Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP)


Program Description

The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) is currently accepting applications from sub-Saharan African students conducting research on topics related to the US Government’s global hunger initiative — Feed the Future.  All topics related to agriculture (as defined by Title XII) and the Feed the Future initiative are admissible.


The Borlaug LEAP offers fellowships to enhance the quality of thesis research of graduate students from developing countries who show strong promise as leaders in the field of agriculture and related disciplines.  The program supports engaging a mentor at a US university and a CGIAR center.

Awards are made on a competitive basis to students who show strong scientific and leadership potential, have a well coordinated proposal between their home university, a US university mentor, and the CGIAR mentor, and whose research has relevance to the national development of the student’s home country or region.


The award level is US$20,000 for a maximum of one year. The funds are administered as a grant to the US university mentor. Grant funds can be used to support a variety of research needs including student’s travel to the research site, research support at the CGIAR or US university, and US faculty member travel to the research site to mentor the student in collaboration with a CGIAR scientist.  Funds should not be used to pay tuition or salaries.


The program supports internships for up to 12 months. Internships can be at the CGIAR, US graduate-level university or a combination of appropriate institutions. Students are encouraged to creatively plan an internship that best suits their educational needs and circumstances.  A minimum of three months should be spent at any one location.



An eligible candidate for a Borlaug LEAP fellowship must be

  • a citizen of a USAID-assisted country.  Currently we are only accepting applications from citizens of USAID-assisted countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  Applicants cannot hold citizenship or permanent residency in the US and/or any non-USAID assisted country. This includes applicants with dual citizenship.
  • currently enrolled as an MS or PhD student at a US or sub-Saharan Africa developing country university. Candidates must maintain student status for the duration of the fellowship.
  • fluent in reading, writing and speaking English. All semi-finalists must provide a TOEFL or IELTS score taken within the past year.  Only applicants enrolled at U.S. universities are exempt from this requirement.  Minimum acceptable scores are:  TOEFL, 550 (paper test); 80 (internet-based test).  IELTS (academic modules), minimum of 7 on a 9-point scale.

In addition, eligible candidates will have

  • completed at least one year of graduate level course work in the graduate program the applicant is currently enrolled in with a US equivalent grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
  • a thesis-topic related to agricultural development and related fields. Title XII legislation broadly defines agriculture as:

“…the science and practice of activity related to food, feed, and fiber production, processing, marketing, distribution, utilization, and trade, and also includes family and consumer sciences, nutrition, food science and engineering, agricultural economics and other social sciences, forestry, wildlife, fisheries, aquaculture, floriculture, veterinary medicine, and other environmental and natural resources sciences.”

Successful candidates must:

  • agree to return to their country of citizenship for a minimum of two years following graduation.
  • remain enrolled as an MS or PhD student and have student status at their university for the duration of their fellowship.
  • See Conditions of Training for more information

An eligible US mentor must be:

  • a faculty member at a US graduate level university.
  • conducting research related to or complementary of the student’s research topic.
  • eligible at his/her institution to supervise graduate students.
  • eligible at his/her institution to serve as Principal Investigator on the fellowship award.
  • willing to make the time commitment to mentor the student.

An eligible CGIAR mentor must be:

Application Deadline: April 6, 2016

RAF: U.S. Borlaug Fellowship for Global Food Security


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.

NewThe 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 DeadlineMonday, April 11, 2016, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

Notifications for the Spring 2016 round of awards are expected to be made on or around June 1, 2016.

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.

Article Disclaimer: This Request For Application (RAF) was published at the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University. Please visit the link provided for details information of the grant, application process, criteria and how to acquire sponsorship from a International Agricultural Research Center.


USDA seeks proposals for market-based wetland protection systems


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the establishment of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. Through the program, NRCS will provide $9 million to help states, local governments or other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks that restore, create, or enhance wetland ecosystems, broadening the conservation options available to farmers and ranchers so they can maintain eligibility for other USDA programs.

“Over the past seven years, USDA has worked with private landowners to enroll a record number of acres in conservation practices, and we are seeing significant reductions in nutrient runoff and greenhouse gas emissions. Wetland Mitigation Banks will give farmers and ranchers more conservation options so they can find the best solution for their land and circumstances, and produce even more results,” Vilsack said.

NRCS is seeking applications from eligible third-parties to develop wetland mitigation banks, or modify existing banks to better serve agricultural producers. These third-parties include federally recognized Indian tribes; state and local units of government; for-profit entities; and nongovernmental organizations.

