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:
- Receive two years of of $34,000 NSF-funded stipends, with continuing funding provided by their graduate programs
- 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
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
[Applications now closed] 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. Contact Program Coordinator: Dr. Dawn Rodriguez-Ward
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.
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.
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.Faculty Directory – Search “AgBioFEWS”
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.
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 2021-2022 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):
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.
VIDEO: Q&A session with Dr. Fred Gould, GES Center co-director, and Dr. Dawn Rodriguez-Ward, AgBioFEWS program coordinator, recorded on Friday, December 10, 2021. The Zoom session started with a brief presentation of the AgBioFEWS program, ending with questions from applicants interested in applying to the program. Also available on the GES Lectures Podcast.