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(CLOSED) Limited Submission: Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program (SPECA)

SPECA-funded projects encourage academic institutions, in partnership with organizations and employers to identify and address challenges facing the food and agricultural sciences education and workforce community.

Summary

The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program seeks to: (a) promote and strengthen secondary education and two-year postsecondary education in the food and agriculture sciences in order to help ensure the existence of a workforce in the United States that’s qualified to serve the food and agriculture sciences system; and (b) promote complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the food and agriculture sciences in order to advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the food and agriculture sciences.

The purpose of the SPECA program is to award grants to: 1) Enhance the quality of K-14 instruction in order to help meet current and future national food and agricultural sciences workplace needs; 2) Increase the number and diversity of students who will pursue and complete a 2 or 4-year degree in the food and agricultural sciences; 3) Promote and strengthen secondary education and 2-year postsecondary education in agriscience and agribusiness in order to help ensure the existence in the United States of a qualified workforce to serve the food and agricultural sciences system; and 4) Promote complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, 2-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the food and agricultural sciences in order to promote excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the food and agricultural sciences.

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount

  • Regular Grant: $50,000
  • Collaborative Type 1 Grant: $150,000
  • Collaborative Type 2 Grant: $300,000
  • The anticipated amount available for SPECA in FY2021 is approximately $800,000. This RFA is being released prior to the passage of an appropriations act for FY 2021. Enactment of additional continuing resolutions or an appropriations act may affect the availability or level of funding for this program.

Eligibility

  • Applicants for the SPECA must meet all the requirements discussed in this RFA. Applications may only be submitted by: (1) public secondary schools, (2) public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges, (3) institutions of higher education, or (4) nonprofit organizations (Attach IRS 501(c)(3) status under R&R ‘Other Project Information’ Field 12 Other Attachments).

Selection Criteria

  • Potential for Advancing Quality of Education/Significance of the Problem. This criterion is used to assess the likelihood that the project will have an impact upon and advance the quality of food and agricultural sciences by strengthening institutional capacities to meet clearly delineated needs. Elements considered include 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. The proposed project must also show its relevance to the goals of the SPECA Program of increasing the number, diversity, and quality of the food and agricultural sciences workforce. Potential project impacts must be stated
  • Proposed Approach and Cooperative Linkages. This criterion relates to the soundness of the proposed approach including objectives, methodology, plan of operation, timetable, expected products and results, evaluation, and dissemination plans. The project evaluation plan must state the methodologies to be used in assessing the accomplishment of stated products, results and measurable impacts from the project. The approach must be based on sound research concepts and educational principles and may be documented through background literature or actual institutional data. Emphasis is placed on the quality of educational or research support provided to the applicant institution/organization through its partnerships and collaborative initiatives, and on the potential cooperative linkages likely to evolve as a result of this project. Any perceived pitfalls and alternative strategies or approaches are addressed.
  • Institutional Capability and Capacity Building. This criterion relates to the institution’s capability to perform the project and the degree to which the project will strengthen its teaching or research capacity. Elements include the institution’s commitment to the project, the adequacy of institutional resources (administrative, facilities, equipment, and/or materials) available to carry out the project, potential for academic or research enhancement, and plans for project continuation or expansion beyond the period of USDA support. Include institutional data (i.e., financial, personnel and physical resources available to support the project could all be potential data provided by the applicant, depending upon the particular Need Area) to show the institution’s ability to support the proposed project.
  • Key Personnel. This criterion relates to the adequacy of the number, qualifications and expertise of key persons who will develop and carry out the project, and the qualifications of project personnel who will provide for the assessment of project results and impacts and the dissemination of these findings. Specific roles for each key personnel must be defined to ensure appropriate project leadership and to avoid any duplication of effort. For a CG2 proposal, qualifications and expertise of key persons representing all contributors should be included. Such expertise should address all critical activities of the CG2 project.
  • Budget and Cost-Effectiveness. This criterion relates to the extent to which the total budget adequately supports the project and is cost effective. Elements considered include the necessity and reasonableness of costs to carry out project activities and achieve project objectives; the appropriateness of budget allocations between the applicant and any collaborating institution(s); the adequacy of time committed to the project by key project personnel; and the degree to which the project maximizes the use of limited resources, optimizes educational value for the dollar, achieves economies of scale, leverages additional funds, and focuses expertise and activity on high-priority educational or research need areas.

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit one proposal.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.edu according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:

  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Project Type: Regular, Collaborative Grant Type 1, or Collaborative Grant Type 2)
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
    • Indicate whether or not you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • A two-page Curriculum vitae

Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to limsub@uga.edu by the internal deadline listed above.

Questions?

Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officers:

Carlos Ortiz, PhD

Phone: (202) 445-5594

Email: carlos.ortiz@usda.gov


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