Creating Change through the AFT Research Fellows Program

The AFT Research Fellows Program will empower the next generation of university-trained leaders to create meaningful positive change toward a new conventional agriculture: one that is climate-smart, diverse, soil health promoting, equitable, and environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

AFT’s Research Fellows Program leverages the unique combined strengths of AFT and affiliated university programs to create positive change in agriculture. The goal is to bring about a direct, rapid, interdisciplinary translation from research to implementation at scale by integrating complementary strengths of research partners with AFT’s resources, holistic approach, and network. The program facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration, career development, and a powerful national network for faculty, senior staff, post-docs, and students who are funded by joint projects. The program will increase the capacity of today’s and tomorrow’s leaders to impact agriculture by creating change for the land, the people who steward that land, and the systems of practices employed on that land.

The program is designed to support participants:

  1. Network and collaborate with AFT’s staff of interdisciplinary experts, resources, and training for career development, mentoring, and creating impact.
  2. Gain access to the holistic AFT impact model for disseminating and operationalizing research findings directly with stakeholders to create on-the-ground change.
  3. Identify research needs for informing policy and translate research findings into federal and state policy.
  4. Leverage AFT’s on-the-ground work with farmers and the agricultural community.
  5. Establish long-term career-relevant relationships for future impact.

The program will help rising leaders develop the ability to have impact through broad interdisciplinary, cross-sector engagement that spans research, on-the-ground implementation, outreach, coalition building, and policy for implementation and driving change.

The program is being built to be flexible to allow for creative implementation and leveraging of strategic collaboration and funding opportunities identified across partnerships. It will continue to develop along with the needs and visions contributed by participating Fellows for scaling impact.  Current AFT Research Fellows are funded by jointly developed project proposals and collaborations.

Contact us

Interested in becoming a fellow or seeking funding jointly to build capacity for fellowships? Please send an email to ( AND with AFT Research Fellows in the subject line.

Photo above by Shawn Linehan for AFT of heirloom tomatoes grown in Kentucky.