preloader animation

Our Funding & Approval Process

We support research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. This research generates actionable results that benefit farmers, consumers and the environment.

Our multi-step process begins with collecting broad input, continues with a rigorous review process and culminates with funding the highest-quality and most relevant research.


Concept Development

We engage with various sources to generate program concepts, including:

  • USDA
  • Commodity and farm groups
  • Research organizations and conferences
  • Convening events
  • FFAR stakeholders
  • FFAR staff
  • FFAR Board of Directors
  • FFAR Advisory Councils

Our Scientific Program Directors then review these concepts to ensure alignment with FFAR’s priorities. The respective Scientific Program Director also consults USDA to ensure the concept does not duplicate efforts.

Potential program concepts are further evaluated based on:

  • Mission alignment
  • Innovation
  • Potential impact across the food system
  • Actionable outcomes
  • Research needs
  • Interest/engagement from the private sector

Our Executive Director determines if the concept should be pursued.


Concept Clearance

Each Challenge Areas has an Advisory Council comprised of external scientists, agriculture practitioners and other stakeholders. The Advisory Council reviews and determines whether the prospective program concept aligns with the relevant Challenge Area priorities and will yield actionable results that solve critical food and agriculture challenges.


Program Approval

The program concept is presented to our Scientific Program Committee, a subset of Board members, for final approval. If approved, the program concept becomes a FFAR program.


Application Notification and Submission

Once the research programs are established, we fund innovative projects in those programs.

In addition to awarding grants or prizes through competitive programs, we may choose to directly fund some research. At times, we know of an individual or organization that is well-suited to conduct the necessary research and we may directly solicit a proposal from them. Applications received in response to a direct solicitation, like competitive research applications, are subject to the same rigorous scientific review process and matching funding requirement.

Applicants can view funding opportunities within specific research programs on the Open Opportunities page. Our website includes information about each opportunity, including eligibility, research requirements, review criteria, how to apply and deadlines.


Application Review

All applications undergo a rigorous review process, including reviews by External Peer Reviewers and our Advisory Councils.

External Peer Review

Independent External Peer Reviewers, scientific experts within the respective topic area, evaluate applications based on criteria that may include:

  • Scientific or technical merit
  • Potential impact and relevance
  • Project strategy and feasibility
  • Innovation

Advisory Council Review

Advisory Councils, comprised of individuals with significant industry or scientific expertise in each of our Challenge Areas, consider applications based on:

  • Alignment with FFAR’s priorities
  • Portfolio Balance
  • Potential impact and relevance
  • Merit across topic area

Our Scientific Program Directors compile results from both reviews to present recommendations to the Executive Director.


Executive Director Approval

The Executive Director reviews all recommended awards for final approval.


Projects are Awarded

Once the grant agreement is finalized, we publicly announce the award.

Want to do more to support our pioneering research?