WASHINGTON (August 11, 2021) – Climate change, a growing population and evolving pests and pathogens threaten the security of our global food supply. Employers need trained scientists to conduct research that helps farms and food systems adapt to these challenges. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and North Carolina State University are excited to announce the 26 students selected for the 2021 FFAR Fellows Program. This unique three-year program provides professional development training and mentorship to doctoral students conducting research in alignment with FFAR’s six Challenge Areas.
Most science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs prepare students for traditional research career paths without exposing students to alternate development opportunities outside the laboratory. Additionally, early career scientists typically have only limited opportunities to engage with leaders in industry and government and learn the soft skills critical to creating impact. These include effective interpersonal communications, knowledge of team dynamics and project management, and clearly communicating to lay audiences.
“We are thrilled to support the fourth cohort of FFAR Fellows, a unique fellowship program that hones critical workplace skills and provides valuable experiences to early-career scientists,” said FFAR Executive Director Dr. Sally Rockey. “FFAR is proud to invest in the development of our scientific workforce and prepare these future food and agriculture leaders to tackle global food system challenges.”
FFAR funded North Carolina State University to launch the FFAR Fellows Program in 2018. The three-year holistic training program provides career guidance, explores professional development opportunities and offers mentorship from industry sponsors. By providing early career assistance to graduate students, the program cultivates supportive relationships between graduate students and industry, government and NGO peers to equip students with the skills needed to facilitate their transition to the workforce.
“The newest cohort of FFAR Fellows are an impressive group of young scientists and leaders who want to make a positive difference in the world,” said Rebecca Dunning, who manages the FFAR Fellows Program. “This Fellowship will provide training and networking opportunities that provide these students with the tools to succeed in their future careers.” Each industry sponsor matches FFAR’s funding to double the investment in early-career scientist workforce development.