Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts 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 of the Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area is to advance the bioeconomy by facilitating development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy, industrial chemicals, and biobased products from renewable sources and building a strong workforce, increasing stakeholder engagement, and informing policy makers. In FY 2017 NIFA invites applications for the SBEBP Challenge Area Program, and specific program areas are designed to achieve the long term outcome of reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and help meet the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 goal of 36 billion gallons/year of biofuels by 2022. Near- and mid-term outcomes comprise commercial production at scale of biobased products including, but not limited to, intermediate chemicals, materials, and finished products that replace fossil carbon-based products. As appropriate, biopower, animal feed, and other applications may be used as secondary products, potentially augmenting the economic value and feasibility of the supply chain to increase rural prosperity and advance a sustainable bioeconomy. 

There is recognition that consistent and dependable feedstock supplies must be made available in ways that minimize transaction costs across entire supply chains, reduce the overall cost of the biofuels and bioproducts, and in turn create new wealth for farmers, forest landowners, and rural communities. NIFA is working in a coordinated and collaborative way with other agencies and partners to help accelerate the sustainable development and dependable availability of regionally adapted biomass crops and woody biomass. Research and development for biomass feedstock genetic development and production have the potential to achieve goals for producing renewable materials and, in doing so, bring economic development to rural America. 

Deadline: June 28, 2017

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

In FY2017, the SBEBP is soliciting applications in the following priority areas:

(1) Lignin or nano-cellulosic co-products from biomass feedstocks; and

(2) Biomass feedstock genetic development and evaluation

Amount Description

NIFA anticipates approximately $9.6 million will be available to support Programs 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). This RFA is being released prior to the passage of an appropriations act for FY 2017. Enactment of additional continuing resolutions or an appropriations act may affect the availability or level of funding for this program. Funding of projects beyond FY 2017 is contingent upon the availability of funds, and the best interests of the US government. Funding in FY 2017 does not obligate NIFA to any future-year commitments. The funds will be awarded through a grant. There is no commitment by NIFA to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards. 

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

June 28, 2017