New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

The mission of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is to build unique partnerships to support innovative science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges.   The New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award provides the early investment needed to launch new faculty members into successful scientific careers in food and agriculture. This award promotes highly creative and promising new scientists who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in food and agriculture.

Within the scope of the New Innovator Program, investigators will have the freedom to explore new avenues of inquiry that arise during their research. Therefore, FFAR is interested in the program of research to be explored and its impact as opposed to a list of very specific aims. The emphasis is on innovation and creativity; preliminary data are not required but may be included. An overall and annual budgets will be required, but connecting them to specific aims will not be necessary. The review process emphasizes the individual’s creativity, the innovativeness of the research approaches, and the potential of the program, if successful, to have a significant impact on an important research problem. FFAR always welcomes partnerships that will enhance the research program. Therefore, collaboration with others is encouraged.

It is expected that through this program investigators will have the ability to pursue highly creative ideas, to firmly establish their early lines of research into important food and agriculture scientific areas, and provide stability in funding during their critical early career years by reducing the time spent on writing applications.

Each institution is allowed to nominate one investigator.  The nominated faculty member must have been hired on or after August 1, 2016 for a tenure-track or equivalent position and may work in any discipline or any department within the institution.  Grants are for a maximum of $150,000 per year, for up to three years.  Matching funds are NOT required, however, matching is encouraged to broaden the scope of the program, and, if available, should be reflected in the budget. Lack of matching funds will not influence the review of the application.  Indirect costs are limited to 10% of the total award. Unrecovered indirect cost is not permitted. Construction and renovation costs are not allowed.  Salaries of principal investigators are allowed for time not covered by institutional or other grant funds and effort should be commensurate with the research proposed. 

The external nomination process is handled in two phases.  First, a nomination application is prepared for review by the foundation.  It will be reviewed for eligibility, with those nominees deemed appropriate for the award will receive an invitation to submit a full proposal.  The nominee should be able to conduct innovative research in one of the following Challenge Areas:


  • Advanced Animal Systems
  • Health-Agriculture Nexus
  • Next Generation Crops
  • Soil Health
  • Sustainable Water Management
  • Urban Food Systems

The initial nomination application contains both a brief description of the nominee’s research as well as a justification for the nomination choice.

Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

$150,000/yr, up to three years ($450,000)


Faculty members at eligible institutions with the creative ideas, skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research program. The Principal Investigator are invited to work with their institution to develop an application for support. The nominated faculty member must have been hired on or after August 1, 2016, for a tenure-track or equivalent position and may work in any discipline or any department within the institution. Preference will be given to individuals near the onset of their independent research career and who are within eight years of receiving a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Individuals with significant research experience prior to obtaining their faculty position will not be considered for this award.

Submission Process

Step 1:

In ONE PDF, please provide: 

1. A 1-2 page cover letter with one-inch margins and 12-point-font including:

  • Nominee Name
  • Nominee’s date of appointment to the tenure-track or equivalent position (on or after 8/1/2016)
  • Nominee Department/Division and School/College
  • Nominee Contact Information
  • Nominator Contact Information
  • A brief summary of nominee’s research program 
  • Discussion of uniqueness and importance of the research 

2. Federal-grant-style Biosketch (usually NIH or NSF, 3-page limit) 

Please e-mail these documents as a single PDF to by January 31, 2019. 

Step 2:

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by February 7, 2019.

Step 3:

Final nomination paperwork must be received by the Office of Research Administration by February 27, 2019, at 5:00 pm EST

Step 4:

Final proposal must be received by the sponsor by March 4, 2019, at 5:00 pm EST


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
01/31/2020 02/07/2020 02/27/2020 03/04/2020 CLOSED