The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is pleased to announce three Borlaug Fellowship Program opportunities in fiscal year (FY) 2024. The Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program promotes food security and economic growth by providing training and collaborative research opportunities to Fellows from developing and middle-income countries. The Borlaug Fellowship Program honors Norman E. Borlaug, the American agronomist, humanitarian and Nobel laureate known as the “Father of the Green Revolution.” Since the program’s inception in 2004, hundreds of Fellows from across the globe have participated in research and training focused on a wide array of agriculture-related topics. Find more information about the Borlaug Fellowship Program here: https://www.fas.usda.gov/programs/borlaug-fellowship-program
Fellowships typically last 11-12 weeks. All program proposals must include goals that are achievable within that timeframe. After completing the U.S. based portion of the fellowship, the assigned U.S. mentor will visit the fellow at their home institution approximately one year after the training. Applications must be submitted no later than Friday, 30th of June 2023.
The USDA has approved three focus areas for Borlaug Fellows from South Africa for FY 2024:
- Climate Smart Agriculture / Biotechnology: Identifying and promoting best-bet combination of biotechnology and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies for smallholder farmers. This research fellowship exchange would aim to co-identify and promote the best-bet combination of CSA options to improve food and nutrient security, climate-resilience of the smallholder farmers with greater potential to contribute towards climate change mitigation.
- Biotechnology: Genome Editing Policies, Governance and Messaging – Genome editing is a tool for sequence-specific changes in the plant genome that for the first time enable breeders to introduce single point mutations at a specific location in the plant genome with unprecedented control and efficiency.This research fellowship aims to support South Africa’s development of a regulatory framework that is science-based, pro-trade, and aligned with international best practices.
- Biotechnology: CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing in Maize for Virus Disease Resistance – This fellowship opportunity aims to support South Africa’s progress towards the development of an event with maize streak virus resistance that will support the development of maize lines expressing resistance to maize lethal necrosis diseases and maize streak virus for use in maize breeding programs in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent.
Eligibility for the Borlaug Fellowship Program:
- Citizen of South Africa
- Proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking in English
- Master’s degree or higher with at least two years of practical experience
- Currently employed by a government department, university, research institution, or other scientific institution in South Africa
- Intention to continue working in South Africa for a minimum of two years following return from the United States
- Early/mid-stage of professional career (2-10 years of experience preferred)
- Proposal directly related to one of the above listed research areas
- Fellows must be in good physical and mental health. A thorough physical exam is required by a licensed doctor prior to traveling to the United States.
- Completed application form (attached)
- Program proposal and research action plan
- Signed approval from applicant’s home institution
- Two letters of recommendation (academic and professional preferred)
- Copies of diploma(s) for college/university degree(s) received
- Copy of passport identification page
If selected as a Borlaug Fellow, the USDA will provide the following:
- J1 visa referral (no visa application fee required)
- Roundtrip travel to U.S. location of fellowship (University/Institution to be determined)
- Daily stipend for housing, meals, and incidental expenses, based on the U.S. government rate for fellowship location in the United States
- Emergency medical insurance
For any questions related to the application process, please contact:
Office of Agricultural Affairs, U.S. Embassy Pretoria