USDA Funding to Provide Fellowships for Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates

DanIndustry News Release, Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced more than $5 million in grants for fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students at colleges and universities. These awards are made through NIFA’s Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduate (REEU) Fellowships program, part of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Education and Literacy Initiative.

“It’s critical that the agricultural workforce keeps pace with the technological and social changes in our country by bringing in new cohorts of students early on and through undergraduate schooling,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “NIFA is committed to meet the demands of the future by preparing these students for a career in the agricultural sciences.”

The Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduate (REEU) Fellowships program promotes research and extension experiential learning for undergraduates to help them enter the agriculture workforce with skills in food, agriculture, natural resources, and the human sciences (FANH). Projects are designed to provide hands-on experience at land-grant and non-land-grant universities and USDA facilities, training to acquire laboratory research and extension skills, mentoring experiences, and participation in extension projects or programs that deliver science-based knowledge and informal educational programs.

NIFA has awarded more than $9.3 million through the REEU Fellowships program since its inception in 2015 to ensure that there is continued undergraduate preparation in FANH science fields to meet the increasing demands of the agricultural workforce.

Fiscal year 2016 awards include:

  • California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, California, $281,369
  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, $281,475
  • Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut, $261,436
  • University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, $280,579
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, $281,453
  • University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, $281,405
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, $248,086
  • Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, $281,381
  • Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, $281,436
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, $281,475
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $281,475
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, $281,475
  • Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania $281,072
  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, $281,475
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, $281,236
  • University of Houston, Houston, Texas, $281,475
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, $270,581
  • Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, $281,366

Among the projects, the University of Minnesota, for example, will conduct a project on food security, offering eight fellows research and ag-entrepreneurship opportunities with local agribusiness owners. Another project at Washington State University will train competent, confident undergraduates in the area of biofuels and bio-products research with an understanding of the importance of bioenergy literacy education.

More information on these projects is available on the NIFA website.

Previous REEU projects include a Clemson University fellowship program to recruit and develop future leaders in the burgeoning field of agriculturally oriented computational science. A Utah State University project provides summer exposure of the agricultural sciences to undergraduate students from non-research oriented campuses.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and promotes transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA support for the best and brightest scientists and extension personnel has resulted in user-inspired, groundbreaking discoveries that combat childhood obesity, improve and sustain rural economic growth, address water availability issues, increase food production, find new sources of energy, mitigate climate variability and ensure food safety. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science, visit, sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @USDA_NIFA, #NIFAimpacts.