Resources

  • NRC Research Associateship Program

  • Office of Science Policy Summer Internship Program

  • Global Partnership Initiated Biosecurity Academia for Controlling Health Threats

  • Scoville Peace Fellowship

  • UNDIR – Graduate Professional Programme

  • UNIDIR – Non-resident Fellows

  • UNIDIR – Visiting Researcher Programme

  • Sandia National Laboratories International Internship Program

  • Belfer Fellowship in Science and International Affairs – International Security Program

  • Horizon Fellowship

  • Science Policy Postdocs

    The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) is seeking postdoctoral scholars interested in science policy. Postdocs will leverage their previous training to work with EBRC programs and to conduct an individual research project.

    EBRC is a non-profit, public-private partnership dedicated to bringing together an inclusive community committed to advancing engineering biology to address national and global needs. We showcase cutting-edge research in engineering biology, identify pressing challenges and opportunities in research and application, and articulate compelling research roadmaps and programs to address these challenges and opportunities.

    Applications are being accepted for those with interest in engineering biology and related technical and policy influences and impacts, and those interested in any of our four focus areas: Technical Research Roadmapping, Security, Education & Workforce Development, and Policy & International Engagement. Applicants with particular knowledge, experience, and/or expertise in one of the five Application and Impact Sectors (i.e., Environment Biotechnology & Climate, Food & Agriculture, Energy, Health & Medicine, Industrial Biotechnology) and/or the four Technical Themes (i.e., Data Science, Engineering DNA, Host Engineering, Biomolecular Engineering) described in EBRC’s Engineering Biology: A Research Roadmap for the Next-Generation Bioeconomy (2019), are encouraged. Roughly 75% of the postdoc’s time will be dedicated to EBRC projects related to bioeconomy and/or in the focus areas (more detail below).

    EBRC Focus Areas:

    • Technical Research Roadmapping: Working with EBRC’s Roadmapping Director, postdocs in this focus area will develop and curate technical content EBRC’s research roadmaps. A national-scale effort, postdocs will engage with the EBRC membership and other subject matter experts by facilitating interactions with the working group, executing workshops and working meetings, and performing independent literature research to ensure the best expertise is brought to bear in material development. Postdocs will gain experience in effective engagement and project management with the research community and focus on advancing research programs and opportunities across engineering biology.
    • Security & Engineering Biology: The postdoc will develop and deliver papers, briefings, and course materials on security and engineering biology. EBRC approaches this topic bidirectionally asking both how advances in engineering biology affect the security landscape and how changes in security policy can influence engineering biology research and development practices. The postdoc will engage with stakeholders ranging from undergraduates to senior government policy makers, so a strong ability to tailor communications to a specific audience is necessary for success. The postdoc will have the opportunity to interact with the national security and policy communities on issues relevant to engineering biology.
    • Education & Engagement: The postdoc will work closely with the Education working group and through independent research to understand and advance the engineering biology education landscape and workforce pipeline in the US, with a focus on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and in coordination with the efforts of other organizations. Currently, EBRC is focused on developing projects, programs, and resources for students and educators to strengthen engineering biology curricula, interest, and engagement. The postdoc will also engage in a landscaping effort to understand the needs and challenges for the engineering biology workforce pipeline towards the potential development of a roadmap for engineering biology education and integration with the EBRC technical roadmaps for engineering biology.
    • Policy & International Engagement: The postdoc will work with the Policy & International Engagement working group on a wide range of topics not covered in the other three working groups. Efforts typically focus on US developments in the bioeconomy and how EBRC can effectively inform governmental decision making. This focus area is generally the focal point for preparing responses to formal RFIs. Internationally, EBRC is focused on understanding and engaging with the global bioeconomy, engineering biology strategies in different countries, and multinational governance like the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Postdocs will be an integral part of the EBRC Team and will have the opportunity to learn and make significant contributions during their appointment. In addition to the independent and focus area projects outlined above, postdocs will participate in EBRC core activities (annual meetings and retreats); contribute to EBRC cross-cutting efforts regarding bioeconomy advancement, responsible innovation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion; have opportunities for relevant training in science policy; and meet government officials and policymakers through EBRC events and, when possible, periodic trips to Washington, DC.

