Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) 2020 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary 

With this program, FFAR intends to support and promote the future generation of exceptionally talented and creative new faculty who are conducting critical and highly innovative research, and are establishing research programs that will lead to expanded availability of food and facilitate the global practice of sustainable agriculture as the world’s population grows to more than 9 billion people by the year 2050. The New Innovator Award seeks to promote career advancement of highly creative and promising new scientists who intend to make a long-term career commitment to research in food and agriculture and bring innovative, ground-breaking research initiatives and thinking to bear on problems facing food and agriculture.

FFAR anticipates funding no more than ten awards in the FFAR Challenge Areas:

  • Advanced Animal Systems
  • Health-Agriculture Nexus
  • Next Generation Crops
  • Soil Health
  • Sustainable Water Management
  • Urban Food Systems


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST February 10, 2020

Sponsor Nomination Deadline: 3:00pm MST March 4, 2020

Sponsor Full Proposal Deadline (for nominees only): 3:00pm MST March 25, 2020

Sponsor Full Application Deadline (by invitation only): 3:00pm MST May 6, 2020

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Nominee Justification Letter (from someone other than PI, 300-word limit): Please explain how the nominee is outstanding in his/her field and why the nominee should receive the FFAR New Innovator Award.
  • PI Project Summary (2-3 pages maximum): Please include the following: scientific challenge or opportunity to be addressed and its significance, goals and objectives, scientific approach, anticipated outcomes, data management plan, facilities and equipment.
  • PI Biosketch (up to 3 pages maximum)
  • Budget Overview (up to 1 page): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit:


Nominees must have been hired on or after August 1, 2016 for a tenure-track or equivalent position and may work in any discipline or any department within the institution. Preference will be given to individuals near the onset of their independent research career and who are within eight years of receiving a Ph.D. or equivalent degree. Individuals with significant research experience prior to obtaining their faculty position will not be considered for this award.

Self-nominations are not allowed.

Limited Submission Guidelines

CU Boulder is invited to nominate one applicant.

Award Information

Award Amount: Up to $150,000/year for up to three years. Matching funds are not required, however, matching is encouraged to broaden the scope of the program, and, if available, should be reflected in the budget. Lack of matching funds will not influence the review of the application.

Award Duration: Up to 36 months.

Number of Awards: Up to 10.

Review Criteria

Impact and Outcome: Does the research program address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the Challenge Area? Did the applicant identify how FFAR is uniquely positioned to fund this research program? If the program is successful, will it create new paradigms or challenge existing ones in the U.S. and/or global food systems? If applicable, did the applicant address any potential for commercializing research output? Will the applicant train the next generation of food and agriculture research scientists, and if so, how?

Investigator: Is the PI well suited to the research program? Does the PI show the potential to have significant impact on his/her field? Does the PI have the appropriate experience and training? Is the effort committed sufficient to perform the proposed research? Will the PI be an inspiring mentor who will attract and motivate students and post-docs in their lab?

Novelty, Innovation and Originality: Does the application adequately discuss the significance of the challenge that is being addressed in the proposal and how the research will contribute to a solution? Has the applicant demonstrated that this research has not been done elsewhere, or that this research accelerates a current research challenge or addresses a challenge in a new or innovative manner?

Technical Merit and Feasibility: Are the goals and objectives of the proposed research program clear? Are the overall scientific approach and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate? Did the applicant identify potential risks to successfully complete the research goals/objectives and propose to address them? Is the data and results management plan outlined by the applicant adequate? Will the PI share the data and research results with the food and agriculture community during and at the end of the project?

Partnerships: Did the applicant detail the partnerships involved in the program? Does the applicant propose build a diverse team featuring industry, nonprofit, state or local partnerships? Are those partners integral to the proposed program?