US Borlaug Fellowship for Global Food Security-Now Accepting Applications


Request for Applications (RFA)

Request for Applications

This RFA solicits applications to support U.S. students conducting research on topics related to the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative – Feed the Future (FTF). All topics that relate to food security (e.g., agriculture, nutrition, ecological resources, poverty) and are linked to the research strategies of the Feed the Future initiative are admissible. We welcome applications from U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on Global Food Security participants who meet eligibility requirements.

The U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security graduate research grants are intended to support students interested in developing a component of their graduate research in a single, developing country setting by supporting the student’s work in-residence at an International Agricultural Research Center (IARC), or a qualifying National Agricultural Research System (NARS) unit. Candidates are particularly encouraged to conduct research in Feed the Future focus countries ( At a minimum, research must be carried out in countries supported by a USAID mission. Note, all research centers of the CGIAR consortium are eligible partners; if you are interested in working within an IARC or NARC outside of the CGIAR system, or in multiple countries, please contact us at before developing your application.

The students are expected to have a faculty advisor at their home institution and a research center mentor from the IARC or NARS that is serving as host for the student’s international fieldwork. The applicant must demonstrate that there is strong support for the proposed project by both his/her faculty advisor and the IARC/NARS mentor. We encourage students to seek guidance from both their faculty advisor and research center mentor(s) as they develop their project. Applicants are required to describe in detail how their proposed research leads to a significant impact on food security.

Students are encouraged to think creatively about the needs of their particular project and plan a budget that best suits their educational needs and circumstances.  Grant funds can be used to support a variety of research needs including student travel to the research site, research materials and supplies, living expenses while abroad, and travel for the faculty advisor and/or research center mentor to the IARC/NARS or the student’s U.S. university, respectively.  Funds cannot be used to pay tuition, salaries, institutional overheard or to support applicant’s dependents.

The grants have a maximum value of USD 15,000 for students applying for 6-month long international research stays; USD 20,000 for 1-year long international research stays; and USD 40,000 for 2-year long international research stays. Students are expected to stay in-residence in the host country for the majority of the time (85%) with some time available for short-term absences. Grant funds are not intended to cover all costs of the proposed research, and applicants are expected to leverage outside funding in support of their work plans.

Students applying for 1-year long research grants may split the year into two, 6-month long stays over a period of no more than 18 months. Fellows who do so still must spend 85% of their time during those two, six-month long stays in the host country.

New: The U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Program graduate research grant is an overseas research grant; however, in extenuating circumstances and with adequate justification, the Borlaug grant may also support up to one semester (no more than four months) of student support costs in the U.S. in order to carry out data analysis or writing a thesis or dissertation stemming from overseas research.  Up to 15% of the total budget can be applied in the US to defray student research costs, preparing manuscripts for publication or finalizing thesis/dissertation.  Costs that will be budgeted include housing, meals, local transportation, data processing, lab fees, printing and travel to a professional conference to present a paper or poster.  As a point of reference, for a $15,000 six month grant, applicants may budget up to $2,250 for states-side support for a total of $17,250.  For a $20,000 one-year grant, up to $3,000 may be budgeted for US support (for a total of $23,000) while a $40,000 two-year grant can budget up to $6,000 for states-side support (for a total of $46,000). Borlaug funds cannot be used to pay tuition, taxes of any type, equipment, research/teaching salaries (assistantships), general university fees not associated directly with the Borlaug overseas research program, or research outside the Borlaug program.  The application must include a detailed description of states-side activities with a timeline, a detailed breakdown of costs in budget, and a statement on why you are not able to secure funds from other sources.  Borlaug funds used states-side must also be managed by your university in a similar manner to the funds applied abroad.

Application DeadlineThe Fall 2015 application deadline is Monday, November 9, 2015, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Application: To submit an application, follow the instructions here.

Applicants who need assistance in making contact with international mentors should contact a representative at the various International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs). Please note that we do not match students with mentors, but the Purdue Center for Global Food Security staff is able to provide recommendations and to provide contact information for potential centers and mentors. Please see our website for a list of IARCs and their contact information.

Eligibility Criteria: Applicants to the graduate research grant program must be a U.S. citizen, and must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. graduate program.

Review of Applications: A selection committee will review applications and the top-ranked applicants may be interviewed before a final selection is made.

Awards are made on a competitive basis to students who show strong scientific foundation and possess leadership potential, propose a well-coordinated research plan that clearly articulates concepts and objectives that are innovative and feasible, and project a commitment to international development. Emphasis will be placed on proposed projects that are interdisciplinary, but students approaching an issue through a single discipline will also be considered. We welcome research projects in any developing country that has a significant food insecurity problem. Applications to Feed the Future countries will be reviewed favorabley. Review the evaluation criteria here.

US Borlaug Fellows Information Webinar (WebEx)
Thursday, September 10, 2015 2:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00), 1 hr

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