Grant and Funding - Frequently Asked Questions

How does FFAR award funding?

There are three ways to receive a grant:

1) Through responding to a Request for Application (RFA) -- This is the most common way FFAR works. When FFAR determines that a program would benefit from a broad solicitation of expertise from a variety of organizations, FFAR issues an RFA to solicit grant applications.

2) By competing for a Challenge Prize -- In the case of a particular information or technological need, FFAR may design a challenge prize competition in which one or several applicants are awarded funding based on a developed concept or technology.

3) Through Direct Solicitation -- When the FFAR Board of Directors, staff, and Advisory Councils determine that an organization is well-suited to perform a given scope of work and this alignment will most quickly produce the desired outcome, FFAR directly solicits an application from that organization and funds the work accordingly.

To learn about FFAR funding opportunities as they develop, please subscribe to our email distribution list.

FFAR’s website also features a portal for interested parties to offer research program area concepts that FFAR might consider. Research concepts that fall within the Challenge Areas are considered to help define, develop and launch these areas through convening events, RFAs, and Prizes. Research concepts submitted to the FFAR website that do not fall within its current Challenge Areas will not result in FFAR programming except in extraordinary circumstances.

What is your grant application process and how do I apply?

FFAR funding opportunities are announced on our Website. To learn about these opportunities as they develop, please subscribe to our email distribution list.  For further details regarding the process by which FFAR receives, evaluates, and develops concepts, please visit this page.

Fully developed applications should only be submitted in response to a FFAR RFA.  We require that all applications be submitted through our online grants management system (

Who can submit an application to FFAR?

FFAR welcomes applications from individuals and groups with innovative ideas for scientific solutions to pressing challenges in food and agriculture.

Can non-US institutions apply for a grant?

Yes, non-US institutions can apply for a FFAR grant as long as the research project addresses issues that are relevant to the US food and agriculture system, unless otherwise indicated in the RFA.  All correspondence must be in English.

Can one institution submit more than one application?

Yes, an institution can submit to FFAR multiple applications. Please see RFA for full eligibility requirements.

Can U.S. government scientists apply for a grant?

Yes, unless otherwise indicated in the RFA.  All grant applicants, including U.S. government scientists, follow the same FFAR policy for non-federal sourced matching funds.

Can an early career scientist with no established research portfolio apply for FFAR grant?

Yes. We encourage researchers at all stages of their career with innovative ideas to apply for grants in response to Requests for Applications or Challenge Prize.

Can I submit a concept to address any issue within the food and agriculture system?

We are open to opportunities to fund innovation in food and agriculture that fall within our mission.  However, strong preference is given to concepts that fall within one or more of our Challenge Areas.

Does FFAR accept concepts and applications that address challenges in food and agriculture outside the United States?

Yes, as long as the research results are also relevant to the US food and agriculture system.

What size and scope of research concepts is FFAR seeking?

The size and scope of a research project are up to the discretion of the principal investigator. Please review the applicable RFA for the average project budget size, timeline, and program priorities. Applicants are advised not to interpret the maximum allowable time and funding under a FFAR program as a suggestion that they should expand their anticipated work and budget to this level. The budget must be reasonable and commensurate with the proposed work.

Are all FFAR concepts received through the online Research Concept Portal?

No. Research concepts are also generated internally through staff conversations with board members, partner organizations, and other groups. However, all research concepts go through the same review process. The Concept Portal is designed to offer all groups the opportunity to share an idea for consideration, and to explain what makes it uniquely suited for FFAR funding using a uniform template.

I’m not sure if my research idea is the right fit for FFAR. What should I do?

Please review the standard criteria used to evaluate all FFAR programs. If you have further questions, please send your inquiry to

When will I receive a response about my concept?

Should your concept meet the FFAR criteria and be selected for development into a formal program or project, FFAR staff will typically respond within 30 days.

I don’t want to miss a FFAR RFA. How do I make sure I’m in the know?

Please subscribe to FFAR’s email distribution list for the latest updates on funding opportunities. All open solicitations are also published on the FFAR website.

