eXtension/GODAN Fellowship Request for Applications 2016-2017


Complex challenges such as climate change and food security require the free flow and exchange of information, making it available when, where and how it’s most needed to support informed, coordinated and timely decision making, across multiple scales and scopes of interest. An increasing amount of useful data and information is being generated, but social and technical barriers often inhibit it from being most effectively shared, accessed and used/reused. As information intermediaries bridging boundaries of place, practice and expertise, Cooperative Extension professionals and the like are well positioned to help address these gaps, focused on advancing data and information competencies and practices addressing these barriers and promoting agri-food system innovation.

Fellowship Purpose

This fellowship is in a special area of interest. Its purpose is to demonstrate methods for linking research and Extension information in support of learning and innovation. The Fellow, through participation in the GODAN network, will test and demonstrate protocols, including the use of competency frameworks, making eXtension and Extension information more open, accessible and linked to open research and data.


Employees of U.S. Land-Grant Universities. Cooperative Extension appointment is preferred, but not required for this fellowship.

Fellowship Structure

This is a 12-month fellowship with two phases in award period July/August, 2016 – August 2017.

Phase I: The first part (approximately six months) will focus on identifying and developing a concept and process framework focusing on metadata, data structures and workflows that link climate resilient /secure food systems research and action by Extension and other professionals. One particular interest is the use of competency frameworks as tagging schemes to link information and action. Another interest is formats and processes which capture contextual information, e.g. formal and informal research protocols, and other information relevant to documenting the practices employed, and under what conditions. These are planning components. eXtension will provide access to resources to create or modify one competency framework if needed for this project.

Phase II: The second phase (approximately six months) is the demonstration phase and will focus on creating and testing with U.S. Extension professionals, one or more demonstration projects with the help of eXtension’s I-Three Lab. This phase will demonstrate the situational benefits.

The Fellow will have access to eXtension and GODAN expertise, data and content including access to global networks, assistance from the I-Three Lab, and one or more competency frameworks.

Expectations and Evaluation

The Fellow documents the results of their exploration and their recommendations for Extension professionals. The Fellow agrees to broadly share their activities, results and recommendations for the benefit of the Cooperative Extension System. The Fellow meets 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. The Fellow is expected to complete the following before the end of their 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 three short blog posts of their progress on extension.org
  • Submit one peer-reviewed presentation
  • Submit one peer-reviewed manuscript

Other expectations may be developed 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 $25,000 that includes, salary and fringe (no less than 50% of the total award can be used for salary/fringe), materials and supplies. An additional $4,000 will be included for travel to eXtension and GODAN meetings. 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, including a description of potential approach you intend to explore, timeline, and milestones for the Fellowship for Phase I and II
  • Award period of July/August, 2016 – August 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 or your Department Head

The selected applicant will need to work with the eXtension Foundation to provide appropriate documents prior to beginning the fellowship.

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.


Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) supports the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible and usable to deal with the urgent challenge of ensuring world food security. They promote collaboration to harness the growing volume of data generated by new technologies to solve long-standing problems and to benefit farmers and the health of consumers. USDA is a partner in GODAN. More information is at http://www.godan.info/.