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)

 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program - RFA              

1. Research and Extension Experimental Learning for Undergraduate (REEU) - AFRI ELI Grant Program

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

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

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.







Date Open: 
Monday, April 30, 2018
Agency Deadline: 
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Limit per Institution: 
3 for PD-STEP/3 for REUU
Important Notes: 
REUU due 6/28/18/ PD-STEP due 7/11/18