Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship Grants

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Purpose of this program:

To award grants to colleges and universities that have superior teaching and research competencies in the food and agricultural sciences to encourage outstanding students to pursue and complete a graduate degree at such institutions in an area of the food and agricultural sciences for which there is a national need for the development of scientific expertise. Therefore, institutions that currently have excellent programs of graduate study and research in the food and agricultural sciences dealing with targeted national needs are particularly encouraged to apply. Starting in fiscal year 1997, The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) will provide support on a biennial basis and combine appropriations from 2 fiscal years into one competition to be held during odd-numbered years.

Possible 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.

Who is eligible to apply...

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.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

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.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

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.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

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.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...


Specific deadlines dates are announced in the request for applications or guidelines for each fiscal year.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 90 to 180 days.

Preapplication Coordination

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. 12372.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.



Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


None. Contingent upon appropriations, funds are allocated to provide support for doctoral fellows for 36 months and for masters fellows for 24 months.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

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.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Project Grants

The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, traineeships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

How much financial aid...

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.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Grants) FY 03 $3,093,044; FY 04 $2,767,574; and FY 05 est $2,767,574.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification


Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Grants for fellowships support are awarded to colleges and universities determined through peer review to be characterized by excellence in the chosen targeted need areas.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

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.

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.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants cover a 5-year period, however, fellows are supported for 3 years for a doctoral degree or 2 years for a masters during that 5-year period.

Formula and Matching Requirements


A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

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.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


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."

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


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 3 years thereafter.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



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.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

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.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office


Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters 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.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: