Research and Education Grant

About the Research and Education Grant Program

The North Central Region SARE (NCR-SARE) Research and Education (R&E) Grant Program is a competitive grant program for researchers and educators involved in projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems.

Research and Education projects include a strong outreach component and significant farmer/rancher or other end-user involvement from the inception of the idea through the implementation of the project. Generally:

  • Research and Education grant awards range from $10,000 to $250,000.
  • Projects may last up to 36 months or may choose to propose a long-term project.
  • About 16 projects are funded per year. In 2023, NCR-SARE received 139 preproposals, invited 37 to be developed into full proposals, and selected 17 proposals for funding.
  • The NCR-SARE Administrative Council makes Grant-making decisions.
  • Collaborative teams build research and Education grants.
  • Producers are key participants in grant activities.
  • Coordinators are encouraged to explore social, environmental, AND economic aspects of whole systems.
  • All projects include a strong outreach component.
  • sample call for preproposals is available throughout the year, but you should always consult the current call for preproposals when applying.
  • The portfolio of research grants is reviewed and awarded on an annual timeline.
  • Take a look at grants that have been previously funded.
  • View the grants funded in the last grant cycle.

Many projects are interdisciplinary and/or multi-institutional, involving a broad range of agricultural interests. Project coordinators in the past have explored sustainable agriculture under the following topics:

  • Sustainable pest and weed mgmt.
  • Marketing and local food systems
  • Water quality and nutrient mgmt.
  • Systems research
  • High tunnels and season extension
  • Crop diversification
  • Cover crops and soil health
  • Small ruminants/poultry/cattle
  • Pastured livestock/grazing systems
  • Pollinators and biodiversity
  • Urban agriculture

To receive more information about the NCR-SARE Research and Education Program preproposal/proposal process and timeline, contact the NCR-SARE office. Visit to see reports of other projects.

Funding decisions are made by a regional Administrative Council (AC), with a review from a Technical Committee. The Administrative Council is a collection of producers, university representatives, nonprofit group interests, Extension and NRCS people, other government employees, and agribusiness representatives. This group sets research priorities and recommends projects for funding.

NCR-SARE's Long-Term Funding Option for the Research and Education Grant Program

NCR-SARE recognizes that some research/extension systems work is complex and requires a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that takes many years to complete. To be effective, these projects are likely to exceed the time limits of North Central SARE’s normal one-to-three year funding cycle. Projects that apply under the long-term (more than 3 years) option in the preproposal will be asked to briefly describe why this is a longer-term project and the project's estimated duration. The justification might include the complexity of the project's set-up or relationship building, the ecosystem processes at play, or the need for longer-term data collection/analysis. 

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If invited to complete a full proposal, long-term projects will complete a typical proposal application, requesting funding at no more than the standard cap for the first three year funding period, but will complete an additional segment that provides a projected work plan for a second (and third, if needed) three-year cycle.

Funded long-term projects will receive funding in three-year increments (contingent on NCR- SARE receiving funding.) Each additional increment of funding will be dependent on satisfactory performance in the first round based on reports submitted promptly with yearly objectives and milestones reported on and met, site visits, and an adequate work plan for the next phase.

There are no priorities for long-term projects, but some examples of types of project topics that could be considered long-term include soil/water quality enhancement or degradation, agroforestry, integrated crop-livestock systems, participatory action research, pest resistance mitigation, and climate adaptation.


Timelines are subject to change. Always adhere to the due date listed in the current Call for Proposals.

  • August - Call for Preproposals Released
  • October- Preproposals Due
  • January - Full Proposals Invited
  • March - Full Proposals Due
  • July - Funding Decisions
  • Fall - Funds Available to Recipient


This 2024 Research and Education Grant Program presentation was prepared by NCR-SARE.

  • Download PowerPoint slides about the Research and Education Grant program. 
  • View a video from a 2024 Research & Education Grant Writing webinar.

Personal Contact

A unique aspect of NCR-SARE is our personal contact with grantees involved in the program. Contact Beth Nelson, the Research and Education Program Coordinator, if you have questions about the Research and Education Grant Program.

  • Beth Nelson, Ph.D. Regional Coordinator (Chapter 1) and Director of Research and Education Programs, 612-626-4436, [email protected]

Recent Grant Projects

Click on the links below to access lists of funded project information. You can also view lists of projects that have been funded in your state.

Professional Development
List of 2023 Professional Development Program Projects
Research and Education
List of 2023 Research and Education Projects
Youth Educator
List of 2023 Youth Educator Projects
Graduate Student
List of 2023 Graduate Student Projects
Farmer Rancher
List of 2023 Farmer Rancher Projects
List of 2024 Partnership Projects