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USDA investing more than $15 million in next generation of agricultural scientists

Undergraduate students are eligible for the first time

By Diego Flammini,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) declared an availability of over $15 million to be used in helping the future’s bright minds tackle the challenges surrounding the agricultural world.

NIFA supports the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences Education and Literary Initiative through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). AFRI’s goal is to provide support to students dedicated to tackling agriculture and natural resource and food issues.

Specifically, the funding will go to towards researching areas including food, security, water, climate change, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, and preventing childhood obesity.

Pre-, post-doctoral, and for the first time, undergraduate students are eligible for the funding.

“As we look to the future and addressing challenges such as food and nutritional security, environmental sustainability, and health, we will need highly skilled scientists to address these concerns,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “Fellowships at this level are an excellent way to give tomorrow’s leaders the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to be successful and make a difference.”

The undergraduate students will receive hands-on experience and training, mentoring and other tools to help them join the workforce or continue their studies.

The funding hopes to groom the pre- and post-doctoral candidates into tomorrow’s leaders in facing agricultural challenges.

Applications for pre- and post-doctoral investments are due February 11, 2015. Undergraduate students must submit a letter of intent by February 18, and a full application by May 6, 2015.

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