Research & Education Grants
ATTENTION: When applying for this grant, please refer to the guidelines in the Call for Proposal and carefully follow the application procedures.
Southern SARE’s Research & Education (R&E) Grants are the flagship grants of the program. They were the first grants offered when the program was launched in 1988, and were the only sustainable ag grants available to researchers and educators until additional grant programs were added to SSARE in 1994.
R&E grants are among SSARE’s “big-grant” programs; they have budgets to accommodate systems-scale projects and require a two-step application process: a pre-proposal application process and a full proposal application process for those invited by the review committee to submit a full proposal. Full proposals are reviewed and selected for funding.
From 1988-2016, 292 grants were awarded, totaling more than $43 million.
In 1991, as part of the R&E grant program, USDA and EPA established ACE (Agriculture in Concert with the Environment) grants with the intent on funding projects related to environmental benefits or reduction in environmental damage. From 1992 to 1996, 19 grants were awarded, totaling over $2.1 million.
Research & Education Grants are competitive research grants for teams of interdisciplinary researchers that encourage a systems approach in sustainable agriculture. This approach recognizes that ag systems are complex and that interaction among components determines characteristics of the system. Ag systems also need to be studied intact regardless of the spatial or temporal scale. Research & Education Grants encourage that systems research approach in sustainable agriculture.
New for 2017: SSARE has added an education component to the Research & Education Grants. Education applications are for NGOs, community organizations, or university researchers interested in education-based projects, rather than research-driven projects. You can learn more about the education grants in the Call for Proposal.
Who can apply for a Research & Education Grant?
Including, but not limited to, teams of researchers from public and private institutions, such as 1862 and 1890 land-grant universities; government agencies; USDA-ARS; non-governmental organizations; and community-based organizations.
How much will the grants fund?
Research & Education Grants award up to 3 years of research activities. The funding range generally falls between $100,000 and $300,000.
What do the grants fund?
To retain our historical strengths, to advance sustainable agriculture, and to encourage a systems approach to research, SSARE offers three grant categories: production research, postharvest-food systems research, or a continuum that spans both.
- Production research—Focused on actual production methods, this kind of research has made up the bulk of SARE’s project portfolio in the past and has developed techniques that have become common tools for farmers. SSARE continues to fund these types of research proposals as they provide key parts of a larger holistic system, particularly as they relate to farmer participation in our program and complement the producer, on-farm, professional development, and graduate student programs.
- Postharvest/food systems research—These projects examine what happens past the farm gate such as in the markets, distribution systems and policy making. This category can serve as a funding path for social science researchers to also make a difference in our farm and food systems. See Southern SARE Seeks Social Science Proposals for more details on areas of social science interest.
- A combination of production and postharvest/food systems research—While some research can be separated into production and postharvest levels, we also seek to encourage attempts to provide integration of the different levels of the agricultural system, as well as the different sciences that lend more value to the results. The ultimate in systems research would connect what goes on in the ground with everything that happens after a crop is harvested, including adding value, marketing, infrastructure for processing and transportation, as well as policy making.
Emphasis is placed on farmer participation, particularly for the production projects, on the relevance to sustainable agriculture, and on the strength of a holistic approach. We have relevant priority areas such as: limited resource farmers, organic farming systems, environmentally sound practices/agriculture ecosystems, marketing/economic development/ cooperatives, policy, project evaluation and quality of life, and women in sustainable agriculture.
What else should I know about Research & Education Grants?
- The project should take a systems research approach.
- The project’s central purpose should be research-based with an educational/outreach component to extend the project findings to the public.
- Producers and consumers should be part of the process from problem identification through project development, implementation, dissemination of results, and evaluation.
To determine allowable costs for the funding, refer to the USDA-NIFA Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars, A-21: Cost Principles for Educational Activities, and A-110: Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-Profit Organization. Refer to additional grant regulations on the USDA website.
Ready to Apply?
When you are ready to apply for a Research & Education Grant, download the Research & Education Grant Call for Proposals and carefully follow the instructions. The application process always begins with the Call for Proposals. All the rules and guidelines and everything you need to complete the application process and successfully submit your project can be found in the Call for Proposals.
In all, the SSARE Research & Education program is designed to insure that our funding mechanism is able to respond to the needs of farmers, the need to think about how to move toward different food systems, and the need to provide long-term support to successful systems programs through our Large Systems Grants.