Click HERE to apply to the 2020-2023 FFAR Fellows Program!
Two categories of Fellowship are available:
- Stipend + Professional Development Fellowship
- Professional Development Fellowship
Stipend + Professional Development Fellows
Students accepted into the Stipend + Professional Development category will receive $50,000 each year to cover tuition, fees, stipend, and related costs. Students applying to this category should already have a defined research project and an industry or analogous sponsor (e.g., grower organization, foundation). The sponsor will commit $32,500 per year to the Fellowship, matched equally by FFAR. The total $65,000 is distributed as follows: $49,500 for student stipend tuition, fees, etc.; $5,500 for university overhead; $10,000 is retained by the FFAR Fellowship Program lead institution, North Carolina State University, for program management and costs of the professional development training including annual residential session. Student applicants to this category should be enrolled or accepted into PhD programs at one of the FFAR Fellows partner universities.
Professional Development Fellows
Students accepted into the Professional Development category will be full members of the cohort and will receive support for professional development activities (valued at $10,000K/year). Students applying to this category should have a research or teaching assistantship, or other fellowship, to cover their tuition, stipend, and related costs. Professional Development category students should have a defined industry or analogous sponsor committed to providing $5,000 per year, with this amount matched by FFAR for the total $10,000/year. These funds are retained by the FFAR Fellowship Program lead institution, North Carolina State University, for program management and costs of the professional development training including annual residential session. Student applicants to this category should be enrolled or accepted by a PhD program at a U.S. or Canadian university.
A student who is selected as a FFAR Fellow in the Professional Development category in one year may apply in a subsequent year for the Stipend + Professional Development category (but the student’s university must be a one of the FFAR Fellow Partner Universities to make the switch to the Stipend category) . Regardless of the outcome of that application, the student would continue with his/her original cohort of Fellows.
Professional Development Category Scholarship
The 2020-2023 FFAR Fellows Program includes two scholarships to support Professional Development Fellows. Students applying for the scholarship are exempt from the requirement to have an industry sponsor, but should have–or be willing to be matched to–an industry mentor for if the student is selected as a Fellow. Scholarships will be awarded to those students who enhance the diversity of the cohort. In this case, diversity is defined as underrepresented groups and underrepresented research subject matter. Students should address their contribution to the diversity of the cohort in their Statements of Interest.
Application and Eligibility
Eligibility Requirements for 2020 Applicants
- Completion of a masters degree or one year of a PhD program by June 2020
- Acceptance in a PHD program by May 1, 2020
- Three years remaining in the degree program (Fall 2020 to Spring 2023)
- A confirmed PhD faculty advisor
- TOEFL Score indicating a minimum of 25/30 for listening, speaking, writing
- Confirmation of an industry sponsor (sponsors can include companies, foundations, NGOs, grower organizations)
- For stipend applications: Acceptance or current matriculation at an FFAR partner institution
- Residency or study visa
- Statement of Interest in the FFAR Fellows Program (1500 words)
- Statement of Proposed Research (1500 words + 1 page tables/figures/references)
- Student CV
- Faculty adviser CV
- Three or four reference letters. For students already in a PhD program, three letters are required, one of which should be from current advisor. For students with an MS but not currently in a PhD program, four letters are required, one of which is from the MS advisor and one from future PhD advisor.
- Undergraduate and graduate transcripts (Unofficial transcripts are allowed. Official transcripts may be requested if applicant is selected)
- Letter of financial commitment from the industry sponsor
Applicants are highly encouraged to seek an industry sponsor as far in advance of the application date as possible.
The Review Process
The applicant’s research topic must address one or more of FFAR’s Six Challenge Areas, and the student must meet all eligibility requirements.
Applications are considered by a selection committee comprised of the following:
- Scientists and business professionals from companies in the fields of agriculture and the life sciences
- Research and academic administrators from university programs in agriculture and the life sciences
- Program officers from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research
Applications are judged primarily on the quality of the student and the student’s potential to benefit from and contribute to a peer cohort of future leaders in food and agriculture. The quality of the proposed research is also considered, and should balance creativity and practical applicability, while contributing to the science of the discipline.
Additional Information on Industry Sponsorship
Industry financial commitment letter: The letter of financial commitment from the industry (or analogous) sponsor should be submitted with the student’s application and include the following:
1. Pledge of financial support: for the Stipend + Professional Development category this is $32,500/year for each of three years, paid by July 15 of each year; for the Professional Development category this is $5,000 year for each of three years, paid by July 15 of each year.
2. Pledge to mentor the Fellow: sponsors commit to having one (or more) representatives from the industry or other entity serve as a mentor to the student, working with the student on their annual professional development plan and being available for student questions. (See Role of the industry mentor, below).
Role of the industry mentor: Each FFAR Fellow has a mentorship team of three individuals. One of these is the student’s university advisor and the second is a representative from the student’s industry (or analogous) sponsor. The third can be another person from the same or another university (preferably in a field not already represented by the student’s dissertation committee), another industry member, or someone from the governmental or non-profit sectors. Members of the student’s mentorship team will consult (in person or virtually) with the Fellow in the fall and early summer to guide students in creating and revising their annual Professional Development Plans. Mentors are also asked to be available to answer student questions regarding their professional development.
Benefit of being a sponsor: Industry and other entities (e.g., commodity organizations, state departments of agriculture, foundations) sponsoring Fellows will gain several benefits. One of these is financial – the sponsor can fund research beneficial to its own interests and have that investment matched equally by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture. The FFAR Fellows program will allow sponsor funds to accomplish more. At the same time, sponsors will be able to build stronger ties with universities and scientific research programs with which they would like to work on an ongoing basis. Sponsorship allows the entity to express to its stakeholders its commitment to supporting student development. Lastly, a number of sponsors see in their Fellow a future member of their organization, who is being trained not only in valuable technical and scientific skills, but also in the non-cognitive “soft skills” such as team work, flexibility, and communication that are key to successful and productive careers.
Application Portal and Timeline
The portal for receipt of applications will open by November 1, 2019. Complete applications must be received by February 17 for the Stipend + Professional Development category, and by April 15 for the Professional Development category. Fellows will be notified on March 11 or the Stipend + Professional Development category, and on May 4 for the Professional Development category.
To be considered for the fellowship, students must submit all application materials by the due dates, including the confirmation of financial commitment from an industry or analogous sponsor.For additional information, contact the FFAR Fellows Program Director, Dr. Rebecca Dunning.