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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Higher Education Challenge Grants Program

Deadline: May 27, 2019

The Higher Education Challenge (HEC) Grants Program will enable colleges and universities to provide the quality of education necessary to produce baccalaureate or higher degree level graduates capable of strengthening the nation’s food and agricultural scientific and professional workforce.

Applications submitted to this program must state how the funded project will address the HEC Program Goals:

  1. To enhance the quality of instruction for baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees, and first professional degrees in veterinary sciences in order to help meet current and future workforce needs in the food, agricultural, natural resources, and human (FANH) sciences
  2. To increase the number and diversity of students who will pursue and complete a postsecondary degree in the FANH sciences

HEC is focused on improving formal, baccalaureate, or master’s degree level FANH sciences education, and first professional degree-level education in veterinary medicine (DVM). HEC projects provide funding to eligible applicants to help ensure a competent, qualified, and diverse workforce will exist to serve the FANH sciences system. At the same time, HEC-funded projects improve the economic health and viability of communities through the development of degree programs emphasizing new and emerging employment opportunities. Finally, HEC projects address the national challenge to increase the number and diversity of students entering the FANH sciences (i.e., having a FANH sciences workforce representative of the nation’s population).

The HEC projects are expected to:

  • Produce measurable impacts aligned with HEC program goals
  • Promote innovative, educational practices within the FANH sciences that improve how students learn
  • Include a rigorous evaluation component to assess that project outcomes are met

Institutions must demonstrate capacity for, and a significant ongoing commitment to, the teaching of food, agricultural, and human sciences generally, and to the specific need and/or discipline(s) for which a grant is requested. Projects should encourage academic institutions, in partnership with organizations and employers, to work collectively to identify and address a state or regional challenge or opportunity facing the FANH sciences education and workforce community. Additionally, projects should encourage broad participation of students traditionally underrepresented in the FANH sciences. An application must convince a peer panel of a compelling educational challenge; clearly indicate how the methodology is both unique and with merit; offer significant promise of adoption by others; and include a plan for how the project impacts will be sustained once grant funds end.

Applicants may submit proposals for one of the following grant types:

  1. Planning Activity – Planning Activity Grants support meetings that bring together FANH educators to identify education/teaching needs, update information, or advance an area of education/teaching.
  2. Standard Grant – Standard Grants support targeted original education/teaching projects. An eligible, institution may submit a grant application for project activities to be undertaken principally on behalf of its own students or faculty, and to be managed primarily by its own personnel. The applicant executes the project without the requirement of sharing grant funds with other project partners.
  3. Collaborative Grants – Collaborative Grants support projects with at least one additional partner or a multi-partner approach to enhance education/teaching programs. Collaborative Grants should build linkages to generate a critical mass of expertise, skill, and technology to address education/teaching programs related to the FANH sciences. Grants can reduce duplication of efforts and/or build capacity and should be organized and led by a strong applicant with documented project management knowledge and skills to organize and carry out the initiative. Collaborative 1 Grant awardees will execute the project with assistance from one additional partner and will transfer at least one half of the awarded funds to the other institution participating in the project. Collaborative 2 Grant awardees will execute the project with assistance from at least two additional partners and must retain at least 30 percent but not more than 70 percent of the awarded funds. No cooperating entity may receive less than 10 percent of awarded funds.

Amount: An anticipated $4,500,000 is available to award funding specific to the following grant types:

  • Planning Activity – Two grants of up to $30,000 will be made for a period of 24 months
  • Standard Grant – Two grants of up to $150,000 will be made for a period of 24-36 months
  • Collaborative 1 Grant – Two grants of up to $300,000 will be made for a period of 24 to 36 months
  • Collaborative 2 Grant – Two grants of up to $750,000 will be made for a period of 36 months

Eligibility: U.S. public or private nonprofit colleges and universities offering a baccalaureate or first professional degree in at least one discipline or area of the FANH sciences; land-grant colleges and universities, (including land grant institutions in the Insular Areas); colleges and universities having significant minority enrollments and a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences; and other colleges and universities having a demonstrable capacity to carry out the teaching of food and agricultural sciences.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=314248

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