More than $15 million in fellowships has been set aside by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The funds are intended to support pre- and post-doctoral fellowships––and for the first time––undergraduate fellowships as well. The goal of these fellowships is “to train and develop the next generation of scientists who will lead agriculture into the future by solving current and future challenges facing society.”

Funded fellowships will span the six Agriculture and Food Research Initiative challenge areas

  1. Childhood Obesity Prevention
  2. Climate Change
  3. Food Safety
  4. Food Security
  5. Sustainable Bioenergy
  6. Water

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. The aim of these fellowships is to cultivate future leaders who are able to address and solve emerging agricultural challenges of the 21st century.