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CLIFF-GRADS scholarships for short-term scientific training and research stays on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from reduced food loss and waste

Call for Food Loss and Waste Proposals

The CLIFF-GRADS fellowship program invites applications from students from developing countries[1] currently enrolled in masters or PhD programs for short-term scientific research to expand the evidence base for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from reduced food loss and waste in priority supply chains in developing countries. 

Fellows will quantify the greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation impacts of food loss and waste (FLW)-reduction interventions in food supply chains, as well as estimate the cost of interventions and any constraints to implementation. Priority will be given to supply chains with a high potential for reducing FLW, such as the livestock sector, fruits and vegetables, or cereals at large scales, and where interventions for reducing FLW are plausible or being implemented. All research should focus on supply chain action in developing countries. With other students in this cohort, students will contribute to the development of a standardized methodology for estimating emissions that enables comparison of supply chains and can inform mitigation accounting. Research should enhance the evidence for FLW reduction and associated emissions reductions. Specific topics will depend on student and host institution scientist interests.

Applicants should be pursuing graduate research related to food systems, the circular economy, food loss and waste, life cycle analysis, climate change mitigation or greenhouse gas quantification. Where possible the work will be conducted in partnership with supply chain partners, such as food companies. Quantitative skills to calculate GHG reductions are essential.

Selected fellows will receive USD 10,000 for short-term (3-6 month) data collection and related research expenses. The grants will be used to support living and research costs at the host institution. Grants may not be used for tuition or unrelated personal expenses.


CLIFF-GRADS is a joint initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) low emissions development flagship and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA). CLIFF-GRADS aims to build the capability of early career agricultural students in developing countries to conduct applied research on climate change mitigation in agriculture. CLIFF-GRADS integrates the GRA’s new Development Scholarship and the CCAFS Climate Food and Farming (CLIFF) Research Network with the common goal of providing grants to graduate students to expand their knowledge and experience in quantification of agricultural greenhouse gases. Funding for this call for proposals concerning food loss and waste is provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Application requirements

Applicants must be nominated by a research supervisor at a host institution. The host institution is defined as an organization that:

  1. supports research, such as a CGIAR center, other international research center, national research organization or university;
  2. has current research projects, expertise or a mission relevant to applied research on food loss and waste and the mitigation of their greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries; and
  3. can supervise and provide mentorship to the student and provide workspace.

The application must include the following documents merged into one pdf file:

  • 1-2 page motivation letter (described below)
  • Copy of your passport page, demonstrating citizenship in a developing country
  • 1-page curriculum vitae that includes your contact details
  • Letter of support from your university supervisor.  The letter should also confirm that you are an enrolled student at this university.
  • Letter of support from your research supervisor at the host institution.
  • All applications must be in English

The motivation letter must be no more than two A4 pages, using an 11-point font, and include the following:

  1. Your name, name of the university where you are enrolled and name of your host institution.
  2. The overall objectives of your graduate research, including your research experience with: 
    a. Food loss and waste
    b. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture/food systems and climate change mitigation
  3. A description of the research proposed for this call, developed in coordination with the host institution research supervisor.

As this is an emerging area of work, we encourage you to submit an application, even if your expertise is primarily in one area (FLW or GHG quantification) or where you may require some technical support to complete the research. Be sure to identify needs for technical support in your letter. 

Women are strongly encouraged to apply.

Submission and process for selection

  • Deadline for applications: 15 October 2018.
  • Please submit your application by email to Julianna White, Program Manager for CCAFS Low Emissions Development at
  • Please contact Julianna White for any questions.
  • Applicants will be selected based: (1) level of overall research experience (2) quality of research proposal, (3) significance of the research to climate change mitigation.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by email by 30 November 2018.


  • Applicants must be currently enrolled masters or PhD students in a field directly related to this call.
  • Applicants must be students from a developing country1.

Requirements of grant recipients

  • Recipients will be required to attend one or two CLIFF-GRADS workshops. Funding for travel to the workshops will be provided by the organizers and should not be included in this proposal.
  • Grant money should be used to finance the short-term scientific research, including living and research costs at the host institution and all costs associated with that research, including travel, housing, meals, and research materials and services. Funding is not to be used for tuition, fees, or unrelated personal costs.
  • Funded research must take place during 2019.
  • Each CLIFF-GRADS recipient will work directly with a research supervisor at the host institution. The activities to be conducted by the student and a budget for the scientific visit will be agreed upon between the student and research supervisor in a managed contract.
  • Students must follow CCAFS data management and acknowledgement requirements.
  • The research supervisors will assess the quality of the CLIFF-GRADS recipient’s science performance and monitor the achievement of milestones and deliverables set out in the managed contract.
  • At the end of the research stay, the CLIFF-GRADS student will submit a Final Report describing the activities undertaken. Final payment to the CLIFF-GRADS recipient is dependent on this Final Report being approved by CCAFS and GRA.

More information

Please visit these websites before preparing your application.

[1] Includes all countries listed as "low-income economies," "lower-middle-income economies," "upper-middle-income economies" and "Latin America and the Caribbean" by the World Bank.

Photo: Woman selling soybeans in a market. Credit: International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA).