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Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development


Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico, has selected Michigan State University (MSU) to implement the Feed the Future Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program. Honoring the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman Borlaug, this is a major new effort to increase the number of agricultural scientists and strengthen scientific institutions in developing countries. The program will support long-term training of agricultural researchers at the master's and doctoral levels and will link scientific and higher education communities in Feed the Future countries and the United States.

The program will launch in Ghana, Uganda, Mali, Mozambique, and Bangladesh with potential to expand to other Feed the Future countries. The design of training programs will be grounded in a strategic planning process facilitated in targeted research institutions. The BHEARD program will focus on training a cadre of BHEARD Fellows at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels, which is indispensable for creating scientific capacity. However, the BHEARD program allows for a broader set of human and institutional capacity-building, particularly if additional USAID mission or leveraged funds can be mobilized.

The BHEARD program will also support the development, testing and evaluation of new models of capacity development. APLU will develop a knowledge-sharing system to identify innovative and effective mechanisms for human and institutional capacity development, and to promote shared learning across programs.

Proposed Calendar

February 2013 - July 2014: Strategic planning, training design, preparatory work

  • Identification of participating institutions by country (USAID, in consultation with MSU)
  • Competitive identification of trainee pool (USAID, with local institutions and MSU)
  • Competitive identification of U.S., local, or third-country universities to manage training (MSU)
  • Selection of universities for training (USAID, in consultation with MSU and local institutions)
  • Admission of selected candidates by identified U.S. universities (MSU)
  • Coordination of visa application process, medical exams, pre-departure arrangements (USAID)
  • Sub-agreements with universities to manage the training programs (MSU)
  • Possible initiation of a broader strategic planning process by host institution(s) who lack strategic plans

August 2014 - May 2016:

  • M.S. and Ph.D. candidates begin degree training; take required courses and plan research

June 2016 - August 2016:

  • M.S. students return home for in-country research, write-up, defense (finish by June 2016)
  • Ph.D. students return home for summer pre-dissertation or initial dissertation research visit

August 2016 - August 2017:

  • Ph.D. students complete final year of courses and exams; prepare research proposal

August 2017 - August 2018:

  • Ph.D. students return home for in-country research, write-up, defense (finish by August 2017)

Roles of MSU and USAID Missions

The BHEARD program will be implemented by MSU in close partnership with USAID/BFS, USAID missions, APLU, and CIMMYT. Within that general collaborative framework, a given institution will take lead responsibility for implementing each activity, in close consultation with the other partners, as follows:

  • USAID missions will lead the process of identifying the local institutions to be supported through M.S. and Ph.D. training and other forms of capacity building, and identifying the candidate trainees.
  • MSU will manage the process of soliciting expressions of interest from U.S., local, or third-country universities to implement the training.
  • USAID missions will work with the target local institutions to evaluate the expressions of interest and to prioritize the universities and graduate programs that have been proposed to host the candidate trainees, taking into account preferences of the candidate trainees and technical information provided by MSU about the proposed universities and graduate programs.
  • Once universities have been selected, MSU will coordinate all aspects of student placement in the appropriate universities, including advice on options for English language training, advice on preparation for and timing of GRE and TOEFL examinations, managing the admission process, preparation of visa documents through the TraiNet system, arrangements for students to travel to the training site, and preparation of sub-agreements with universities where candidates will be placed.
  • USAID missions will coordinate the in-country visa application process, medical examinations, and other pre-departure arrangements.
  • During the academic training phase, MSU will monitor and support university training program implementation, provide guidance to mentors on how to support the students, and monitor the progress of candidates in their degree programs.

Mission Access to BHEARD

BHEARD is designed to be responsive to Mission needs. Missions may buy-into BHEARD through the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Fund grant BFS-G-11-00002. The World Bank, acting as Trustee, administers this Multi-Donor Trust Fund. Michigan State University implements BHEARD under a sub-agreement from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Funds may be transferred through the Field Support Database. The CGIAR Fund is considered a program contribution to a Public International Organization (PIO) (described further in ADS 308*; for more on program contributions, see ADS 308.3.10.2).

BHEARD Management Team

Eric Crawford, professor of agricultural, food, and resource economics and co-director of MSU's Food Security Group, will lead the effort with Frederik Derksen, chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at MSU. Other PIs include Perry Ng (Deputy Project Director), Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition; David Douches, Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences; and Mywish Maredia, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics. The BHEARD program manager is Anne Schneller. Key USAID/BFS personnel are Eric Witte (AOR) and Clara Cohen (Activity Manager).

Contact Information

Missions may contact the BHEARD program through Eric Crawford ( or Anne Schneller ( at Michigan State University and Clara Cohen in the Bureau for Food Security (


Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

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