EBRC supports and engages the engineering biology community through a number of unique programs. These programs aim to propel the field forward by providing collective voices and opportunities in key topics related to research planning and forecasting, improving security in engineering biology, and supporting the education and career development of students engaged in the field.
One of EBRC’s core missions is to prepare compelling research roadmaps for the field, identifying areas of research and milestones critical to the advancement of engineering tools and technologies, as well as the broader applications and impacts of research advancement. The purpose of the EBRC Technical Research Roadmap for Engineering Biology is to provide a resource for the engineering biology research community – academic and industrial – that identifies the priority areas for basic (or pre-competitive) research advancement for multiple timeframes over the next two decades. Goals of EBRC’s roadmapping effort include influencing the direction and availability of funding; identifying areas where potential advancement would have significant scientific, social, and economic impact, highlighting particular challenges and bottlenecks for research; and informing public policy. The Roadmap has been developed by EBRC members and other engineering biology community experts through input from collaborative meetings, workshops, and written peer-review. EBRC roadmapping is an evergreen effort that will be have regular relevant updates as the field progresses.
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Improving Security Considerations in Engineering Biology Research
The EBRC Improving Security Considerations program is a broad effort to encourage researchers in engineering biology to consider the security implications of their work. Through workshops and other educational activities, we aim to establish norms and practices for researchers and the research-support community to better incorporate security into the research enterprise. Our goals are to educate the community about security considerations and risk, policies, and mitigation strategies and resources associated with improving security in engineering biology research and products. EBRC also aims to improve communication and engagement between researchers and the security community (including policy makers); clarify and contextualize the language surrounding security in engineering biology; and integrate security into the responsible conduct of research culture through proactive communication and discussion of security.
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Student & Postdoc Association
The EBRC Student & Postdoc Association (SPA) is an organization of graduate students and postdocs that facilitates networking and engagement between SPA members and the broader EBRC membership. SPA members are the first to hear about new EBRC programs and activities and have access to special content on the EBRC website.
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The development of the next-generation of leaders in synthetic biology is a critical component of EBRC’s mission. The EBRC Student and Postdoc Association (SPA) established a mentorship program to link SPA members with EBRC industry and government partners in an effort to provide a fertile research network and promote best practices for responsible innovation. Mentor-mentee pairs are encouraged to have monthly conversations in person, over video call or by phone, and the program also facilitates in-person social events during the EBRC Retreats. Through this program, graduate students and postdocs are provided with valuable career support and professional guidance, especially those interested in careers outside of academia.
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Industry Internship Program
EBRC recognizes the need for premier education and training opportunities in engineering biology and the benefit received from close interaction between academia and industry. With the goal of better preparing tomorrow’s leaders for careers outside academia and to enhance students’ laboratory skills and understanding of applications, EBRC has developed a summer Internship Program between US colleges and universities and participating biotechnology companies. Through the program, small- and medium-sized biotechnology companies host one or more PhD-candidates for four months on-site, giving participating companies the opportunity to introduce students to industry culture and to train their future workforce and leadership. Student-interns work on projects that fit their interests and experience and enhance their studies. No prior industry experience is necessary or expected. The EBRC Industry Internship Program is currently in a pilot phase.
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