Funding Opportunity: AFRI Releases RFA for Foundational and Applied Science Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently released a request for applications (RFA) for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science (FAS) program. The fiscal year 2021 and 2022 program will distribute approximately $290 million each year to support research and extension proposals to advance basic and applied research in agricultural sciences across a number of disciplines. Additionally, the RFA adds new priority areas for all programs outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products ($66 million); Animal Health and Production and Animal Products ($55 million); Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health ($39 million); Bioenergy, Natural Resources, and Environment ($33 million); Agriculture Systems and Technology ($29 million); Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities ($34 million); and $32 million for crosscutting programs.

FAS is the second of AFRI’s three annual RFAs to be released, one day after the RFA for the Education and Workforce Development (EWD) program was posted. The Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) has yet to be posted. Unlike the EWD solicitation, the FAS RFA included deadlines and funding levels for both FY 2021 and FY 2022.

It is important to note that conference proposals will now be accepted anytime throughout the year. Those intending to submit conference proposals must submit a letter of intent (LOI) 195 days in advance of the conference. Conference grant applications should be submitted 150 days before the start of the conference.

Total Funding and Award Size: USDA anticipates making approximately $290 million available for an undetermined number of awards during each review cycle through 2023. Individual award amounts, award distribution, and project period will vary based on research area.

Cost Sharing: A one-to-one cost share is required for applications that are commodity-specific and those that fail to address research issues in a national context. For equipment grants, the total amount of federal funding may not exceed 50 percent of the total cost. Additional specifications regarding the cost sharing requirement for equipment grants are provided in the full RFA.
Eligibility and Limitations: Eligible applicants under this solicitation include but are not limited to: State Agricultural Experiment Stations; colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); university research foundations; and other research institutions.

Deadlines: Please review the deadlines provided for each Program on the AFRI website.

Sources and Additional Information:
The View the Request for Applications (RFA)
The NIFA website can be found at
More information on AFRI is available at

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