eXtension Fellowships – Request for Applications 2016-2017


In 2015, the eXtension Foundation launched, in partnership with USDA-NIFA, an annual fellowship program, selecting three Fellows to develop projects focusing on applied innovation in U.S. Cooperative Extension settings. Throughout the award year of 2015-2016 the three Fellows created presentations and other outreach resources to share their insights and expertise throughout Extension in their three topic areas: Makers, Citizen Science, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Now entering its seventh year, the eXtension Fellowship Program seeks applications from Extension professionals to pursue research, development and dissemination of innovations of their choice that they believe can inform, transform and increase the impact of Extension’s work in the future.

Purpose of the Fellowships

These fellowships were created to expand Extension’s ability to to adopt and apply innovation on important issues in order to increase the visible and measurable impact of Extension professionals’ work. The fellowships support the Fellows in developing, testing and exploring the scalability of innovations in the areas of technology, processes for working differently, program development, business models, networking, marketing, branding and more. Innovative projects need not only be new projects. Potential examples include:

  • Alternative volunteer development and staffing models
  • New ways to design Extension solutions
  • Social media methods for engagement
  • Use of newer marketing tools and strategies
  • Programs to address new audiences or products
  • Ways to work differently such as social entrepreneurship and working out loud
  • Methods for creating linked open data for Extension information
  • Assessment methods to demonstrate greater impact
  • Storytelling for greater impact
  • Other ideas the applicant considers innovative for Extension professionals


To be eligible, applicants must be Cooperative Extension employees.

Fellowship Structure

Fellows will work with staff from the eXtension’s i-Three Innovation Lab to explore the design, implementation requirements and potential scalability of the Fellows’ proposed innovations. In the fluid virtual lab setting they will test and cultivate their projects. Applicants will submit a plan of work to begin July/August 2016 through December 2016/January 2017 that will guide their work in the lab. The Fellow will have access to eXtension staff members, networks, tools and services and appropriate key informants–experts throughout Extension and beyond who can be called upon to participate as needed to support eXtension innovation initiatives.

Expectations and Evaluation

Fellows will document the results of the exploration of their project and their recommendations for Extension professionals. Fellows agree to broadly share their activities, results and recommendations for the benefit of the Cooperative Extension System. Fellows meet virtually with eXtension staff on a pre-defined regular basis They write a final report documenting project activities, outcomes and impacts and are encouraged to submit their work for conferences and publications. Applicants selected as Fellows will need to work with the eXtension Foundation to provide appropriate documents prior to beginning the fellowship. Each Fellow is expected to complete the following before the end of the Fellowship:

  • Complete a final 3-5 page final report to be licensed Creative Commons and shared on extension.org of their process and results.
  • Conduct at least two webinars for eXtension.
  • Publish at least 3 short blog posts of their progress on extension.org.
  • Submit one peer-reviewed presentation.
  • Submit one peer-reviewed manuscript.

Other expectations may be developed with each Fellow based on individual needs and opportunities.


This award is subject to USDA-NIFA guidelines. Applicants should also include a budget and budget narrative for up to $12,500 that includes salary and fringe (no less than 50% of the total award can be used for salary/fringe), materials and supplies. An additional $1,000 will be included for travel to an eXtension meeting. No indirect costs are allowed.

Application Process

To apply please submit the following information in a PDF document to Jerry Thomas, (jthomas@extension.org) by July 7, 2016:

  • Plan of work (a description of potential innovation you intend to explore, timeline, and milestones for the Fellowship)
  • Award period of July/August, 2016 – December 2016/January 2017
  • Budget and Budget Narrative Templates
  • Copy of vitae/resume. Limit of 2 pages
  • Letter of support from your institution’s Director/Administrator for Cooperative Extension

Questions regarding proposal should be directed to:

Jerry Thomas
Leader, eXtension I-Three Labs

About the eXtension Foundation

The eXtension Foundation is a membership-based non-profit designed to be the engine fueling U.S. Cooperative Extension’s advancement in making a more visible and measureable impact in support of education outreach from land-grant universities/colleges located in every state and territory. eXtension provides an array of opportunities for Extension professionals that foster innovation creation, the adoption of innovations at member institutions, and increased impact of Extension programs.