The PD-STEP and REEU program areas are consistent with the National Research Council’s 2009 report, Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World, which recommends that academic institutions should broaden the undergraduate student experience by integrating opportunities to participate in research, education, and extension.

Sponsor: Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Anticipated Release of RFA - March 2018

Announcement:  Research and Extension Experimental Learning for Undergraduate (REEU) - AFRI ELI Grant Program

                             Professional Development for Secondary School Teachers and Educational Professionals (PD-STEP)  

                            The PD-STEP Program - begins on page 8 of the PDF  - see additional information at bottom of this webpage.                         

Internal Letter of Intent Deadline:  May 14, 2018  5pm PST  Email to

Sponsor External Deadline: 

Web Address:

LSO Details:  A single institution can submit a maximum of three proposals.  One awarded per institution.

The REEU program area promotes research and extension learning experiences for undergraduates such that upon graduation they may enter the agricultural workforce with exceptional skills. This initiative will allow colleges and universities to provide fellowship opportunities for undergraduate students, including those from underrepresented and economically-disadvantaged groups, minority-serving institutions, community colleges, and other universities. Projects may provide students opportunities to: 1) Obtain hands-on experiences; 2) Acquire research and extension skills necessary to join the agricultural workforce or pursue graduate studies in the FANH sciences; 3) Obtain a strong mentoring experience required for success in the FANH sciences; and 4) Gain experience by participating in research and extension projects or programs that deliver science-based knowledge to people, thus, enabling them to make practical decisions. Program delivery may include audiences from community-based to national, and may use communication methods from face-to-face to electronic or combinations thereof. Extension Projects may also include related matters such as 7 certification programs, in-service training, client recruitment and services, curriculum development, instructional materials and equipment, and innovative instructional methodologies appropriate to informal educational programs.

General guidance for preparation of letters of intent to the Office for Research Development:

COVER SHEET (1 page)

  • Solicitation Name and Descriptive Title
  • Project Summary:  3 or 4 sentences or bullet points that provide an overview of the objective of your proposed research, how you plan to do it, and the expected outcome.
  • Unique Aspects:  3 or 4 sentences or bullet points that highlight how your research/approach is different/better.
  • Key PI/co-PIs:  5 or 6 sentences or bullet points that highlight team expertise as it relates to the project.
  • Budget:  Example:  The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $ X, with $ Y being requested from the sponsor.   Funds will be used for: $ A for personnel; $ B for operations, and $ C for broader impacts/subcontracts etc. 
  • Justification for sponsor support: One paragraph explaining why this research fits with the RFP and strategic goals of sponsor. 


Read the sponsor's guidelines and consider what the most important review criteria will be. Draft a letter of intent of four pages or less, including the following:

  • Problem statement - Clear and concise statement of 1) research question(s) and how the project will address the research question(s); 2) what technical barriers need to be overcome to perform the research; and 3) how the proposed research can lead to the advancement of research/knowledge in this area.
  • Conceptual framework:  Conceptual framework describing, for example, how the synthesis of various project components, approaches, and participant expertise are linked together to address the problem of interest.  Graphics may be used.
  • Proposed activities: Describe the project to be undertaken and provide the technical specifications of the research activities and timelines that will be undertaken.
  • Expected results: Describe the outcome you anticipate from the research. (Remember your initial motivation for wanting to do this!)
  • Peer Groups: Who else is doing something similar, why their discoveries are useful for you, and what discriminates you.
  • Broader Impact/Metrics for Success: What metrics are the most appropriate for evaluating the success of the proposed project (e.g., peer-reviewed papers, policy-directed efforts, databases, models, development of new resources, etc.)? If successful, who would most likely use the knowledge or tools developed?
  • Fundraising:  List any matching fund requests, industry commitments etc.  List any similar current proposals pending.

Suggested Reviewers: (1 page) Optional – but as you write envision who might be a reviewer of your proposal or the Program Officer.

  • Reviewer 1: Area of expertise
  • Name
  • Title
  • Contact
  • State why you think this person would be a good reviewer.


Program Area Priority - The PD-STEP program area will support Research, Education, Extension or Integrated Projects that promote faculty expertise and encourage widespread implementation of educational innovation at the K-14 levels in the FANH sciences. This includes projects that contain elements of the human sciences (e.g., disciplines that address issues challenging individuals, youth, families, and communities).

PD-STEP applications will also be evaluated according to the following program specific criteria:

o The following elements must be described: institutional long-range goals, identification of a problem or opportunity to be addressed, justification for the project, innovation, advancing educational equity, multidisciplinary and/or problem-based focus, and potential for adoption by other institutions/organizations.

o Roles of key personnel and mentors (if applicable) are clearly defined.

o Partnerships with other organizations, industry, and institutions are established with letters of support.

o Methods for evaluating success of project activities and documenting potential impact against measurable outcomes are suitable and feasible.

o Project will enhance and sustain human capital beyond the life of the grant. 






Monday, May 14, 2018
Date Open: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017