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USDA allocates $1.2M to UPR campuses through 3 programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded nearly $1.2 million to the University of Puerto Rico campuses in Río Piedras, Mayagüez and Utuado to increase capacity, strengthen and support infrastructure, and support student-centric activities and scholarships.

The federal agency distributes the funding via three programs: Distance Education Grants (DEG), Resident Instruction Grants (RIIA), and Agriculture and Food Sciences Facilities and Equipment (AGFEI).

The DEG program strengthens the ability of higher education institutions in insular areas to carry out resident instruction, curriculum and teaching programs in food and agricultural sciences using distance education technology. 

RIIA projects enhance educational capacities, draw and support students in food and agricultural sciences at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and run scholarship programs for training in these fields. Meanwhile, AGFEI projects are geared toward acquiring or improving facilities or vital equipment for agricultural research.

Under the DEG program, the UPR in Río Piedras received $200,000 to develop a genomics and bioinformatics for insular agriculture and food science, while the Mayagüez Campus will receive $190,595 to implement a case study methodology in distance learning for agribusiness courses.

Under RIIA, the UPR’s Utuado Campus was assigned $198,806 to develop a chemistry and horticulture education project with medicinal plants, while the Mayagüez Campus was assigned $200,000 to develop a project titled “Empowering future professionals: A multidisciplinary approach toward agriculture 4.0 career readiness in Puerto Rico.”

Under AGFEI, the Mayagüez Campus will receive $199,996 to develop power outage solutions and alternatives for its facilities, and another $199,182 for a project named “Improving energy resilience in agricultural laboratory teaching and research.”

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