The increasing pace of bioscience product development and services means compliance with federal and state regulations is critical to the success of biotechnology products and the companies that develop and make them. Companies and federal regulators alike report an increasing need for trained professionals educated in agricultural-focused regulatory sciences. In a country where 11.1% (14.3 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2018 (USDA-ERS, 2019), and an estimated 821 million people around the world suffered from hunger last year (United Nations, 2019), it is critical that we insure that “boots-on-the-ground” science is well represented to insure agriculturally-focused regulatory policy decisions are informed through the best available science available at all levels; consumer, producer, industry, federal government, state governments, and beyond. Only then will we be able to reduce global food insecurity, and assure a safer, more productive food supply.
In order for students to be prepared to step into an agriculturally-focused regulatory science career, become better stewards of our environment, and make difficult decisions that will impact the most vulnerable populations, they must first understand how the best available science is incorporated into regulatory and policy decisions at the state, national, and international levels. To achieve our shared goal of educating and graduating promising students prepared for STEM careers in government, with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and in industry or academia, the Center of Excellence for Regulatory Science in Agriculture (CERSA) is launching the country’s first Regulatory Science in Agriculture Internship and Mentoring Program. This internship and mentoring program will run from mid-May to mid-August, and will be open initially to students enrolled in the Regulatory Science in Agriculture program at NC State University and Louisiana State University (LSU), respectively. Students in the program will be offered a stipend by CERSA.