USDA National Needs Ph.D. Fellowship Program

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Preparing Plant Production Leaders through Multi-Disciplinary Training in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

The Department of Environmental Horticulture is seeking applications from highly motivated students interested in an international, inter-disciplinary Ph.D. training program in controlled environment agriculture.


Program Highlights

  • Fellows learn and apply new controlled environment technologies
  • Fellows collaborate to design and build a Controlled Environment Agriculture Laboratory (CEAL)
  • Fellows major in Horticultural Sciences
  • Fellows have the option to earn a minor in other disciplines
  • International experiential learning opportunities exist in business aspects and technological advances within vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture
  • Fellows graduate with enhanced research, teaching, outreach, and workplace skills


Research Opportunities

  • Seed germination, seedling production and young plant production in controlled environments (e.g. LED, hydroponics)
  • Resource management during plant production in controlled environments


Unique and Innovative Aspects of the Program

  • Research projects occur at the intersection of seed biology, young plant production, and production technology
  • Fellows receive training in the science of teaching and learning then implement a student-centered teaching project of their own design
  • Fellows train in extension and also participate in extension programming


To Apply

Under-represented minorities and first-generation college students are strongly encouraged to apply. Interested students may apply to the Graduate School via Students specify Horticultural Sciences Environmental (HSE) program as their major. In the Statement of Purpose state that you are applying for the USDA National Needs Fellowship and describe your motivation for pursuing a Ph.D., career plans after obtaining a degree, ability to be adaptable, and level of conscientiousness. Authors of your recommendation letters should explain your level of commitment to plant production and plant sciences.
Review of applications will begin December 15, 2017, and remain open until positions are filled.
Contact the Project Director, Dr. Héctor E. Pérez (, 352-273-4503), for more information and detailed application procedures.
The program would start as early as August 2018 pending funding from USDA

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