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New methods to increase crop productivity are required to meet anticipated demands for food, feed, fiber, and fuel. Using modern sensors and data analysis techniques, it is now feasible to develop methods to predict plant growth and productivity based on information about their genome and environment. However, doing so requires expertise in plant sciences as well as computational sciences and engineering.
Through the Predictive Plant Phenomics (P3) Program specialization, we bring together students with diverse backgrounds, including plant sciences, data sciences, and engineering, and provide them with data-enabled science and engineering training. Students interested in pursuing plant phenotyping work can join P3, by adding the predictive plant phenomics specialization to their degree program.
The P3 program specialization grew out of an NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) award. The P3 NSF NRT uses the T-training model proposed by the American Society of Plant Biology (ASPB) to provide students with training across a broad range of disciplines while developing a deep technical expertise in one area. The collaborative spirit required for students to thrive in this unique intellectual environment will be strengthened through the establishment of a community of practice to support collective learning.
Beginning in 2015, the P3 Program anticipates directly supporting 28 NSF NRT trainee (seven/year over 4 years) for students' first year in the P3 program as scholarship recipients, with the scholarship program ending in the 2019-2020 academic year. The courses developed in this program will be available to all students, regardless of whether they have added this unique specialization to their program of study (POSC), and we anticipate an additional 20 students (who are not recipients of the P3 scholarship through NSF) will complete all coursework requirements. All students who participate in the specialization will have access to the Travel Grants and Research Grants. The resulting expertise of P3 students, in combination with training in advanced communication and entrepreneurship skills, will enable our graduates to work across organizational and cultural boundaries as well as scientific disciplines.