This Fellowship (a bequest from Helen S. Bentley and C. Fred Bentley) provides assistance to Canadian and developing-country graduate students with a university degree in agriculture, forestry or biology, who wish to undertake postgraduate,
applied, on-farm research with cooperating farmers in a developing country.
In principle, IDRC supports research on all parts of the developing regions of the world. At this time, Fellowships and Awards is not supporting awards which involve research in Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Eastern Europe or Central Asia.
Projects should evaluate and/or promote the use of fertility enhancing plants, such as leguminous forages, shrubs, cover crops, and grain legumes in small farms. The intent is to seek ways to increase the yield of food crops, improve farmers` livelihoods, and improve soil fertility.
The research should seek cropping system changes that will lead to: sustainable and increased crop yields; production of more and improved animal feed; improved soil and water conservation; improved weed control, and/or biological fixation of nitrogen. Projects should be planned and executed in cooperation with an international agricultural research centre, or with a developing-country institution involved in agricultural research that has an applied on-farm orientation.
1. Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada, or citizens of a
developing country who are currently enrolled full-time in a graduate program (Master`s, doctoral, post-doctoral) at a recognized university in Canada or in a developing country for the duration of the award period.
2. Key Selection Criteria
A. Focus of the Research: Proposals must focus on very simple cropping systems research that can benefit
smallholder farmers in developing countries, especially rural women farmers.
B. Participatory Research: Applicants must use simple experiments executed by cooperating farmers under guidance by the researchers (see details about the location of individual on-farm experiments) , and conduct their research with the active participation of the farmers, including women farmers. This requires that farmers be involved in all stages of the
experiment on their land, including all the stages of land preparation, seeding, and harvesting.
Research proposals must include details of the comparisons envisioned between the traditional cropping practice of cooperating farmers and the side-by-side alternative cropping practice, which must include some type of leguminous crop or plant. Please consult the attached diagram that shows how a simple on-farm experiment might be compared to either one or two alternative cropping systems. Thus, experiments must compare crop yields from traditional unicrop practice with yields of the same crop combined with some kind of leguminous plant grown either simultaneously with the traditional crop, or perhaps in some cases, grown before the traditional crop is planted.
Similar experiments executed in rural school gardens, conducted with the help
and advice of the Fellowship holder, and with the participation of both students and teachers, are also encouraged.
The research procedures must include extensive dissemination of the research results.
Smallholder farmers, including rural women farmers, should be the major focus of such publicity:
a. The results should be presented in formats that can reach the various stakeholders, such as field days, farmer visits, briefs for policy-makers;
b. Dissemination will actively involve farmers, extension workers, local development initiatives, and agricultural organizations by addressing other smallholder farmers, especially rural women farmers;
c. The publicity should include farmers` visits and farmer-to-farmer teaching and learning.
The applicant must:
- Provide evidence that a large part, or all of the research, will be carried out on the farms of resource poor or smallholder farmers. The award will not support research carried out on the farms of large land holders or on research stations;
- Provide evidence that farmers will actively participate in the experiments. Thus, the development of simple on-farm experimental designs with appropriate controls to determine the practicality and profitability of introducing a leguminous crop in their cropping system is essential;
- Scholarship applicants must provide explanations of how they will make the frequent trips from the `home base` to the villages of the cooperating farmers. This is essential for successful execution of on-farm tests;
- Explain how the research data was collected and how the introduction of leguminous plants in their cropping systems is expected to improve the economic benefits to farmers;
Applicants should suggest anticipated benefits/improvemen ts and sustainability of
The applicant must:
- Provide evidence that he/she is or will be supported by local institutions that have a good working relationship with target communities, farmers and/or extension agencies;
- Indicate that he/she will seek cooperation, help and support from the local `extension officers` and/or NGOs in the identification of individual farmers who
are likely to be suitable and cooperative.
Award tenure corresponds with the period of field research. In general, this will be between eighteen months and twenty-four months.
The value of the award is up to CA $30,000. If there is strong evidence of significant potential benefits, the award may be extended upon re-application.
Fellowship holders will commit to provide IDRC with three brief progress reports per year.
Deadlines: October 1, 2010 (awards will be announced by mid-December 2010).
Tenure must be undertaken by December of the following year.
Please submit all documents listed in the List of Supporting Documents to be
Submitted. Complete applications must be received at the Centre by the deadline. Incomplete applications will NOT be considered for the competition. Applications must be sent to the following address:
By regular mail, Canada Post Priority Post or XPRESSPOST:
The Bentley Fellowship
Fellowships and Awards
Development Research Centre (IDRC)
PO Box 8500
3H9 - Canada
By courier services:
The Bentley Fellowship
Fellowships and Awards
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
150 Kent Street, Mailroom Suite 990
K1P 0B2 - Canada
Fax: (1 613) 236-4026
Telephone: (1 613) 236-6163 ext.: 2098