Borlaug LEAP (Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program)

About the Program

The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) was created in 2005 to support the US commitment to strengthen global food security. The program honors Dr. Norman Borlaug whose distinguished career epitomized the qualities of leadership, scholarship, scientific achievement, international cooperation, mentoring, and passion.

The Borlaug LEAP offers fellowships to enhance the quality of thesis research of graduate students from developing countries who show strong promise as leaders in the field of agriculture and related disciplines. The program supports engaging a mentor at a US university and a CGIAR center.

Awards are made on a competitive basis to students who show strong scientific and leadership potential, have a well-coordinated proposal between their home university, a US university mentor, and the CGIAR mentor, and whose research has relevance to the national development of the student’s home country or region.

Sadly, Borlaug LEAP closed its doors in the Fall of 2018. Since the program began, 170 Borlaug LEAP Fellows have completed their fellowships. All 15 CGIARs and over 45 US universities have participated in the program.  The Fellows represent 29 different countries (97% from sub-Saharan Africa) and the majority (84%) have pursued PhD degrees.  Their thesis topics ranged from soil science to human nutrition to agricultural economics.
The program itself is one of the few bearing Dr. Borlaug's name that was created and designed with his guidance. The Values and Principles with which the program was founded are still applicable today.

The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program was established with the aim to “develop a new cadre of scientific leaders to mentor a new generation of agriculture scientists and educators who can sustain scientific innovation for development.”

We wish to thank USAID, USDA, Texas A&M University, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the University of California, Davis for their long support of Borlaug LEAP.  We also want to recognize the 170 Borlaug LEAP Fellows who proudly represent the program. Today they work to address issues of food security at universities, NARS, government ministries, NGOs, private sector companies, donor agencies, the United Nations, international research institutes, and other development organizations. The legacy of the program will continue through their leadership in mentoring and educating the next generation of scientists.

Alumni Fellows Summary

Borlaug LEAP Alumni come from 29 different countries and have achieved PhD or Master's degrees in many different fields related to agriculture and food security.  They are working in national agricultural research institutes, developing country universities, government ministries, non-governmental organizations, international agricultural research institutes, the United Nations, donor agencies, and other development organizations.  For the life of the program:

Total Awards Granted: 170
  • 37% women (110 Male, 60 Female)
  • Degree Program: 143 PhD, 27 MS
CG Centers participating: 15 (all CGIAR research centers)

Africa Rice-WARDA (8), Bioversity International-IPGRI (5), CIAT (24), CIFOR (2), CIMMYT (14), CIP (6), ICARDA (3), ICRISAT (8), IFPRI (18), IITA (30), ILRI (20), IRRI (2), IWMI (20), World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF (7), World Fish (3)

US Universities participating: 46

Auburn U, Colorado State U (2), Cornell U (27), Emory U, Florida International University, George Mason U (2), Iowa State U (7), Kansas State U, Louisiana State U (2), Michigan State (18), Mississippi State U, Montclair State U, North Carolina State U (2), North Dakota State U, Ohio State U (7), Oklahoma State (7), Penn State (6), Purdue U (9), Tennessee State U, Texas A&M (7), Texas Tech University, Tuskegee U, U of Arizona (2), U of California - Davis (11), U of California - Riverside, U of Connecticut (2), U of Florida (6), U of Georgia (2), U of Hawaii (3), U of Illinois (8), U of Iowa, U of Kentucky, U of Maryland (2), U of Massachusetts – Amherst, U of Minnesota (4), U of Missouri-Columbia, U of Montana, U of Nebraska – Lincoln (2), U of Nevada - Reno, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U of South Carolina, U of Texas-Houston, U of Vermont, U of Wisconsin-Madison, U of Wyoming (3), Virginia Tech (3), Washington State U (3) 

Countries represented: 29 (97% of Fellows from sub-Saharan Africa)

Benin (3), Burkina Faso, Burundi/Rwanda, Cameroon (3), Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo/Rwanda, Ethiopia (29), Ghana (16), Ivory Coast (3), Kenya (29), Malawi (5), Mali (3), Mozambique (2), Namibia, Niger, Nigeria (20), Rwanda (2), Sierra Leone (5), South Africa, Tanzania (13), Togo, Uganda (15), Zambia (4), Zimbabwe (5), Thailand, Philippines, Mexico, India, Vietnam

Past Fellows

For information on past Borlaug LEAP Fellows, please choose a year below:

For more information on the Borlaug LEAP, please visit the Borlaug LEAP YouTube Channel