Secondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grant Program

Funding Agency:
US Department of Agriculture

The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program seeks to: (a) promote and strengthen secondary education and two-year postsecondary education in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences in order to help ensure the existence of a workforce in the United States that's qualified to serve the FANH sciences system; and (b) promote complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the FANH sciences in order to advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the FANH sciences.

 Each eligible individual institution, independent branch campus, and branch institution of a State system may submit one application. NIFA will make only one award per eligible institution. Only one active SPECA award at a time can be held by any single institution.


  • Duke Internal:  Interested applicants should contact Paul Noe as early as possible
  • Sponsor Deadlines: February 6, 2020; February 4, 2021

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for the SPECA must meet all the requirements discussed in this RFA. Applications may only be submitted by: (1) public secondary schools, (2) public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges, (3) institutions of higher education, or (4) nonprofit organizations (Attach IRS 501(c)(3) status under R&R ‘Other Project Information’ Field 12 Other Attachments). Failure to meet the eligibility criteria by the application deadline may result in exclusion from consideration or, preclude NIFA from making an award. For those new to Federal financial assistance, NIFA’s Grants Overview provides highly recommended information about grants and other resources to help understand the Federal awards process.


Amount Description

The anticipated amount available for SPECA in FY2020 and FY2021 is approximately $800,000 each year. USDA is not committed to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards. 

Applicants may request up to $50,000 (total, not per year) for a Regular Grant.

Applicants may request up to $150,000 (total, not per year) for a Collaborative Grant Type 1 (CG1) project. 

Applicants may request up to $300,000 (total, not per year) for a Collaborative Grant Type 2 (CG2) project.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
CV or Biosketch of project leader
Project summary - 2 to 4 pages

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code ILN)

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials:


External Deadline

February 6, 2020