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APHIS NBAF Scientist Training Program (NSTP)

1st NSTP cohort at the NSTP kick-off event at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Fall 2018.

1st NSTP cohort at the NSTP kick-off event at Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Fall 2018.


The Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL) is one of the four APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories, and serves as a national reference laboratory for USDA Veterinary Services and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), and an international reference laboratory for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). FADDL is currently located at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), the only US location approved for handling high-consequence foreign animal diseases (FAD), including foot and mouth disease (FMD) and Rinderpest viruses. The majority of the U.S. FAD diagnostic expertise for livestock diseases resides at PIADC-FADDL, within approximately 20 scientists that include microbiologists, veterinarians, and veterinary scientists (DVM/PhD). It is likely that most of FADDL’s subject matter experts (SMEs) will not relocate to the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Kansas, creating an FAD SME gap throughout the transition process and during stand-up of FADDL at NBAF.

The FADDL mission will expand at NBAF to include zoonotic and emerging diseases, with a new emphasis on biosafety level (BSL)-4 pathogens. SMEs knowledgeable in these agents and with expertise in working in BSL-4 laboratories will be critical to develop BSL-4 programs at NBAF. To minimize the SME gap and identify highly qualified candidates to fill key roles in the new NBAF facility, APHIS has developed a graduate training program, the APHIS NBAF Scientist Training Program (NSTP). NSTP fellows will receive full tuition and supplementary support to complete a MS, PhD or DVM/PhD program in target laboratory-based fields of study: microbiology, virology, molecular biology, diagnostics, bioinformatics, etc. APHIS will work with partner universities and laboratories to ensure the fellows’ research projects address specific FADs and capability needs. Upon successful completion of the programs, each fellow will be required to fulfill a service commitment at NBAF and/or PIADC-FADDL, dependent on agency needs and timing of degree completion. 

Degree-granting programs covered: MS, PhD, DVM/PhD.

Support provided for each fellow: Tuition and fees, stipend, health benefits, materials and supplies, travel, and publication costs.

Maximum period of support: 3 years (MS); 4 years (PhD); 5 years (DVM/PhD).

NSTP expectations: In addition to specific degree requirements, fellows will maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA and support NBAF SOP development.

NSTP eligibility: Individuals enrolled in covered degree program at selected universities, including but not limited to, Kansas State University, Iowa State University, North Carolina State University, Mississippi State University, Auburn University, and University of Georgia.

Application process: A separate NSTP application, including current CV and letter of intent, is required following acceptance into an approved graduate degree program.

Federal position:  At completion, fellows offered federal positions in area of expertise and target grade.

Service commitment: Based on the number of years of funding received, fellows will be required to fulfill a tiered service commitment following completion of program. 4 years of service at target position for 2 years of funding; 5 years for 3 years; 6 years for 4 years; 7 years for 5 years. Failure to complete service commitment will require fellow to repay funding to APHIS NSTP program. 

NSTP will accept applications twice annually. For the Fall 2019 enrollment, applications are due June 1. Spring 2020 enrollment dates will be released soon.

For interested students: The application process is coordinated through your university. The university will provide application packets and additional information regarding timelines, point of contact and process for submission through your university. Note: NSTP will not accept applications directly from applicants.

For universities: Contact NSTP directly to obtain application packets and detailed instructions on the submission process.

Complete application packets include the NSTP application form, current resume/CV, letter of interest and 3 letters of recommendation.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding the application process.

  • Alexa Bracht- NSTP Coordinator
  • Dr. Jamie Barnabei- NSTP Program Manager
  • Dr. Kimberly Dodd- NSTP Director

Contact for all NSTP related questions:

Dr. Kimberly Dodd, Director, Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL); (631) 323-3113 (office)

Contact the NSTP Team:

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