Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Resilient Agroecosystems in a Changing Climate Challenge Area

Funding Agency:
US Department of Agriculture

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is America’s flagship competitive grants program that provides funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences. The long-term goal for the AFRI Resilient Agroecosystems in a Changing Climate (RACC) Challenge Area is to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and the availability and accessibility of safe and nutritious food. In FY 2017, the AFRI RACC Challenge Area will invest in one priority area, Climate, Land Use, and Land Management. Through these investments, NIFA will address the understanding of underlying processes, drivers and consequences of land use change, including biophysical and biogeochemical processes, climate feedbacks and environmental outcomes, and social, behavioral, economic and land use interaction. 

In FY 2017, applications for the AFRI RACC Challenge Area are sought in the following priority area: Climate, Land Use, and Land Management 

Deadline: July 13, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applications may only be submitted by eligible entities. Eligibility is linked to the project type. All project types are described beginning in Part II, C. Applicants must respond to the Program Area priorities and deadlines found in this RFA. Grant recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project. Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award (see Part III B). 

1) Research, Education or Extension Projects: Eligible applicants for single-function Research, Education or Extension Projects include:1) State Agricultural Experiment Station; 2) colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); 3) university research foundations; 4) other research institutions and organizations; 5) Federal agencies, 6) national laboratories; 7) private organizations or corporations; 8) individuals who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents; and 9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in 1) through 8). Eligible institutions do not include foreign and international organizations.

2) Integrated Projects: Eligible applicants for Integrated Projects include: 1) colleges and universities; 2) 1994 Land-Grant Institutions; and (3) Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities ( For Integrated Projects, the terms "college" and "university" mean an educational institution in any state which 1) admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized equivalent of such a certificate; 2) is legally authorized within such state to provide a program of education beyond secondary education; 3) provides an educational program for which a bachelor’s degree or any other higher degree is awarded; 4) is a public or other nonprofit institution; and 5) is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association. A research foundation maintained by a college or university is eligible to receive an award under this program.

3) Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement Grants: The Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants have additional eligibility requirements. See Part II, D., for details. 

Amount Description

Of the amount available to make awards, no less than 30 percent will be made available to fund integrated research, education, and extension projects. Of the AFRI funds allocated to research activities, section 7406 of the FCEA directs 60 percent toward grants for fundamental (or basic) research and 40 percent toward grants for applied research. Of the AFRI funds allocated to fundamental research, not less than 30 percent will be directed toward research by multidisciplinary teams. It is expected that no less than 15 percent of the FY 2017 funds will be made available for Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) Grants, and no more than two percent of the funds available for fundamental research will be made available for Equipment Grants. There is no commitment by USDA to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards. NIFA anticipates approximately $6.3 million will be available to support Program Areas in this AFRI RFA that are designed to help solve critical problems across the United States for project durations of up to 5 years (FY 2017 – FY 2021).

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

July 13, 2017