Digital Agriculture Fellowship

A key part of the AI4SA project is the Digital Agriculture Fellowship (DAF), which is designed for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience in agriculture and research. DAF is based at UCR, and operates in collaboration with the University of Arizona, Duke University, University of Georgia, and Kansas State University. AI4SA encourages eligible undergraduate students to apply. 

Students selected for each cohort will complete approximately 15 months of paid hands-on research and networking experience, with an additional opportunity for externship participation.


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.

Examples of Prospected Student-Led Research Topics include:
  • Creation of smartphone apps for assessment of plant biotic and abiotic stress
  • Agricultural robotics
  • Remote sensing of plant and soil processes
  • Big-data management
  • Machine Learning applications in Agriculture


  • Current undergraduate students from UCR or partnering institutions
  • 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
  • Summer research is a full-time commitment, students must be available up to 40 hours per week, 8am - 5pm M-F with occasional nights and weekends
  • Cannot be employed, enroll in summer courses or go on vacation for the duration of summer research
  • Must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident per USDA grant guidelines

How To Apply

Please use the application button to access the Google Form application. The application cycle opens on February 1, 2024 and closes on April 16, 2024.

Reach out with any questions to



Education and Training Path

Students are selected for cohorts from April until May. The inaugural cohort was selected in April of 2021. The second cohort was 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 10 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.

Timeline of fellowship activities. Apply in spring Year one: RISE Research program for 10 weeks followed by 9-month research fellowship ending in spring. Year 2: Summer externship followed by the fall conference.
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