USDA is now accepting project proposals for this program. Proposals are due to NRCS before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 28, 2016. The announcement and associated forms for this funding opportunity can be found

Wetland mitigation banking is a market-based approach that involves restoring, creating, or enhancing wetlands in one place to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location. Wetland mitigation banking is commonly used to compensate for wetland impacts from development, but can also be used to offset impacts from agriculture. A small number of banks have been developed in the U.S. specifically to assist agriculture, and the mitigation banks established under this program will be used to help agricultural producers who need to mitigate wetland losses to maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

The maximum award provided through this announcement is up to $1 million. This funding may be used to cover the administrative and technical costs associated with the development of a wetland mitigation bank or banking program. Funding may not be used to purchase an easement or any other interest in land.

Partners will develop, operate, and manage the wetlands mitigation banks with technical oversight from NRCS, and will market mitigation credits to farmers and ranchers. Credits must be made available to producers within two years after the agreement is signed.

NRCS is prioritizing funding to locations that have a significant known wetland compliance workload. These locations include the Prairie Pothole Region, California Vernal Pool Region, Nebraska Rainwater Basin Region, and other areas that have significant numbers of wetlands compliance requests. Priority will also be given to applications based on the speed with which mitigation credits can be made available to agricultural producers.

Learn more about NRCS conservation programs online or visit your local USDA service center.

Article Disclaimer: This call for proposal was posted at AG Professional and was retrieved and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. INDESEEM is not responsible for the credibility, accuracy, and authenticity of the post. Please cite the original source accordingly.





Universities in Germany are now free of tuition fees for all including international students. Yesterday, Lower Saxony became the last of seven German states to abolish their tuition fees, which were already extremely low.

German universities had been charging for tuition since 2006. The measure proved unpopular, and German states began dropping them one by one. It is now all gone throughout the country, even for foreigners.

This means that now, both domestic and international undergraduate students at public universities in Germany are able to study in Germany for free, with just a small fee to cover administration– usually between €150 and €250 (US$170-280)  – and other living expenses costs per semester (food, transport, accommodation, entertainment, course materials and other necessities).

Germans barely had to pay for undergraduate study even before tuition fees were abolished. Semester fees averaged around €500 ($630). It is now gone.

Free education is a concept that is embraced in most of Europe with notable exceptions like the U.K., where the government voted to lift the cap on university fees in 2010, and tripled the tuition fees therefore. The measure has reportedly cost more money than it brought in. The Guardian reported last March that students are failing to pay back student loans.

Maybe for now, learning German might be the best financial choice an high school student can make.

This article was published at Migreat Blog and retrieved on 11/25/2015 and posted at INDESEEM for information and educational purposes only. The views and thoughts expressed in the article remains those of the author. Please, cite the original and this source accordingly.



Kalam-inspired fellowships for environment researchers soon

Abdul Kalam (File Photo)

Abdul Kalam (File Photo)

New Delhi, Oct 16: Updated: Friday, October 16, 2015, 18:18 [IST]

The Environment Ministry will launch post-doctoral research fellowships in the name of former president late A P J Abdul Kalam to nurture young scientists working in the fields of environment and ecology. “The main focus of the new fellowship programme and also the ongoing National Environmental Sciences Fellows Programme is to nurture young scientists working in environment and ecology for undertaking good quality scientific research under the mentorship of established scientists of the country,” an official statement said today.

The programme, announced on the occasion of Kalam’s 85th birthday, is targeted at young scientists working in the area of environment and ecology in the country and those who have completed their PhD or are about to complete their PhD in areas related to environment and ecology. The applicants are required to be preferably below 35 years and the tenure of the fellowship is for three years. The fellowship includes a monthly fellowship, equivalent to that of a research associate, together with an annual research contingency grant of Rs 1.5 lakh. The post-doctoral fellowship will also be entitled to house rent allowance and other benefits as per the Ministry’s guidelines applicable for research associateship. The Ministry will advertise about the fellowship to call for applications shortly and the guidelines for the programme will be uploaded on the Ministry’s website. It proposes to constitute a committee of experts headed by R A Mashelkar for selection of fellows. The Ministry said that Kalam, the people’s President, had an abiding trust and faith in the abilities of the youth of the country to transform India into a global power. He was also firmly convinced that science and technology would offer solutions to the pressing challenges facing the country, including those of environmental protection and sustainable development, the statement added.

Article Disclaimer:  This article was published at and was retrieved on 10/22/2015 and published here at INDESEEM for educational and information purposes only. The views and thoughts expressed in this article are those of the author. Please cite the source accordingly.



Graduate researcher wins fellowship to design drugs to combat deadly disease

Dana Klug

Dana Klug, PhD’18, a researcher in Michael Pollastri’s Laboratory for Neglected Disease Drug Discovery. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

August 31, 2015

When North­eastern grad­uate stu­dent Dana Kluglearned, in mid-​​July, that she had won a pres­ti­gious pre­doc­toral fel­low­ship from the Amer­ican Chem­ical Society Divi­sion of Med­i­c­inal Chem­istry, she did what researchers in labs around the world do on such occasions.