    The EBRC Science Policy Postdoc is intended as a full time, one year appointment located in the San Francisco Bay Area. All EBRC postdocs will spend roughly 25% of their time working with Doug Friedman (EBRC President) on an agreed-upon individual science policy research project. Postdocs will develop their project based on a topic of interest and consistent with EBRC’s overall mission and strategic goals. Strong projects will leverage the postdoc’s technical background, their policy area of interest, and EBRC’s network and relationships in the engineering biology research community and throughout the US government.

    Those interested are encouraged to send their CV and a Cover Letter as a single PDF to EBRC’s Executive Director India Hook-Barnard (ihb@ebrc.org) and copy postdoc@ebrc.org. In your cover letter, please indicate the focus area(s) of interest as well as initial ideas for your independent project.

    Diversity statement: EBRC is interested in candidates who will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education and the engineering biology field through their work.

    We offer competitive salaries commensurate with experience, as well as a comprehensive benefits package which includes medical, dental, vision insurance, 401(k)-retirement plan with a 6% match, short- and long-term disability, basic and supplemental life insurance, PTO, and a generous holiday calendar.

    EBRC is an equal opportunity employer to all and makes hiring and employment decisions without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability (mental and physical), exercising the right to family care and medical leave, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), and sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

  • Curriculum Module: Introduction to Engineering Biology

    Focused around concepts in the 2019 EBRC roadmap, Engineering Biology, this module consists of presentation slides that can be used (in sequence, or mixed-and-matched) to give students a basic understanding of the tools, technologies, and opportunities in engineering/synthetic biology.

  • EBRC Statement of Ethics in Engineering Biology Research

    Engineering biology draws on advances in biology, chemistry, computer science, and engineering to understand, design, and construct biological systems and organisms. As with other science and engineering disciplines, engineering biology can impact society in powerful ways; therefore, the ethical, environmental, social, political, security, and safety-related issues arising from associated technologies require thoughtful and ongoing consideration. The Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) asserts that understanding such issues is a necessary part of research and must be considered from the outset of any project design, continuing through deployment and management of new technologies and/or products.

    The EBRC further asserts that practitioners of engineering biology shall

    i) seek to create products or processes that benefit people, society, or the environment;

    ii) consider and weigh the benefits of research against potential harms;

    iii) incorporate equity and justice in the selection and implementation
    of engineering biology education, research, development, policy, and commercialization;

    iv) seek to openly distribute the results of early-stage research and development;

    v) protect the rights of individuals associated with engineering biology, including the freedom of
    inquiry of researchers and the free and informed consent of research participants; and

    vi) support open communication between engineering biology researchers and the stakeholders who might be
    affected by research, development, and the deployment of new technologies.

    Scientists and engineers in the engineering biology community must conduct research in a manner that is consistent with these principles in order to remain in good-standing in the community. They must also be cognizant of and communicate possible negative consequences and misuses of engineering biology research. Appropriate safeguards, informed by safety and security best practices, shall be implemented to prevent undesirable outcomes such as the development of biological or chemical weapons, environmental damage resulting from the inadvertent release of certain engineered organisms into the environment, and the use of engineering biology to perpetuate social inequalities.

    The EBRC resolves to bring these principles and issues to the awareness of our community along with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the United States and around the world. We support bioethics education and training for researchers and encourage collaboration among scientists, humanists, and engineers to proactively address equity, justice, and environmental risks and benefits. We will advance the principles described here through transparent, democratic self-governance, support for appropriate public and State oversight and review, and the development, publication, and adoption of research best practices.

  • Principles of Synthetic Biology edX Course

    A free, online course on the basics of synthetic biology with a focus on programming genetic circuits.

  • Travel & Reimbursement Policy

    The Engineering Biology Research Consortium is pleased to be able to provide financial support for travel to some events and activities.

    Travelers may fall into one of three categories:
    Category 1: Flight & Hotel Only
    Category 2: Full Reimbursement
    Category 3: No support available

    Depending on the event, a traveler may fall into a different category than for a previous event. EBRC endeavors to provide clear guidance as to which category is in place for a particular traveler and event.

