the proposal; (5) the degree to which supporting summary data substantiate program quality in the targeted national need area; and (6) the quality of the proposal as reflected by its substantive content, organization, clarity, and accuracy; (7) any additional evaluation criteria as cited in the annual program announcement published in the Federal Register.
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