The Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program funds “proof of concept” projects intended to confirm the benefit and/or feasibility of new practices and approaches that have high potential for adoption by farmers.
These practices and approaches may be related to production, marketing, business management, human resource management and other social issues, or other topics related to sustainable agriculture. By “proof of concept,” we mean that evidence from prior experiments or pilot projects strongly suggest a practice or approach is beneficial and feasible, but additional testing, data and refinement is needed before recommending farmer adoption.
Research may be conducted through field trials, laboratory experiments and social science investigations. Exploratory research with little likelihood of determining feasibility for farmer adoption in the near-term will not be funded. There must be documented interest among farmers and service providers in utilizing or promoting the novel approach, should it be proven beneficial and feasible.
Preproposals are required for the Research for Novel Approaches Grant Program. The preproposal is a preliminary concept document that allows SARE reviewers to select the most promising projects to be invited to submit full proposals.
Only invited preproposal applicants are eligible to submit a full proposal.
Preproposals for this grant program are typically due in mid-summer and invited full proposals are usually due in the fall.
Research for Novel Approaches grants are open to personnel at colleges and universities, Cooperative Extension, agricultural and community nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments of agriculture and federal agencies, research farms and experiment stations, for-profit entities (such as private consultants and agricultural businesses), and others who work with farmers and in food systems.
Northeast SARE encourages projects submitted from or in collaboration with Minority Serving Institutions (including 1890s and other historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and tribal colleges and universities) and other organizations in the Northeast region that work with socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Your organization must have the legal structure and financial capacity in place to receive and execute a Northeast SARE contract, including expending funds needed for the project prior to receiving reimbursements from Northeast SARE; advance payments are not possible.
Projects must take place within the Northeast region, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.
Northeast SARE will not fund proposals that appear to duplicate work that has been approved for funding by another grant program (within or external to SARE).
Reviewers prefer projects in the $30,000 to $200,000 range. Funding requests should align with project duration, scope of the work, and intensity of interaction with beneficiaries. Amounts higher than the typical range will be considered for projects that include multi-disciplinary or multi-institutional research and education networks, especially when those networks enable a more comprehensive systems approach to addressing challenges or opportunities.
In previous years, about one-third of preproposals have been invited to submit full proposals, and about one-third of full proposal submissions have been awarded. Eight to twelve awards are made each year, depending on available funding.
Typical project length is 2 to 3 years. The maximum project length allowed is 3.5 years.
If you have questions about the Research for Novel Approaches in Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program, please contact grant coordinator Kali McPeters.