    General
    It is the policy of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium to support the (invited) traveler for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred during EBRC-related travel. Funded Travelers should incur the lowest reasonable travel expenses and exercise care to avoid impropriety or the appearance of impropriety. Support is allowed only when travel funding or reimbursement has not been, and will not be, received from other sources. Documentation is required for all reimbursement requests; receipts must be submitted within 30 days of the event (further details below).

    • Category 1 – Flight & Hotel Only: EBRC will provide instructions to book flights and hotel for an event. Both will be paid directly by EBRC and the traveler will not be provided reimbursement after the event. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis in advance of the event.
    • Category 2 – Full Reimbursement: EBRC will provide instructions to book flights and hotel, to be paid directly by EBRC. Following the event, documentation for reimbursements must be submitted within 30 days of the last day of travel. Only actual expenses with receipt documentation can be reimbursed. EBRC does not provide a flat per diem.
    • Category 3 – No support available: Travelers are responsible for booking* and paying for most travel and accommodations. EBRC will not provide reimbursement. If a traveler would experience hardship and be unable to attend the event without support, they may contact us at helix@ebrc.org to discuss options. *For many events, EBRC will have a block of hotel rooms reserved. If given the option, Category 3 travelers may indicate they would like to be included in EBRC’s room block. Category 3 travelers must provide payment at check-in.

    Transportation
    Transportation expenses for Category 1 and Category 2 travelers will generally be supported based on the most economical and commonly used mode of conveyance taking the most direct route during the authorized travel dates (the days of the meeting and, in most circumstances, one day before and/or after the meeting). If you need to make an additional stop(s) en route to the meeting or after the meeting, or travel outside the travel dates, please contact us at helix@ebrc.org in advance of booking.

    Airfare Guidelines
    EBRC will provide flight limits for travelers covered under Category 1 and Category 2. Payment will be made directly by the EBRC to the airline. We cannot guarantee full reimbursement for air travel made outside of EBRC. If you are not able to book through EBRC, please contact us at helix@ebrc.org.

    • Only coach/economy class tickets at the lowest reasonable fare and non-refundable tickets are reimbursable. First class, business class, full-fare economy class, and unrestricted/refundable tickets are not reimbursable without advance written approval. All travel should be planned and booked as far in advance as possible to take advantage of the least-expensive fares available. Ancillary fees charged by airlines (i.e., seat selection, excess baggage) are not reimbursable.
    • If the approved process is not used and EBRC has not directly paid the airfare, comparative costs upon which airfare reimbursement can be based must be obtained. This means you will be reimbursed for the cost of a direct round-trip between your place of work and the EBRC event meeting place or the face value of the ticket, whichever is less. If the constructive cost is not determined in advance, EBRC will reference the lowest reasonable fare after the fact, and this may lower your reimbursement. If you expect to be reimbursed by a third party for any part of your travel, costs should be allocated appropriately.
    • The EBRC cannot pay airline change fees after reservations have been ticketed. Except for emergencies, the traveler will be responsible for change fees should changes arise after flights have been confirmed by the traveler and booked by the EBRC.
    • If you are unable to honor a flight reservation, you are responsible for canceling your reservation and notifying EBRC at helix@ebrc.org before the departure. Cancellations arising from non-emergency situations may require reimbursement of EBRC’s costs or restrictions on future travel with EBRC.
    • EBRC is unable to fully cover the airfare costs of international members. International members who would fall into Categories 1 or 2 should communicate their intention to travel to EBRC staff and book their own travel. After the event, such members can be reimbursed up to the highest fare limit designated for that event.

    Ground Transportation

    • If driving your personal vehicle, Category 1 and Category 2 travelers may be reimbursed 65.5 cents per mile, based on the most direct route. To determine the number of miles, use an online mapping tool (MapQuest or Google Maps) and submit this documentation to us. The standard mileage rate includes fuel, as well as wear-and-tear on the vehicle. You will be reimbursed the lesser mileage based on the most direct route or an amount equal to the cost of flying coach/economy with advance booking.
    • Rental cars are generally not necessary for EBRC events and will only be supported with explicit notice in advance of an event. If a rental car is allowed, you can rent up to an intermediate-size car.
    • When traveling by train or Amtrak, you must use coach-class accommodations. EBRC can book your ticket prior to the event. Please contact us at helix@ebrc.org to make your reservation.

