The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture this week announced the availability of more than $15 million for pre- and post-doctoral and undergraduate fellowships to develop the next generation of agricultural scientists.
"As we look to the future and addressing challenges such as food and nutritional security, environmental sustainability, and health, we will need highly skilled scientists to address these concerns," said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "Fellowships at this level are an excellent way to give tomorrow's leaders the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to be successful and make a difference."
Funded fellowships will span the six AFRI challenge areas (food security, water, climate change, food safety, childhood obesity prevention, and sustainable bioenergy) and the AFRI foundational program areas.
The fellowship program also will fund projects that contain mentoring and training activities. NIFA will fund single-function and multi-function research, education or extension projects.
This is the first year NIFA has offered funding to academic institutions to promote research and extension experiential learning for undergraduates.
Undergraduate fellows will obtain hands-on experience and training and receive strong mentoring to assist them in joining the workforce or for pursuing graduate studies. Additionally, the undergraduate fellowships will provide opportunities for students from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups at minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities to obtain hands-on experience and training at larger universities and USDA laboratories.
Pre- and post-doctoral fellowships serve as a conduit for new scientists and professionals to enter research, education and extension fields within the food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences.
Applications for the pre- and post-doctoral fellows are due on February 11, 2015. Letters of intent for the undergraduate fellowships are due on February 18, 2015, with full applications due May 6, 2015.