About 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 for 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 launched with Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Uganda, with Malawi, Mali and South Sudan joining in the second cohort and Kenya, Liberia, and Rwanda joining in the third cohort. With future cohorts, the program may expand to include 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.[1] 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.

[1] M.S. trainees are placed in regional institutions (e.g. within Africa)

Proposed Calendar for Degree Training, 2016 Fall

June 2015 – July 2016: 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 2016 – May 2018:

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

June 2018 – August 2018:

  • M.S. students return home for in‐country research, write‐up, defense (finish by late 2018 or early 2019)
  • Ph.D. students return home for summer pre‐dissertation or initial dissertation research visit

August 2018 – August 2019:

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

August 2019 – August 2020:

  • Ph.D. students return home for in‐country research, write‐up, defense (finish by mid-2020)

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:

  • With guidance from USAID missions on priorities, MSU will undertake a process of identifying the local institutions to be supported through M.S. and Ph.D. training and other forms of capacity-building, and of 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. In concert with USAID/BFS, MSU will conduct an initial technical review of the expressions of interest and communicate a synthesis of that review to USAID missions, along with other summary materials on the university proposals.
  • Drawing upon the technical review synthesis provided by MSU, and taking into account preferences of the candidate trainees, USAID missions and target local institutions will make the final decisions in prioritizing the universities and graduate programs that have been proposed to host the candidate trainees.
  • 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, initial entry and review of trainee information 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 facilitate the in‐country visa application steps, medical examinations, and other pre‐departure arrangements, with assistance from MSU in contacting the students.
  • 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.

BHEARD Management Team

This effort is led by three MSU co-directors - Eric Crawford (Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Food Security Group), Fred Derksen (Food Science and Human Nutrition), and Anne Schneller (Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics). Other project PIs include Mywish Maredia (Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics). Mitchell Meyle is the Fiscal Officer, Jessica Leigh is the Progam Manager and Matt Milkovich is Communications Manager. Key USAID/BFS personnel are Eric Witte (AOR) and Karen Duca (Activity Manager).

Contact Information

  • BHEARD Program

E‐mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Web site: http://bheard.anr.msu

Phone: +1‐517‐355‐3449

Mailing address: BHEARD Program, Michigan State University, 446 W. Circle Drive, Morrill Hall/Room 401, East Lansing, MI 48824‐1039 USA


Karen Duca

E‐mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Phone: +1‐202‐712-4203