    Lodging
    Travelers in Categories 1, 2, and 3 will be invited and encouraged to stay in hotel blocks booked by EBRC. EBRC will pay directly for these accommodations for Category 1 and Category 2 travelers. Category 3 travelers must provide payment at check-in. Room incidentals are not reimbursable and are the responsibility of the traveler (all travelers will be asked to provide a credit card at check-in for incidentals, per a hotel’s policy).

    Meals & Incidental Expenses (Category 2 Travelers)
    If a trip is less than 24 hours, meals are not reimbursable, unless there is a need for an overnight stay. Most EBRC meetings include catered meals during the meeting; the meeting agenda will indicate when meals are provided. No reimbursement will be allowed when catered meals are provided. When meals are not provided, EBRC will reimburse a traveler’s meals, with receipts, up to the U.S. General Services Administration’s limits. EBRC cannot reimburse for alcohol purchases. If purchased alcohol is included in the submitted receipt documentation, it is the responsibility of the traveler to indicate the expense and deduct the amount from the total request.

    Reporting Travel Expenses for Reimbursement (Category 2 Travelers; Category 1 Travelers upon request)
    Save your receipts. Business-related expenses can be claimed for actual amounts spent, with submission of itemized receipts for all transportation and meals. A valid receipt contains payee’s name, amount, date, place, identification of what was purchased and proof of payment. EBRC cannot reimburse for alcohol purchases. If purchased alcohol is included in the submitted receipt documentation, it is the responsibility of the traveler to indicate the expense and deduct the amount from the total request. If you have lost a business receipt and have exhausted all efforts to obtain a copy from the merchant, provide an explanation with your reimbursement request including the details of the purchase and your declaration that the amount claimed is the amount actually paid by you and that you have not and will not seek reimbursement from any other source.

    Exceptions
    Requests for exceptions to this policy should be made as soon as possible. To request an exception, please contact us at helix@ebrc.org. This includes questions or deviations for complex travel situations.

    Health and Safety
    Vaccination against COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious diseases is highly recommended for in-person event participation. EBRC will employ masking and social distancing requirements per CDC and state and local guidelines to ensure the safety, health, and comfort of our participants.

  • Synthetic Biology In Space

    This video describes how synthetic biology might enable humans to live on another planet for generations, and highlights some of the capabilities we already have and how they could be used to engineer plants – and perhaps even people – to survive and thrive in a new environment. The presenter, Lisa Nip, also touches on the ethical and moral decisions that accompany the required biological engineering feats. While the aerospace engineers are working on getting us to Mars, everyone should take part in the conversation about what we can do when we get there, and this is a great video to start that conversation.

    Video from TEDx Talks.

  • What is a Gene Drive?

    “Gene drives” are a hot topic in biotechnology, with many potential applications and ramifications. Gene drives could be used to control disease transmission, perhaps even eradicating certain diseases. There are a host of ethical issues to consider regarding gene drives too, from ecological impacts to nefarious uses by parties with bad intentions. But in order to understand all of this, it is important to have at least an initial, basic understanding of what a “gene drive” is. This video provides a quick, visually-illustrated, easy-to-understand explanation of a gene drive that will let you understand the ongoing conversations about gene drives and also think critically about their future impacts.

  • Curriculum Modules

    With many of our EBRC members directly involved in University and Graduate-level education, we recognize the need for additional, up-to-date teaching resources and materials for engineering/synthetic biology.

  • K-12 Standards and Curriculum

    The Education Working Group aims to develop and update Kindergarten through High School education standards and curricula for the teaching of concepts of engineering/synthetic biology. The Working Group is currently investigating existing standards and building relationships with educators to advance this initiative.

    In development – more coming soon.

    If you would like to engage with EBRC on this initiative, please contact education@ebrc.org

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