Interdisciplinary NSF Research Traineeship:
Agricultural Biotechnology In Our Evolving Food, Energy, and Water Systems
AgBioFEWS is a National Science Foundation-funded graduate research training program offering Ph.D. candidates across multidisciplinary fields of study the opportunity to examine the science, policy, and public engagement aspects and impacts of Agricultural Biotechnology on Food, Energy, and Water.
Program Fellows receive a Ph.D. in a natural/social science, or humanities graduate program (see options), and a graduate minor in Genetic Engineering and Society, and will:
- Embark on their studies embedded with NC farms, with later opportunities for international internships
- Collaborate on an interdisciplinary cohort project
- Take advanced interdisciplinary graduate courses and incorporate AgBioFEWS into thesis
An Integrated Approach
AgBioFEWS students work together from differing perspectives to examine current and potential future biotechnology products and their development pathways to assess if and how they can be used to improve Food, Energy, and Water Systems for societal benefit.
To address societal challenges, scientific research must be convergent: driven by compelling problems and deeply integrating scientific disciplines. AgBioFEWS students gain this capacity by working collaboratively to research how agricultural biotechnology changes agricultural landscapes and rural communities, integrating tools and cultures from the natural and social sciences.
AgBioFEWS scholars not only think broadly, they use evidence-based approaches to elevate the level of public discourse on agricultural biotechnology.
Agriculture constitutes the largest use of land and water on the planet and as currently practiced could threaten the sustainability of FEW systems.
While biotechnologies are often portrayed to the public as either solving or causing these challenges, the implications of these technologies are complex, requiring a convergence of scientific fields and insights from the humanities to understand them. Our students cross disciplines to address these complex challenges.
AgBioFEWS is built on a foundation of interdisciplinarity, bridging insights from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Our program offers PhD and Masters students with interdisciplinary interests the chance to research, develop, appraise, utilize, manage and communicate agricultural biotechnology in ways that improve FEW systems. Our students:
- Integrate knowledge and recognize the assumptions in disparate fields of study,
- Understand how both facts and values influence decision-making, and
- Establish their trustworthiness through open and creative engagement with diverse communities.
NOTE: In order to be considered, students must also apply to one of these 35 PhD-granting programs at NC State for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year.
[click to expand list]
|College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS):||College of Education (CED):College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHASS):College of Natural Resources (CNR):||College of Sciences (COS):
There are multiple levels at which students can participate in AgBioFEWS.
We welcome students into the AgBioFEWS program as Cohort Fellows or students in a Graduate Minor, as well as opportunities for undergraduate participation. Students across all groups are eligible to apply for funds to support research and public engagement.
PhD Cohort Fellows
[Requires application] The most involved and advanced level, PhD Cohort Fellows receive fellowship support ($34,000 fellowship stipends with tuition and fees paid) and then move on to research and/or teaching assistantships in their PhD programs. See: Meet Our Students; Contact Program Coordinator: Dr. Dawn Rodriguez-Ward
Click here to apply
Masters and PhD students working towards established graduate minor in Genetic Engineering and Society (GES), or in the emerging minor in Public Science (PS), may use 1-3 AgBioFEWS courses to fulfill requirements toward those minors. GES Minor contacts: Dr. Fred Gould and Dr. Jason Delborne
Opportunities are being developed for undergraduate students to participate in AgBioFEWS. Undergrad contact: Dr. Nora Haenn
Partnerships and Opportunities
We will partner with North Carolina HBCUs, including North Carolina A&T State University, offering internships to their undergraduate and masters students, and we will establish a path for these students to join our NRT program. Continuous interaction with experts from industry, government, and NGOs will enable students to have access to a diversity of careers.
Why NC State?
NC State is North Carolina’s flagship school, bringing together some of the world’s top agricultural and social scientists.
The Land Grant mission of NC State has always valued interdisciplinary interactions among agricultural scientists. Now, we are positioned to become a leader in moving from a technological, economic, commercialization model centered in the natural sciences and engineering to one that both embraces social sciences as an equal contributing partner and reaches out to engage the broader public.
NC State has institutionalized interdisciplinary research through the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program, an initiative to create interdisciplinary clusters of faculty focused on addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.
The AgBioFEWS Program will engage with at least six of these faculty clusters: Genetic Engineering and Society, Global Environmental Change, Emerging Plant Diseases & Global Food Security, Water Sanitation & Hygiene, Public Science, and Systems & Synthetic Biology.
Meet Our Faculty
The faculty leadership team brings expertise spanning genetic engineering, ecology, plant systems, synthetic biology, disease epidemiology, public engagement, risk analysis, bioeconomics, and more. This means that students from any of these disciplines will become T-shaped, adept at working with colleagues from any background.
Students can choose any faculty member in their designated PhD programs as an advisor or they can enter the program without a specific advisor and choose the advisor later.
