SAFES' Spring 2021 workshop series will take place on Thursdays at 3 p.m. The series supports faculty researchers and administrators in expanding their knowledge of external funding opportunities and internal Penn State programs that can support new interdisciplinary research collaborations. For questions, please email


Feb. 18, 3 p.m. 

NIFA Funding Opportunities: Scaling up your research program to maximize impacts :

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. We invest in and support initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture. NIFA uses an integrated approach to ensure scientific discoveries reach the people who can put them to use. Through partnerships with the Land-Grant University System and government, private, and non-profit organizations, our research, education, and extension programs provide solutions to those who need them. In this presentation, we will give an overview of NIFA's competitive grant programs including our flagship grant portfolio: Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). We will cover funding opportunities for new investigators and provide guidance on how to scale up your research into a successful multimillion-dollar interdisciplinary coordinated agricultural project (CAP).

Presenters: Dr. Kistner-Thomas is a National Program Leader at NIFA's Institute of Institute of Food Production and Sustainability. She manages grant programs involving both pests and beneficial species of agronomic importance. Dr. Megan O'Rourke is a National Program Leader at NIFA's Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment. She manages agroecology, climate change and Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) programming.

NIFA_Page.pngClick here for a list of NIFA FY 2021 Plant-related competitive programs and contacts (PDF)

Feb. 25, 3 p.m.

An Introduction to the College of Agricultural Sciences Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Science (SAFES): Learn about the strategic directions for this new institute in the College; Director Karen Fisher-Vanden and Associate Directors Christina Grozinger, Matt Royer, and Rob Shannon will discuss ongoing and future plans for the institute, including educational and outreach programs, thematic research priorities, and how faculty across the University can get involved in SAFES.

March 4, 3 p.m.

The Federal Budget Process and Preview of Priorities Going Forward: Gary Geernaert, Director of the Earth and Environmental Systems Sciences Division at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science will provide an overview of the science enterprise, the federal budget process for science, and clues on the Administration and Congressional priorities for research and development going forward. The talk will use DOE Office of Science to illustrate some of the key points.    

March 18, 3 p.m.

Interdisciplinary Proposal Support at Penn State: Mike Lanagan, Assistant Director of the Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Office (SIRO) and Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics will discuss the support SIRO offers for investigators pursuing complex or non-traditional funding opportunities.

*Wednesday, March 31, 11 a.m.

Paths to Commercializing your Research: Join the CAS Entrepreneurship and Innovation team and the Penn State Office of Technology Management for an introduction to the resources and support available to you for research commercialization. Featuring speakers Maria Spencer, the John and Patty Warehime Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and Tim Hurley, Sr. Technology Licensing Officer and Commercialization Strategist. This seminar is hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Research. Registration Required:

April 8, 3 p.m.

Amplifying Your Impact: Dan Azzara, Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, and Maria Spencer, the John and Patty Warehime Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the College of Agricultural Sciences, will discuss how your intellectual property can be harnessed to help broader audience.

*Wednesday, April 14, 3 p.m. 

Expanding your Research Support with Private Source Funding: Join the Penn State Office of Foundation Relations and the Penn State Center for Corporate Engagement for a discussion of the support and resources offered by these offices for seeking private funding through foundations and industry or corporate sponsors. Featuring speakers Sophie Penney, Director of Foundation Relations, and Melissa Erekson, Assistant Vice President for Corporate Engagement. This seminar is hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Research. Registration Required:

April 15, 3 p.m.

Research-to-Policy: Taylor Scott, Asst. Research Professor in the Penn State Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, will discuss the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, which aims to understand how research can inform decision makers at every level of government and has established models to help support scientists in understanding how policymakers use research.

April 22, 3 p.m.

NSF Program Opportunities: National Science Foundation Program Directors from the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems in the Directorate for Biological Sciences will provide an overview of funding opportunities including programs that support cross-disciplinary collaborative research. The Directorate for Biological Sciences supports research to advance understanding of the principles and mechanisms governing life across all scales and disciplines from the molecular level to the global biosphere. The directorate supports research that integrates research and education, broadens participation, and promotes international partnerships. Information will be provided about funding opportunities for researchers at all career levels, including the NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program, Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program, Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP), Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology (PRFB) program, the Convergence Accelerator, and several programs that support Integrative Biology.

April 29, 3 p.m.

Opportunities in Data Management through the ICDS RISE Program: ICDS's Research Innovations with Scientists and Engineering (RISE) program will provide an overview of how you can leverage their software engineers to support your research projects. Learn about relevant past projects and how you can apply to the 2021 SAFES-RISE Seed Grant Program