Graduate Training in Cooperative Extension - Pilot Program

Request for Applications

Applications due Friday, March 6, 2015

The University of California (UC) is one of the country’s most prestigious land grant university systems. Within UC, the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) oversees the network of agriculture experiment station (AES) faculty and cooperative extension (CE) specialists and advisors. Together, this statewide network of researchers and educators are dedicated to the creation, development and application of knowledge in agricultural, natural and human resources. UC ANR has provided a century of practical, trusted knowledge connected to California communities.

In this era of global change, the need for generating relevant and scientifically robust, applied research will only increase. As a result, UC ANR is developing and implementing strategies to train and recruit the next generation of CE specialists and advisors, ensuring its ability to address the challenges of the next century. Recognizing that there is no formal program currently devoted to educating and training students interested in CE work, UC ANR launched a three-year pilot program in 2014 that prepares graduate students for careers in extension research and outreach.


Graduate students currently enrolled in an MS or PhD degree program sponsored by an academic department or program in the Rausser College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley are eligible to apply. Students must work with a mentorship team comprised of AES faculty, CE specialists, and/or CE advisors in developing a proposed research/extension plan for a semester, summer, academic year, or calendar year. Students are strongly encouraged to include campus (AES faculty and CE specialists) and county-based (CE advisors) academics in their proposal to experience working with ANR’s broad network.

These positions are funded 50% through UC ANR, 25% through the student's home department, and 25% through their mentorship group. The student's mentors must specify their potential or confirmed funding source in their letter of support (see below for funding details). Note: To date, only the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) has committed to providing the required matching funds. Interested graduate students at Rausser but not in ESPM should talk to their department about the availability of matching funds. Detailed information on this pilot program has been provided to graduate program chairs and graduate student affairs officers (GSAO).


Students will receive stipend support equivalent to a Step V graduate student researcher (GSR) appointment at 50% time during the academic year, and 100% time during the summer. For academic year appointments, the program will pay in-state tuition, fees, and SHIP. Note that the pilot program does not cover out-of-state tuition. The term of summer-only appointments is defined as 2.5 months (June 1 to August 15).


  • Students are expected to coauthor and/or produce materials with their partners/mentors. Extension components may include meetings with clientele groups, webinars, extension publications, or other innovative delivery methods.
  • Students are expected to help prospective applicants network with UC ANR personnel. Networking may be organized through a range of venues (e.g., CE showcase and presentations to the Extension and Outreach Working Group, and participation in UC ANR Program Team meetings if appropriate).
  • Students are expected to present the outcomes of their work.

Application Requirements

All application materials and student information will be submitted electronically using the following link:

Basic information about the applicant: students will be asked to provide their contact information and the name of the program and department they are enrolled in. Additionally, the applicant must specify the time- frame for the proposed project.

Narrative (attach as PDF or Word): applicants are expected to develop a narrative proposal articulating a plan for a research and extension project (no more than two pages—single space is acceptable). Applicants should review and address the evaluation criteria specified below.

Support from Major Professor (attach as PDF ): a letter from the applicant’s major professor must affirm that he/she has read the RFA, reviewed the student’s proposal, and approves the student's application to the program. It is strongly encouraged that the major professor comprises part of the student’s mentorship group, although not required.

Support letters from mentor(s) (attach as PDFs): a letter of support from each mentor must be submitted with the application. The letter should describe the appropriateness of the proposed work and how it aligns with the experience/interest of the mentor(s). The letter should also clearly describe the mentor(s) funding source for 25% of the funding requirements (see below).

Bio-Sketch/CV (attach as PDF): a 1-2 page bio sketch outlining the student’s relevant academic and professional experience and training is required.

Evaluation Criteria

  • How appropriate and well-developed is the partnership with the CE personnel and/or clientele?
  • How well developed is the CE component of the proposal? How effective are the delivery methods?
  • Is the topic of the project innovative (new or emerging area of research/extension)?
  • How well are plans for training with the mentors explicitly described?
  • Is the plan for production of research and extension products clearly articulated?
  • Is the student committed to/interested in a career in CE or similar?


Applications due Friday, March 6, 2015
Student Notification of Decisions, early-mid April

For questions, please visit the following website ( and/or contact:

Luke Macaulay, Graduate Student and Chair of the Graduate Extension and Outreach
Working group (
John Battles, Professor in ESPM and Chair of the Graduate Student Extension Program
Steering Committee (
Technical/system/budget inquiries:
Vanessa Murua, Office of Program Planning and Evaluation, UC ANR (
Faith Kearns, California Institute for Water Resources, UC ANR (

Table 1. Funding breakdowns for the 2015-2016 Graduate Training in Cooperative Extension Program. Please note that these costs may change depending on stipend and tuition rates set by UC Berkeley.

Timeframe Total costs ANR covers 50% Department 25% Mentorship group 25%*
Summer $10,064 $5,032 $2,516 $2,516
Single Semester $18,128 $9,064 $4,532 $4,532
Academic Year $36,256 $18,128 $9,064 $9,064
Calendar Year $44,308 $22,154 $11,077 $11,077

*Mentor(s) are required to provide one quarter of support for the graduate student. The mentorship group can use any combination of funds/support (e.g. soft funds, local endowments, industry sponsorship, etc.).

Mentor(s) must describe how they plan to provide one quarter support in their letter of support/commitment.