Purdue Center for Global Food Security to provide new round of grants for U.S. graduate students researching food security issues

January 12, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - U.S. students enrolled in an accredited U.S. graduate program can apply for international research grants of $15,000 to $40,000 through Purdue University's U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security program and funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security Graduate Research Grant, which is funded by USAID, is designed to increase the number of future leaders who have the scientific background necessary to promote sustainable food systems around the world.

Grants are available for U.S. graduate students conducting research on topics related to USAID's global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. All topics related to food security and linked to research strategies of Feed the Future are eligible.

Grants, which are administered through Discovery Park's Center for Global Food Security at Purdue, will be awarded for:

* $15,000 maximum for six-month international research stays.

* $20,000 maximum for one-year international projects.

* $40,000 maximum for two-year research projects.

The application process opens Monday (Jan. 12). To apply, the application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) April 13 to borlaugfellows@purdue.edu. Instructions and forms are available online. A selection committee will review applications and the top-ranked applicants may be interviewed before a final selection is made. Applicants will be notified of their status by June 1.

"Awards are made on a competitive basis to students who show past education with a strong scientific foundation and possess leadership potential," said Gebisa Ejeta, distinguished professor of agronomy and director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security. "The students also must submit a well thought-out research proposal with defined problems and clearly articulate concepts and objectives that would lead to innovative and feasible interventions, and demonstrate their own commitment to international development."

In addition to an application, students must provide a project narrative; budget, budget justification and project timeline; proof of citizenship; institutional letters of support from the submitting university and participating IARC/NARC; a letter of approval from submitting university's sponsored programs office; and two letters of recommendation.

Depending on the grant, students are expected to remain in the host country for the majority of the allotted time (85 percent), with short-term absences permitted. Yearlong grants can be split into two six-month stays over a period not to exceed 18 months.

Applicants must focus their food security research in a single, developing country context and collaborate with a mentor from an International Agricultural Research Center (IARC), or a qualifying National Agricultural Research System (NARS) unit.

The Borlaug grants are not intended to cover all costs of the project, and applicants are expected to leverage the grant for additional support of their research. Additional stateside support upon completion of field research also can be requested for a period of up to four months.

Borlaug, an agronomist and humanitarian who died in 2009, is called the father of the "green revolution." He is credited with saving millions of lives worldwide by developing high-yielding, disease-resistant wheat varieties. For his work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

Led by Ejeta, the Center for Global Food Security was launched in the university's Discovery Park in 2010 to take up one of the world's most pressing challenges: getting enough food to people who need it the most today and producing enough to meet even greater future demands.

Ejeta, a native of Ethiopia, received the 2009 World Food Prize for his work in developing sorghum varieties resistant to drought and the parasitic weed Striga. His research has dramatically increased the production and availability of sorghum for hundreds of millions of people in Africa, where it is a major crop. 

Writers: Anna Schultz, 812-447-5229, schult70@purdue.edu

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu 

Source: Gebisa Ejeta, 765-494-4320, gejeta@purdue.edu 

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