Graduate Student Food Safety Fellowship

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

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

If you have questions, send an email to Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.

Application Deadline
11/8/2021 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

A research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Food Safety (OFS). The appointment will be served at the selected participant's location.

OFS is the USDA mission area that houses the Under Secretary for Food Safety and is charged with carrying out the Administration’s food safety priorities. Working closely with stakeholders and food safety partners across government, 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.

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:

Under the guidance of a university mentor, the participant 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.

This opportunity will provide the participant with an understanding of the type of research that supports FSIS decision making. The participant will learn how science underpins decisions made by FSIS, to ensure the safety of the food supply.

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.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall/Winter 2021

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). 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, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals (dependent upon immigration status). 


The qualified candidate 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.

We encourage students from minority serving institutions to apply to this opportunity.

Preferred skills:

  • Knowledgeable of the principles and practices that underpin the safety of the food supply
  • Experience in food safety research
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree.
  • Academic Level(s): Graduate Students.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (21 )

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