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Horticulture CRSP Trellis Fund call for proposals, applications

From Brenda Dawson, Communications coordinator, Horticulture CRSP, UC Davis.

“Walking into a really fancy hotel with a live turkey in your hand” might not be what you would expect as part of earning a graduate education in an agricultural field. But adventures like these are part of what graduate students such as Graham Savio have come to expect when applying their knowledge of agriculture while working on development projects abroad.

The turkey was an end-of-the-day gift from a farmer that Savio visited in Uganda, where he was working on a Trellis Fund project. The Trellis Fund pairs U.S. graduate students with an organization in a developing country for an agricultural project on fruits or vegetables.

Over the 2012-2013 school year, 14 graduate students who are working with Trellis Fund projects will have traveled to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nepal. By the time they have completed their Trellis projects, the students will have shared information with farmers on horticultural crops from mushrooms to bananas, and on topics from pest management to postharvest practices.

In an earlier round of completed Trellis projects, 10 students worked with organizations on projects that reached more than 1,935 farmers.

Seeking new applicants, new proposals

The Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program has just released a new call for Trellis Fund project proposals and student applicants, as the program prepares to fund a third round of projects that will begin July 1.

“We feel that Trellis is an excellent opportunity to introduce international development to students who may have not considered that as a career,” said Elizabeth Mitcham, Horticulture CRSP director.

U.S. graduate students from the University of California, Davis, Cornell University, North Carolina State University and University of Hawaii at Manoa are invited to apply to be part of the Trellis projects. Selected students will be reimbursed for travel expenses to visit their assigned project and receive a small fellowship for 100 hours of additional project support via email.

At the same time, organizations in 18 developing countries—from Bangladesh to Zambia—are invited to submit proposals for up to $2,000 in funding to conduct adaptive research and outreach on problems faced by local farmers in horticultural production, pest management, postharvest practices, nutrition or marketing fruit and vegetable crops. Proposals must outline the expertise that the organization needs from a U.S. graduate student, as well as goals and activities of the project.

Horticulture CRSP will select up to 12 of the most successful project proposals for funding and then pair a student with related expertise to the project. Project proposals and student applications are due by March 4.
Read the full release here.

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