Our core faculty are:
|AgBioFEWS Faculty||Field of Expertise|
Dr. Fred Gould (PI)
GES Center Co-Director | University Distinguished Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
|Genetic Engineering and Ecology
Tagged: Fred Gould
Dr. Jennifer Kuzma (Co-PI)
GES Center Co-Director | Goodnight-NC GSK Foundation Distinguished Professor, Public & International Affairs | College of Humanities and Social Sciences
|Risk Analysis & Governance Systems
Tagged: Jennifer Kuzma
Dr. Jason A. Delborne (Co-PI)
Associate Professor of Science, Policy, and Society, Forestry & Environmental Resources | College of Natural Resources
|Biotechnology & Public Engagement
Tagged: Jason Delborne
Dr. Zachary S. Brown (Co-PI)
Assistant Professor, Agricultural & Resource Economics | College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Tagged: Zachary Brown
Dr. Heike Sederoff (Co-PI)
Chair, Systems and Synthetic Biology Cluster, Professor, Department of Plant and Microbial Biology | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
|Plant Systems & Synthetic Biology
Tagged: Heike Sederoff
|AgBioFEWS Program Coordinator|
Dr. Jean Ristaino (Executive Committee)
Director, Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Cluster, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant Pathology | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
|Disease Epidemiology & Population Genetics
Tagged: Jean Ristaino
Dr. Robert (Bob) Kelly (Executive Committee)
Director of NCSU Biotechnology Program, Alcoa Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering | College of Engineering
|Biotechnology Research & Education
Tagged: Robert Kelly
Dr. Jean Goodwin (Executive Committee)
Leadership in Public Science Cluster, SAS Institute Distinguished Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication | College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Tagged: Jean Goodwin
Dr. Kelly Zering (Executive Committee)
Professor and Extension Specialist, Agricultural & Resource Economics | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
|Agricultural Systems Analysis
Tagged: Kelly Zering
Dr. Rodolphe Barrangou
Editor-in-Chief, The CRISPR Journal, Associate Professor, Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences | College of Agriculture and Life Science
|Gene Editing, CRISPR Biochemistry & Genetic Engineering
Tagged: Rodolphe Barrangou
Dr. Jade Berry-James
Associate Professor, Public and International Affairs | College of Humanities and Social Sciences
|Public Administration and Social Equity
Tagged: Jade Berry-James
Dr. Andrew Binder
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, Department of Communication | College of Humanities and Social Sciences
|Science Communication and Public Opinion
Tagged: Andrew Binder
Dr. Matthew M. Booker
Associate Professor of History | Science, Technology and Society| College of Humanities and Social Sciences
|Environmental History and Societal Impacts
Tagged: Matthew Booker
Dr. Rebecca Dunning
Research Asst Professor, Horticultural Science; Director, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Graduate Fellowship Program | College of Agriculture and Life Science
|Socioeconomic Aspects of Food Systems and Supply Chains
Tagged: Rebecca Dunning
Dr. Keith Edmisten
Professor of Crop & Soil Sciences & Extension Cotton Specialist, Crop and Soil Sciences | College of Agriculture and Life Science
Tagged: Keith Edmisten
Dr. Todd Kuiken
Senior Research Scholar | GES Center
|Global/National Policy; DIYbio Community
Tagged: Todd Kuiken
Dr. Alun Lloyd
Drexel Professor, Director of Biomathematics Graduate Program, Department of Mathematics | College of Sciences
Tagged: Alun Lloyd
Dr. Nora Haenn
Associate Professor, Anthropology and International Studies, Department of Sociology and Anthropology | College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Tagged: Nora Haenn
Dr. Ron Heiniger
Professor and Extension Specialist, Corn / Soybeans / Small Grains, Crop and Soil Sciences | NC State Extension
|Agricultural Water and Energy Use
Tagged: Ron Heiniger
Dr. James (Jim) Holland
USDA Professor, Maize Breeding & Genetics, Crop and Soil Sciences | College of Agriculture and Life Science
Tagged: James Holland
Dr. Dominic Reisig
Associate Professor & Extension Specialist of Entomology, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology | College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Tagged: Dominic Reisig
Dr. Anna Whitfield
Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Cluster, Professor, Entomology & Plant Pathology | College of Agriculture and Life Science
Tagged: Anna Whitfield
Dr. David Meyer (External Evaluator)
Affiliated Research Professor, Organizational Performance and Human Learning | Boise State University
|Transdisciplinary Program Management
|Center Program Specialist|
Communications Director, GES Center
We encourage students with any interest in the program to reach out to us. We actively engage in dialogue with prospective students. Today, ongoing breakthroughs in agricultural biotechnology predict a wave of innovations. Will these fulfill biotechnology’s longstanding promise to feed the world’s growing population? Will they preserve ecosystem integrity?
These questions have multiple entry points, and we seek to maximize the number of students working on them. Please contact us, so we can work with you to find the fit that’s best for your career path.