Research and Innovation Fellowship for Agriculture (RIFA)

Fellow selection has begun!

The 2019 RIFA Catalog of Hosts available now! Applications are due March 8, 2019.

To apply to become a RIFA fellow please fill review the 2019 RIFA Project Catalog and review oppurtunities. To apply, fill out a Fellowship Application Form
and send all questions and completed applications to

About the Program

The Research and Innovation Fellowship for Agriculture (RIFA) offers early-career professionals enrolled in agricultural and development-oriented graduate programs at all University of California campuses the opportunity to plan, engage and implement two to six-month-long international projects in developing countries.

RIFA Fellows collaborate with a host institution in the country they are working to develop robust projects that address global challenges in agriculture and food systems. Host organizations define the available opportunities and a fellow’s collaborative work contributes integrally to the success and sustainability of ongoing projects and programs. Faculty mentors at the University of California also play an integral role, serving as resources and helping guide Fellows in their projects.

RIFA is funded primarily by the University of California's Global Food Initiative and previously funded by the United States Agency for International Development.

RIFA Project Map

RIFA Fellow Videos

2017 RIFA fellow Alicia Calle explains her research about farmers' engagement with
silvopastoral restoration in Colombia, more videos can be found on our Youtube page.

Information for Student Applicants

The RIFA program will be accepting fellowship applications until March 8, 2019. To be eligible for a RIFA fellowship, you must be enrolled in a graduate program at a University of California campus through the end of your fellowship period.

Useful Documents: RIFA Application Checklist, Find a RIFA Mentor, RIFA Timeline

Programmatic Expectations and Requirements:

  • Fellows must attend a 1-day intensive international experiences course before departure .
  • Fellows must complete project implementation plans prior to departure, be in-country between 2-6 months and complete their promised deliverables within 3 months after returning home.
  • Fellows must correspond regularly with their hosts and mentors.
  • Fellows must submit final and monthly reports as well as a final communications requirement.

Award Benefits:

  • Students will receive a travel stipend for round-trip airfare.
  • Students will receive a living stipend equivalent to $1,000 for each month in country.
  • Health coverage and pre-travel vaccination costs.

For more information see our programmatic brochure.

Host Institutions

The host application period for 2019 has closed.
RIFA hosts may be any type of international organization: Private institution/company, governmental institution, NGO, university, or international research institute that is seeking expertise in agriculture, food systems, or related social and environmental issues. Project locations may be based in developing countries worldwide, with some limitations on very high and high-risk locations. All projects are open to all 50,000 + graduate students in the University of California system.

Hosting of a RIFA Fellow entails providing them with overseas project or research opportunities with a UC-affiliated organization. These opportunities may be well-defined, or they may identify a broadly defined need within the organization from which the Fellow and the organization could jointly develop a project plan. Projects should address a specific challenge in the agriculture or food systems sector. Fellowships frequently contribute to students’ master or doctoral work. Basic internships where the student works broadly within an organization are not appropriate for RIFA Fellowships

Learn more about hosting a RIFA fellow from our RIFA Host informational flier: 2017 RIFA Host flier.


Mentors are an integral piece of the RIFA Fellowship Program. Mentors may be professors, emeriti, or non-faculty academics affiliated with the University of California. Mentors will work with students to create their implementation plans, build connections with their partners and follow their progress throughout the project cycle.

Program Sustainability

We envision the RIFA program as a challenge to our institutional development office to build an endowment that could expand and sustain this initiative. We will seek the opportunity to demonstrate during the next three years the importance of this program and to reach out to the private sector for support. To learn more see our support flyer.

Information for Current Fellows

Orientation Documents

Liability Form
External Communications
Implementation Plan
Trip Safety Planning
Monthly Reporting Template
Final Reporting Template
Budget Worksheet
Award Letter

Additional Resources

Example of Suitable Monthly Report
Risk Management
Goals and Objectives Presentation
Monitoring and Evaluation
Science Communication Workshop
Theory of Change
Gender Lens Presentation
Stakeholder Analysis
Project Timelines and Gantt Charts
Host-Mentor Handout
Video Scripting
Video Filming Tips
Social Media & Comms Cheat Sheet
Budgeting, Materials,and Resources
Example Budget Template
IRB Information Guide