FFAR-OCP Disruptive Technology Fellowship

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Full Application Receipt Open: April 6, 2022 at 12:00 PM ET

Full Applications Due: June 1, 2022 by 5:00 PM ET

Award Notification: Fall 2022

Anticipated Project Start Date: Winter 2022

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About the FFAR-OCP Disruptive Technology Fellowship

This competitive fellowship aims to spur and foster disruptive innovation in the next generation of fertilizer research and development through a research challenge, whereby emerging young scientists in agriculture research can enhance their efforts in fertilizer efficiency research and technology development. The technologies and research generated through this project will address the need for increasing plant uptake of essential macronutrients and limit the loss of inputs – which contribute largely to water and marine ecosystem damage – while boosting productivity

The FFAR-OCP Disruptive Technology Fellowship (FFAR-OCP Fellowship) supports research in the following areas:

  • Organic Fertilizers
  • Intelligent Fertilizers
  • Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers
  • Biofertilizers
  • Biostimulants
  • Specialty products

The FFAR-OCP Fellowship provides stipend support for up to five early career scientists (within up to ten years of receiving PhD) and seeks to enable high impact research in the focus areas of the project.

Awardees will receive a maximum of $75,000 and will cover 12-24 months of funding to conduct projects in fertilizer efficiency research and technology development that have already demonstrated promise in a first phase of research and would clearly benefit from a catalytic push to achieve proof of concept or early product development to progress to a second phase.

The FFAR-OCP Fellowship will not support brand new research proposals without any prior history of research progress.

The awardees will also receive a certificate and be named as OCP/FFAR disruptive fertilizer technology fellows. Fellows may be extended the opportunity to partner with OCP and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco to co-develop novel fertilizer products that could be highly efficient both for high production and low input agriculture following the completion of the project.

Informational Webinar

FFAR and OCP North America held an informational webinar in March 2022 answering frequently asked questions about this fellowship. Please watch the recorded webinar below for more information about this opportunity.

Application Guidelines

Are matching funds required?

Matching funds are not required for this opportunity.

How do I apply?

Applications must be submitted through FFAR’s online Grant Management System. Applications not submitted through this portal will not be considered eligible for evaluation. To be fair to all our applicants, FFAR will not grant an extension to applicants who missed the deadlines posted in the Key Dates section.

To start a new application, please click here. If you are a new user, register for an account by clicking the “Create Account” button located under the email address field on the left side of the home page. Once you log in, you may begin working on your application. Please be sure to save your work often by clicking on “Save and Finish Later”. To access a saved application, please do so through your Grant Management Account.

What are the application components?

Required Components

Please reference FFAR’s Applicant Forms & Examples webpage for samples and templates.

  1. Project Title (up to 250 characters)
  2. Project Start Date and End Date
  3. Proposed budget
    1. Total proposed budget
    2. Budget Form (access FFAR’s budget template here)
    3. Budget justification: Provide a brief overview of the budget by task or objective. Address costs related to personnel, equipment, and facilities, and analytics. (up to 1000 words)
  4. Key project personnel – name(s), affiliation, expertise, project role
    1. I./Fellow and Key Personnel Biosketch: Five-page limit per individual listed as P.I. or key personnel in the project. (see Biosketch Guidelines)
    2. Current and Pending Support: Complete for everyone listed as P.I. or Key personnel on the project.
  5. Project timeline by year
  6. Which research fucus area does your project fall under? (Choose all that apply)
    • Organic Fertilizers: Fertilizers qualified for organic certification with NPK macronutrients and/or organominerals.
    • Intelligent Fertilizers: Nanofertilizers and “smart” fertilizers that supply specific plant nutrient needs in real time (based on chemical formulations, coating, etc.)
    • Enhanced Efficiency Fertilizers: Slow-release and control-release fertilizers; stabilized fertilizers with a demonstrated limited nutrient loss at field-scale; combined chemical and organic compounds to improve efficiency
    • Biofertilizers: Chemical or biologicals that include highly agronomically efficient microbes such as phosphorus solubilizing bacteria, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, PGPRs, fungi and others and/or coating technology to improve long-lasting viability of microbes and feasibility of industrial production of biofertilizers.
    • Biostimulants: Biostimulants that control and/or boost development and/or are effective in alleviating biotic and abiotic stress
    • Specialty products: Highly soluble fertilizers; highly efficient fertilizers for drip irrigation applications, foliar spray, and for specialty crops


