AFRI Foundational Program

The AFRI Foundational Program focuses on building a foundation of fundamental and applied knowledge in food and agricultural sciences critical for solving current and future societal challenges.

General Information


The application package for some of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative funding opportunities have have been updated. This only affects the AFRI Foundational Program, Resilient Agroecosystems in a Changing Climate Challenge Area, and Water for Food Production Systems Challenge Area Requests for Applications. If you downloaded the application package for this funding opportunity from before May 22, 2017, you MUST download and use the new application package. Using the old application package will result in an error message (“OPP_EXIST_ERROR FATAL”) preventing submission.


The AFRI Foundational Program supports grants in six priority areas:
  • Plant health and production and plant products
  • Animal health and production and animal products
  • Food safety, nutrition, and health
  • Renewable energy, natural resources, and environment
  • Agriculture systems and technology
  • Agriculture economics and rural communities

The program supports single-function and integrated research projects as standard, conference, and Food and Agricultural Science Enhancement (FASE) grants.

In FY 2017, all program area priorities that accept conference grant applications also welcome submission of workshop applications that address the Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT) Initiative. NIFA launched FACT at a summit in 2016 to catalyze activities that harness big data for synthesizing new knowledge, making predictive decisions, and fostering data-supported innovation in agriculture. The submitted workshops should focus on identifying priorities and bottlenecks in generating, managing and integrating data in a specific domain of the food and agricultural system.

Critical Agricultural Research and Extension (CARE)

Despite prior investments in basic and applied research, critical problems continue to impede the efficient production and protection of agriculturally-important plants and animals. These problems may be local, regional, or national; often call for work in one or more scientific disciplines; and need immediate attention to meet producer needs. Finding solutions to these critical problems requires partnership and close coordination among researchers, extension experts, and producers. CARE projects are designed to yield solutions or practices that can be rapidly implemented to meet pressing needs limiting agricultural production.

Exploratory Grants

This program area supports development of innovative ideas that will position U.S. agriculture at the global forefront and lead to quantum leaps in the food and agricultural sciences. Exploratory grants fund novel projects that address challenges in the areas of food security, climate change, environmental quality and natural resources, nutrition, obesity, and food safety, and promote strong families, vibrant communities, and thriving youth.

Program Type: 
Grant Program

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