(CLOSED) USDA-NIFA-AFRI-006769 Education and Workforce Development Program (EWD) FY2020

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

Number of Applications allowed per Organization: Penn State may submit a maximum of three grant applications per program area. If interest exceeds the sponsor's institutional limits the OSVPR will hold an internal Limited Submissions competition and announce after the internal Deadline listed below.
Internal Limited Submission deadlines by program (4:00pm each deadline):

  • REEU program: June 23 2020
  • PD-STEP program: June 16, 2020
  • The Agricultural Workforce Training program: August 25, 2020


The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is America’s flagship competitive grants program that provides funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. In FY 2019 and FY 2020, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requests applications for the AFRI’s Education and Workforce Development (EWD) Program areas to support:

  • professional development opportunities for K-14 educational professionals;
  • workforce training at community, junior, and technical colleges;
  • training of undergraduate students in research and extension; and
  • fellowships for predoctoral candidates and postdoctoral scholars.

The anticipated amount available for new grants in this FY 2019 Education and Workforce Development RFA is approximately $29.166 million. The FY 2020 anticipated amount has not yet been determined. This RFA solicits Standard Grants and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants, whereas project types solicited in this RFA are Research, Education, Extension, and Integrated Research, Education and/or Extension projects. Grant types and project types solicited vary by program area priority, and not all grant types are solicited within each program area priority. See Part I, C (Program Area Descriptions) for grant and project types solicited by each specific program area priority, and Part II, C for a description of each individual grant type and project type.

Program Areas:

1. The Professional Development for Agricultural Literacy (formerly Professional Development for Secondary School Teachers and Education Professionals (PD-STEP) program (Limited Submission) area seeks to increase the number of K-14 educational professionals trained in the Food and Agricultural Sciences. Participants are expected to develop skills necessary for integrating food and agricultural science concepts in their classes; explore the opportunities available in food and agricultural science career paths; and/or forge mentorships with professional and business leaders, and faculty.

  • Penn State Limited Submission Deadline: March 25, 2020
  • NIFA AFRI Application Deadline: April 28, 2020

2. The Agricultural Workforce Training Grants program (Limited Submission) area seeks to develop an industry ready workforce within the food and agricultural sciences. Through curriculum development at community, junior, and technical colleges/institutes this program will expand job-based, experiential learning opportunities for students to enable a work-ready labor force for 21st century agricultural jobs.

  • Penn State Limited Submission Deadline: May 1, 2020
  • NIFA AFRI Application Deadline: May 26, 2020

3. The Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) and Education Coordinated Network for Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU-ECN) program (Limited Submissions) area promotes research and extension learning experiences for undergraduates such that upon graduation they may enter the agricultural workforce with exceptional skills. This initiative allows colleges and universities to provide fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students, including those from underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and universities. Projects must provide students opportunities to: 1) obtain hands-on experience in research and extension to develop skills necessary to join the agricultural workforce or pursue graduate studies in the food and agricultural sciences; 2) receive a strong mentoring experience required for success in the food and agricultural sciences; and 3) participate in research and extension projects or programs that deliver science based knowledge to individuals and communities to develop leadership skills, including communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, necessary to support decision making and planning. Program delivery may include students located at eligible institutions locally or nationally, and may use in-person, electronic, or a combination of both, as methods of communication. Extension Projects may also include related matters such as certification programs, in-service training, client recruitment and services, curriculum development, instructional materials and equipment, problem identification and program development and delivery, and innovative instructional methodologies appropriate to informal educational programs.

  • Penn State Limited Submission Deadline: March 6, 2020
  • NIFA AFRI Application Deadline: April 7, 2020

4. The Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships program (NOT a Limited Submission) areas help to develop new scientists and professionals to enter research, education, and/or extension fields within the food and agricultural sciences within the private sector, government, or academia. The aim of these fellowships is to cultivate future leaders who are able to solve emerging agricultural challenges of the 21st century.

  • NIFA AFRI Application Deadline: June 16, 2020
Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Sep 24, 2020
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Internal Nomination Process:

Please upload one PDF file (File name: Last name_NIFA_AFRI2020.pdf) containing the following items in order no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline.

Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Program Area
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

Project Abstract (300 words)

Formatting Guidelines:

  • Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)
  • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)
  • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 4:00pm
REEU program - Edward Dudley (AgSci); PD-STEP program - Kathleen Hill (AgSci)