Deadline for USDA fellowship program in food safety research projects is Nov. 8

The USDA’s Office of Food Safety is offering a fellowship for graduate students wishing to pursue scientific research. 

Applications are due by 3 p.m. Eastern time on Nov. 8. Click here to apply.

Working closely with stakeholders and food safety partners across government, the Office of Food Safety (OFS)  provides leadership and vision for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to ensure that the nation’s supply of meat, poultry and egg products is safe, wholesome and properly labeled.

Under the guidance of a university mentor, the fellow will create a project that is directly or indirectly supportive of FSIS research priorities. The participant will choose one of the topics listed on the FSIS Food Safety Research Studies page or on another project related to food safety. Acceptable projects include either laboratory studies or projects that do not have a laboratory component, for example, a data analytics proposal or a proposal to measure the effectiveness of consumer education.

“The participant will collaborate with a mentor at FSIS to refine the scope of the project, to ensure it provides an appropriate educational experience, and can be completed within a measurable time frame. The research will be completed at the participant’s university,” according to the USDA’s announcement.

“The participant may have an opportunity to visit OFS and the FSIS headquarters in Washington D.C. During this visit, the participant will shadow senior leaders and present their research findings to OFS and FSIS staff.”

The anticipated appointment start date is fall/winter this year. The initial appointment is part-time for one year, for 15 hours per week. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. Participants do not become employees of USDA, FSIS, Department of Energy or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and foreign nationals — dependent upon immigration status.

The USDA’s Office of Food Safety is housed under the Under Secretary for Food Safety and is charged with carrying out the Administration’s food safety priorities. The Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) is a science-based agency and applies the latest advances in food safety technologies to monitor chemical, microbiological, and physical hazards in meat, poultry, and egg products. 

In addition, FSIS facilitates the application of new food safety technologies to food production by industry. The agency also uses various strategies and technologies to conduct educational outreach to consumers. FSIS has identified several food safety research priorities that support its mission. These are listed at the link: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/science-data/research-priorities

Applicants should be currently pursuing a doctoral degree in food science, food safety, public health, veterinary medicine, or other relevant fields, at an accredited U.S. college, university or technical institute.

Candidates should complete a 500-word essay describing the project they wish to participate in and how it can help improve the safety of the food supply.

Preferred skills include:

  • Knowledgeable of the principles and practices that underpin the safety of the food supply;
  • Experience in food safety research; and
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted. All transcripts must be in English or include an official English translation. Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • 500-word essay
  • A letter of support from the university major professor who will act as your university mentor. This letter should include how the mentor will support your research project.
  • One additional educational or professional recommendation

Prospective applicants with questions may send an email to USDA-FSIS@orau.org. Please include the reference code USDA-FSIS-2021-0182 in the email.

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