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Funding and Grants

Background Regarding Resources and Funding

Agricultural economics is the study of the economic forces that affect the food and fiber industry. Specific areas of study in agricultural economics include: (A) Community and rural development, (B) Food safety and nutrition, (C) International trade, (D) Natural resource and environmental economics, (E) Production economics, (F) Risk and uncertainty, (G) Consumer behavior and household economics, (H) Analysis of markets and competition, and (I) Agribusiness economics and management.  As a result, our research areas reach the mission of multiple agencies and granting programs.

National competitive grants programs have increasingly become a popular and important mechanism for funding agricultural research. Updates on recent grants will be provided in the “New Updates” Section of our homepage, and can be accessed through the archived file.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date releases.  C-FARE regularly notifies the profession regarding new opportunities.  Given the broad scope of topics covered by agricultural economics, other grants will also be available.

Common Granting Programs for Applied Economists

General Information

Researchers are encouraged to seek information from web sites, list servers, private foundations, and non-traditional government agencies, as well as other seed money supplied by organizations for proposal development.

Working with your University
If you are a university employee, it is likely you have numerous resources available. Often there are personnel whose job is to assist faculty in writing successful proposals to obtain research grants. Several universities are now organizing grant writers workshops or having graduate students submit proposals to familiarize them with the system.  Utilize and explore these resources.  While writing the grant proposal, it is broadening to work with other universities. However it is also critical to realize your role in obtaining the grant and being the lead university. While grants are becoming more important to promotion and tenure, there are several ways to conduct them that can also benefit the grant writer's future. It is also very beneficial to work jointly with other faculty, as having an advocate proves helpful when applying for tenure.

Obtaining a grant provides a valuable input into the research process that is not complete until the results are successfully published and disseminated through outreach programs. This also helps enhance the chance for future funding.  Be sure to encourage others to apply with their proposals. The more proposals agencies receive the more reviewers and grant writers are likely to be economists.

It is important to let agencies know your areas of expertise and that you will review proposals. Serving on a review panel will allow you to see many well-written successful proposals. This is also a good way to work with the program directors. If you are not selected as a reviewer, contact the program director, request to read their successful proposals from the previous year, and indicate a willingness to participate next year.

Tips on Writing a Proposal

  1. Look at research areas that are in great demand by funding agencies.
  2. Place yourself in the shoes of the reviewer. Make sure your proposal has a sense of clarity, adequacy, and a certain level of novelty to it.
  3. Have objectives that are sufficiently independent, so if you hit a block in one, you can carry on with the others.
  4. Work at it daily.
  5. Appended manuscripts cannot substitute for sufficient detail in the proposal, especially in describing the methodology. Be as definitive as possible.
  6. Have at least two of your colleagues in an allied area of research read your proposal. They can tell you what is missing.
  7. If your proposal is turned down, make sure you read the reviewers comments. Remember that each panel looks and respects the suggestions and comments of the previous year’s panel.
  8. Proof your copy!!
  9. Investigate the grant. Often states have the opportunity for Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) dollars. Obtain a listing of these states from the agency you are applying through. Also special grants are often available for women and minorities.
  10. Know the time line of proposals.
  11. Work with others. Many successful grant-getters work in groups.
  12. After getting a grant, make sure to publish findings in refereed journals as well as technical reports
Last updated: December 13, 2013

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