Participation

For information about applying to the PBHS Program, please click here.

Why Participate?

Health and sustainability issues are intimately intertwined with plant science and recent reports from the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast_agriculture_20121207.pdf) and the American Society of Plant Biologists (http://plantsummit.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/plantsciencedecadalvision10-18-13.pdf) underscore the need for advances in fundamental and translational plant biotechnology science and training. Plants are the source of ‘food, fuel and fiber’ and most vitamins and other essential nutrients obtained in the human diet are directly or indirectly from plants. Basic and applied research in the plant sciences will become increasingly important for the foreseeable future as we seek to feed a growing world population with fewer resources and inputs against a backdrop of climate change. To this end, research is needed to improve plants for use as sources of food, fiber, fuel and pharmaceuticals as the climate changes, natural resources become limiting, urbanization increases, and rural populations decrease (www.fao.org/). To realize the full potential of plant biotechnology, the next generation of plant scientists need to develop disciplinary expertise and proficiency in plant biology, biochemistry, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, computational biology, and quantitative analyses. This scientific training must be supported by professional development that includes building organizational, management, mentoring, networking, and communication skills. The goal of this program is to help create that next generation of scientific leaders who can address these and other societal challenges.

Students who are finishing their second semester of predoctoral training in a laboratory of a participating faculty member are encouraged to apply to participate in the program.  A subset of students who join the program are offered fellowship support using funds from T32-NIH T32-GM110523 or university support. Applications are due on or around 1 June and decisions are communicated in early July. Fellowships typically commence Fall Semester and run for two years. Fellowship support decisions are made based upon several criteria including relevance of the planned research to the theme of the training program, student performance in undergraduate and graduate courses, GRE scores, evaluation of the student's essay and the letter of support from the faculty member. The application form and solicitation letter for 2014 should be consulted by interested students. Fellowship awardees must conduct fundamental research on plants or relevant microorganism that is aligned with NIH research priorities.

What are the benefits of participating in the program?

Highly qualified US citizens and permanent residents will be considered for a small number of predoctoral (years 2-3) fellowships starting each Fall Semester.  The fellowships will include up to two years of stipend ($22,476/y), medical insurance and tuition. During these two years they will also be eligible for $300/y travel to present their results at a scientific meeting.