Technical Merit and Feasibility

  1. What are your research aims and objectives? (up to 1000 words)
  2. Describe your research methods. (up to 5000 words)
  3. Describe your risk evaluation and risk mitigation plan. (up to 500 words)
  4. Describe your data management plan with a commitment to public access. (up to 500 words)


Novelty and Innovation

  1. Describe your first phase of research in this area, and how this funding would provide a catalytic push to achieve proof of concept or early product development to progress to a second phase. (up to 1000 words)
  2. How does your proposal address a challenge related to our food supply or sustainable agriculture via improvement of soil health and responsible plant nutrition? (up to 1000 words)
  3. What step-change in next-gen fertilizer science and technology can be anticipated as a result of your research? (up to 1000 words)


Impact and Outcomes

  1. Describe the potential impact and applied relevance of this research under high production or low input agriculture environments. (up to 1000 words)
  2. How FFAR is uniquely positioned to fund this project? (up to 500 words)
  3. Describe how this project emphasizes scalability, and how you plan to disseminate the project outcomes through potential leveraging of OCP group’s massive R&D and manufacturing infrastructure. (up to 1000 words)
  4. Describe how this project would provide training for the next generation of scientists (up to 500 words)




Additional Required Components

  1. References Cited
  2. Organization Assurances for any type of research involving:
    • Human subjects
    • Vertebrate animals
    • Recombinant DNA
    • National Security implications
    • Hazardous materials
    • Human fetal tissue
    • NEPA review


Optional Attachments (This section should not be used to circumvent the word limit for other sections) 

  1. Graphics, Figures, Equations, and Tables – The textbox for the Research Program Plan does not support equations, tables, graphics, and figures. Applicants may upload a PDF document with graphics, figures, tables, or a list of equations to support the research program plan. (Five-page limit)
  2. Letters of Support – Applicants may provide letters of institutional, collaborator, or stakeholder support for the proposed project. Please combine all letters of support into a single PDF document before uploading as an attachment.
  3. Matching Funds Contribution Letters (if applicable) – Please refer to the FFAR websitefor FFAR’s Matching Guidelines and the Matching Funds Contribution Letter Template. Upload a single PDF that contains all of the required Matching Funds Contribution letter(s) for each of the Matching Contributor(s) listed in this application.
How will I be notified if my grant application is approved?

Selection Notice

Following the full proposal review, the principal investigator and the authorized organization representative listed on the project will be officially notified by email whether (1) the proposal has been selected for funding pending contract negotiations, or (2) the proposal has not been selected funding. If a proposal is selected for funding, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research reserves the right to request additional or clarifying information for any reason deemed necessary, including, but not limited to, matching funds if applicable, or other budget information. Potential grantees are free to accept or reject the Grant Agreement as offered.

Award Notice

FFAR notifies applicants of whether they are selected for funding through email. The notice does not constitute an award or obligate funding from FFAR until there is a fully executed Grant Agreement.

Grant Period(s)

Upon receipt of the Grant Agreement, the potential grantee should note the Start Date and the End Date. Grantees may only use FFAR funds on project expenditures on or after the Start Date of the Grant. Charging expenditures to the grant prior to the effective date is strictly prohibited. Likewise, grantees may not use FFAR funds after the End Date except to satisfy obligations to pay allowable project costs committed on or before that date. The expiration date is the last day of a month.

Once the Grant Agreement is fully executed, the Start Date cannot be changed. The End Date may be changed with a written approval of a no-cost extension request by FFAR. If a no-cost-extension request is approved, FFAR will issue an amendment to the Grant Agreement.

If the grantee requires additional time beyond the Grant Period and the established End Date to assure adequate completion of the original scope of work within the funds already made available, the grantee may request a no-cost extension of up to 12 months. The request must be submitted to FFAR at least thirty (30) days prior to the End Date of the grant. The request must explain the need for the extension and include an estimate of the unobligated funds remaining and a plan for their use. This one-time extension will not be approved merely for using the unexpended funds.

Who should I contact with questions?

FFAR only accepts scientific or programmatic, and grants inquiries by email. We strive to respond to inquiries within two business days, but our response time depends on the volume of questions we receive and the complexity of the questions asked. Please note that we do not monitor this mailbox on evenings, weekends, or federal holidays. All Scientific and Grants Questions Contact should be emailed to grants@foundationfar.org

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