Program: USDA – NIFA Response: Building upon the four “New Biology for the 21st Century” challenges, above, USDA-NIFA has refocused its mission to direct agricultural sciences research, education, and extension programs on addressing five Priority Areas:
- Global Food Security and Hunger
- Climate Change
- Sustainable Energy
- Childhood Obesity
- Food Safety
The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education and Ag in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program is a NIFA-administered competitive grants program focused on improving formal, K-14 agricultural sciences education. Guided by critical societal issues laid out in the “New Biology for the 21st Century” report, as well as the five, compelling NIFA Priority Areas, SPECA-funded projects ensure a competent and qualified workforce to serve the food and agricultural sciences system. At the same time, SPECA-funded projects improve the economic health and viability of rural communities through the development of degree programs emphasizing new and emerging employment opportunities in agriscience and agribusiness. Finally, SPECA projects are also focused to address the national challenge to increase the number and diversity (i.e., having an agricultural sciences workforce representative of the Nation’s population) of students entering agriculture related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Therefore, applications submitted to this grants program must state how the funded project will address the two SPECA Program Goals:
1. To increase the number and diversity of students who will pursue and complete a 2- or 4-year postsecondary degree in the food and agricultural sciences, or other STEM fields closely related to the food and agricultural sciences, and for FY 2013, encourage study in areas that contribute to any of the five NIFA Priority Areas listed above; and
2. To enhance the quality of secondary and two-year postsecondary instruction in order to help meet current and future national food and agricultural sciences workplace needs.
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). An eligible applicant must meet the definition of an Eligible Institution/Organization as stated in this RFA (see Part VIII, E., Definitions).
Deadline: January 18, 2013 (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time).
For more information, go to: http://nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/sec_challenge.html