She hit “high elbows” with her advisor, asso­ciate pro­fessor of chem­istry and chem­ical biology Michael Pol­lastri, who heads Northeastern’s Lab­o­ra­tory for Neglected Dis­ease Drug Dis­covery.

You have gloves on,” Klug explains, laughing, “so you bump elbows instead of doing a high five.”

In Klug’s case, those gloved hands had spent count­less hours manip­u­lating chem­ical compounds—small mol­e­cules that Pollastri’s lab had iden­ti­fied as pos­sible drug can­di­dates to treat Human African try­panoso­mi­asis, or sleeping sick­ness, a deadly dis­ease trans­mitted by tsetse flies that affects tens of thou­sands of people in rural Africa annually.

The $26,000 fel­low­ship, given to grad­uate stu­dents in their third or fourth year of study, will enable Klug to con­tinue designing and syn­the­sizing vari­a­tions of 16 of those com­pounds in the coming year in an effort to find the ones most effec­tive at killing the par­a­site that causes the disease.

Dana Klug

This is a national award and is really com­pet­i­tive,” says Pol­lastri, who with his col­leagues in 2014 reported iden­ti­fying 797 com­pounds as “starting points” for dis­cov­ering new drugs for sleeping sick­ness after screening more than 42,000 com­pounds sup­plied by col­lab­o­rator Glax­o­SmithK­line, the global health­care company.

Klug’s 16 com­pounds, broken into two groups with sim­ilar chem­ical struc­tures, come from those 797. “Stu­dents in the top med­i­c­inal chem­istry research groups in the country apply to this pro­gram, and only three received the award this year,” says Pol­lastri. “It’s a strong state­ment about Dana’s promise as a future leader in the field.”

Klug’s interest in neglected trop­ical dis­eases such as sleeping sick­ness was sparked as an under­grad­uate at DePaul Uni­ver­sity, in Chicago, where she majored in chem­istry and minored in biology and soci­ology, taking courses in global health. Her under­grad­uate research advisor, asso­ciate pro­fessor Caitlin Karver, had been a post­doc­toral fellow in Pollastri’s lab and rec­om­mended that she apply to North­eastern for her doc­toral studies. “How’s that for a small world?” says Pollastri.

Upon accep­tance into Northeastern’s chem­istry Ph.D. pro­gram, Klug received a Col­lege of Sci­ence Dis­tin­guished Grad­uate Fel­low­ship, which allowed her to jump directly into research with Pollastri’s team in October 2013. She did so with alacrity: “She’s one of those stu­dents to whom you explain some­thing once or just vaguely and she takes that and runs with it inde­pen­dently,” says Pollastri.

In designing her com­pounds, Klug is like a chef crafting a gourmet dish, adding an atom of, say, hydrogen here, removing an atom of nitrogen there, or shifting an ele­ment left to right to trans­form the chem­ical struc­ture of the indi­vidual mol­e­cule. “Syn­thesis is all about making and breaking bonds between ele­ments,” she says. “Each reac­tion brings about a spe­cific struc­tural trans­for­ma­tion that results in a new com­pound, which is then puri­fied and used as the starting mate­rial for the next reac­tion in the synthesis.”

Dana Klug

Klug sends each iter­a­tion off to the Spanish National Research Council, in Granada, Spain, where col­lab­o­rator Miguel Navarro and the Glax­o­SmithK­line team mix it with both the sleeping-​​sickness par­a­site, Try­panosoma brucei, and human cells to test for potency in the first case and tox­i­city in the second.

What hap­pens in those Petri dishes helps deter­mine Klug’s next step. The 797 com­pounds Pollastri’s lab ini­tially selected as “hits” against T. brucei work by inhibiting pro­teins called kinases, which are found in both humans and par­a­sites. The job of kinases is to add phos­phate groups—structures of oxygen and phosporous—to other pro­teins inside cells, spurring those pro­teins to facil­i­tate cell growth and divi­sion. “If you inhibit human kinases, you can stop cell growth,” says Klug. “We believe that same inhibitory action occurs in par­a­sites, killing them or blocking their ability to reproduce.”

The results in Spain pro­vide clues for new variations.

Knocking out T. brucei is a tall order, but one to which Klug is com­mitted. “The orig­inal hits have a pretty good pro­file so I’m working on scaling up one of them to pos­sibly test in an animal model,” she says. “But I also have many plans for a lot of dif­ferent com­pound vari­a­tions that I want to make.”



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