Posted: July 31, 2019

Full proposals due April 16, 2020

This program area priority supports rigorous theoretical and empirical efforts to create and examine innovative approaches for advancing economic opportunities for rural entrepreneurs and communities, with an aim to promote rural prosperity and well-being. The intent of the program area priority is to improve the understanding of the factors and conditions that enhance economic opportunities for food, agricultural and rural businesses through tools and methods from the 62 various social sciences, (i.e., sociology, demography, economics, geography, etc.). Studies that focus on women, and ethnic and/or racial minority groups are of interest.

Projects can be either integrated (to include extension and/or education, along with research) or research only. Projects may evaluate the institutional, social, or economic factors affecting decision making and policy development to enhance the economic growth and well-being of rural communities.

This program area priority focuses mainly on entrepreneurs, small businesses, and other local level employers and services who are important sources of employment, and/or on other issues "beyond the farm gate."

  • The emphasis of this program area priority includes, but are not limited to: • Examine the determinants of household and community food security.
  • Explore place-making assets, including cultural amenities, performing arts and the aesthetic character of rural communities, and their impacts on rural livability, new resident attraction and retention, and economic development and prosperity.
  • Identify strategies for economic growth in regions of persistent extreme poverty that can directly or indirectly impact public-health crises including opioid abuse and suicide.
  • Examine the potential for various constellations of business/industry investment, development of labor supply, education and training resources, and cultural resources to enhance the human capital of the labor supply to produce sustainable regional economic growth. What are the needed forces to propel such a combination or the necessary policy instruments to create the incentives to successfully meet these challenges?
  • Are better development strategies or policies people-based and/or place-based (i.e., do jobs follow people or do people follow jobs)? What are the different policy approaches and their efficiency implications?
  • Examine the private and public returns to expanding broadband infrastructure into rural areas, the barriers to broadband deployment and adoption and the mechanisms that might ameliorate those factors. Examine the potential relationship between access to broadband and health outcomes, educational attainment, entrepreneurship, and job growth.

Read the full RFP here (see especially pp. 61-62)

Office of Grants and Contracts


107 Ag Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802