Digital Agriculture Fellowship


Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Agriculture (AI4SA) is a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research project based out of UC Riverside. Partner institutions include the University of Arizona, Duke University, University of Georgia, and Kansas State University. The project is funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

For thousands of years, the Colorado River and Salinas River have supplied surrounding regions with access to freshwater for growing crops. Climate change is threatening current and future access to these waters, with crop stressors (e.g., salinity, drought, pests) expected to require additional resources to protect crops and profits. The goal of the research and work being done throughout this project is to provide actionable knowledge and tangible tools to improve the sustainable management of these agricultural regions in the Western U.S.

Digital Agriculture Fellowship

A key part of this project is the Digital Agriculture Fellowship, which is a paid 15-month research fellowship, intended for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in agriculture and research. AI4SA encourages eligible undergraduate students to apply using the form included below.


A major purpose of the Fellowship Program is to revitalize interest in pursuing agriculture as a career, by providing students with the experience and guidance necessary for entering the U.S. agricultural workforce. Throughout the Fellowship Program, students will be given networking opportunities, hands-on research experience, and mentorship from the scientists of the AI4SA project.


  • Current undergraduate students from UCR or partnering institutions (above).
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Majors include: Data Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Sciences, and/or Engineering (focus on environmental, agricultural, and sustainability).
    • UCR Majors may include: Computer Science, Data Science, Earth Science, Entomology, Environmental Science, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geophysics, Mathematics, Plant Biology, Statistics.
  • Students should be in their sophomore or junior year of their undergraduate degree and committed to the 15-month fellowship.
  • Must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident per USDA grant guidelines.

Education and Training Path

DAF Timeline Graphic 2

Each year, a group of students will be selected to join the Fellowship Program. Within that group or cohort, selected students will participate in the UCR RISE summer research program along with student-led research opportunities. Some students may participate in an industry-based externship at the end of the program.

Students will be selected for cohorts from March until May. The first cohort will be selected starting in March of 2021. The second cohort will be selected the following year in 2022, and this process will continue until 2025 when the final and fifth Cohort will be selected.

After cohort selection, Digital Agriculture Fellows will first participate in the RISE summer research program, which lasts for ten weeks. During the RISE summer research program, students will be mentored by AI4SA faculty and participate in workshops focusing on: research integrity, scientific communication, graduate school preparation, networking, and career exploration. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their research findings at the RISE symposium.

Once the UCR RISE summer research program concludes in August, Fellows will begin their 9-month long student-led research. Students will be paired with a project investigator at their home university to collaborate with during this experience. DAF students will also be included in other activities, like field trips and virtual research progress meetings with scientists from partner campuses.

In May after Year 1, once the student-led research experience is completed, there will be additional opportunities for externship experiences with industry partners. Fellows will be encouraged to apply for these positions. In total, students selected for a cohort will participate in at least fifteen months of research opportunities, possibly three months of externship opportunities, and can participate in annual scientific conferences.

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