How many Principal Investigators (PIs) can serve on a project? Can there be co-PIs, or does FFAR require a lead PI and other co-PIs?

FFAR allows one PI and multiple co-PIs on a research project. The PI is the designated contact and responsible for all reporting requirements.

What activities are not funded by FFAR?

We fund projects that align with our strategic framework.  FFAR does not award funds to support the following activities:

  • Political organizations, action groups, candidates or lobbying efforts
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes
  • Salary or wage support for staff or administrative personnel other than what might be needed for the administration of specific programs or projects
  • Capital or building campaigns
  • Construction
  • Advocacy programs
  • Recurring external meetings, conferences or workshops*
  • Recurring external fundraising dinners, galas, and events*
  • Outreach, community or education activities without a research component

*FFAR only supports research and activities that directly align with our priorities and is used to inform FFAR programming.

FFAR does not support organizations that have a policy of discriminating based on race, color, religion (creed), sex, gender expression or transition, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, whether the discrimination policies are written or are in practice. Our policy is to not provide grants to any organization that maintains such a policy.

Does FFAR fund meetings and conferences?

In general, we only fund conferences and meetings we initiate.  

How many grant cycles does FFAR have?

FFAR has two grant cycles per calendar year.

When are your application submission deadlines?

Application submission deadlines vary by RFAs and are announced on our open opportunities page.

How does FFAR make award decisions?

Applications submitted to FFAR are reviewed by experts and recommended by FFAR Advisory Councils to the Board for final approval. For further details regarding the process by which FFAR receives, evaluates, and develops concepts, please visit our review process page.

How should research results be disseminated?

FFAR generally requires that research results be published in a peer-reviewed journal. Specific reporting requirements are detailed in RFAs.

What is FFAR’s policy on indirect costs?

FFAR allows indirect costs up to ten percent (10%) of the total funds requested from FFFAR, and up to ten percent (10%) of the required one-to-one institution match. FFAR’s indirect cost allotment is not an indirect cost rate applied to the total modified direct costs but instead it is an overall allotment from the award to be used for indirect costs by the institution. First determine what your total budget is for each year, then allot 10% of what you are requesting from FFAR and 10% of your match to be used for indirect cost and drawn in tandem equally. 90% of the project cost must go directly to the project. No part of your indirect cost can be offered as a match.

Unrecovered indirect cost, defined as the difference between an award recipient’s federally negotiated indirect cost rate and FFAR’s ten percent (10%) indirect cost allotment, MUST NOT be offered and will not be accepted as a match contribution.  FFAR, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is not a federal agency and, therefore, a negotiated federal indirect cost percentage will not apply.

Does the 10% indirect cost policy apply to a portion of the grant (pass-through funds) for selected contractors that participate in the research?

Yes. All conditions of the award, including the 10% indirect cost, also apply to subcontractors.

Do I have to secure matching funds before applying?

No. We strongly encourage applicants to have the match in-hand or have a solid commitment by the full proposal submission to prevent delay in funding the project, if it is selected for funding. FFAR funds cannot be disbursed until all committed match on a FFAR project is secured, in-hand and certified. Matching funds are certified yearly for the entire duration of an award.

What type of matches does FFAR allow?

There are two types of match: in-kind and cash.  Unless otherwise specified in the RFA, at least 50% of the match must be cash. For more information, see FFAR’s Matching Funds Guidelines.

What is FFAR’s policy on in-kind match?

In-Kind Match – is the value of non-cash contributions of goods and services to a proposed project. To meet FFAR’s matching requirements, in-kind match must be less than or equal to 50% of the total match share. Examples of in-kind match are, donation of equipment, supplies, non-expendable property, volunteered professional time or service, donated use of facilities by a third party, etc.

Given that FFAR was funded by U.S. Congress, does the grant-receiving institution need to conform to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit requirements for Federal Awards?

FFAR conforms to the OMB Circular No. A133 audit. We encourage all organizations that receive FFAR funds to use best practices in use of FFAR funds. The Uniform Guidance is a standard to follow.  (

Is FFAR a Federal funding agency?

No. FFAR is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Funds received from FFAR are private.