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USDA-ARS Plant Germplasm Resources Fellowship

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

ARS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), at the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository (WLPGR) located in Beltsville, Maryland.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research ProjectThe Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository is the USDA-ARS designated gene bank for over 200 genera of temperate trees, shrubs, and lianas. The WLPGR is responsible for the collection, characterization, maintenance, regeneration, and distribution of germplasm and associated information to benefit plant conservation and the broader scientific community. The selected participant will be involved in collecting and analyzing data from field plots; collaborating with Lead Scientist in seed collection, maintenance, and distribution; entering and manipulating data in the GRIN database; propagating plants from cuttings and seeds; and writing summaries of results and methods. 

Learning Objectives
  • Develop understanding of National Plant Germplasm System, and the value of gene bank management
  • How to make proper seed collections and process seeds and data for long term storage
  • How to identify tree and shrub species; how to use a botanical key
  • How to use GRIN Global software; how to conduct a search query, filter data, and fulfill orders for external stakeholders
  • How to conduct curatorial reviews of germplasm collections including accessioning and labeling techniques
  • How to propagate plants from seeds and cuttings
  • How to conduct plant evaluation trials including experimental design, data collection, and analysis

Mentor(s)If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact Todd Rounsaville (

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: 2022. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant(s) will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. However, this position requires a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.