USDA's "P4" Data Driven Research Fellowship for Undergraduates

Applications are due by 11:59 PM on February 15, 2021.

(Application link is available below)

Pigs, Poultry, the Planet and Data-Driven Problem-Solving (nicknamed “P4”) is a USDA NIFA-funded Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates summer fellowship program. The P4 program is designed to develop the next generation of data-savvy food animal production professionals, extension associates, and researchers. P4 fellows learn how to apply data-driven analytics and problem-solving to address issues surrounding global intensification of poultry and swine production. The program is led by North Carolina State University in partnership with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. In 2021, the P4 program will be virtual, with participants working from their home locations. We anticipate admitting 8 students in the 2021 cohort. We are tentatively planning a one-week in-person orientation in which the students will visit animal production facilities and meet their peers and mentors.

P4 Fellows will:

  • Gain skills in data science, data-driven problem solving, holistic evaluation of food animal production systems, global thinking, and technical communications

  • Work on a data-driven research project under the supervision of two faculty mentors

  • Visit poultry and swine production facilities in North Carolina to gain hands-on experience during a one-week in-person orientation (Note: these experiences are tentatively scheduled during a one-week in-person orientation; strict coronavirus transmission risk mitigation measures will be implemented.)

  • Network with industry professionals in the food animal production and data analytics industries

  • Receive a $5,000 stipend


Enrolled undergraduate students of sophomore or junior standing who are interested in food animal production and data science are eligible to apply. Students who will have graduated by May 2021 are not eligible to participate. Only U.S. citizens are eligible to receive funding.

Statistics Prerequisites:

Prior background in statistics (e.g. completion of an introductory statistics course) is required. Applicants should have understanding of the following statistical concepts prior to starting the program: random variables, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, and regression. If you need a refresher on these topics, we recommend the following resources (there are also many additional resources online):


The program spans 9 weeks, from June 1 - July 30, 2021.


Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend. Financial assistance to support travel to/from home institutions to NC State for the tentatively-planned orientation will be provided.

Applications are due by 11:59 PM on February 15, 2021.

The following applications materials should be submitted via the Application Form. The application includes optional questions on demographics, as well as a request for contact information for a professional reference. The reference should be a faculty member or professional who knows you through academic and/or professional interactions and can speak to your potential and career ambitions. Additionally, you will need to submit a single PDF with the name lastname_firstname.pdf that includes the following:

  • Statement of interest: The statement of interest should summarize your perspective on the use of data analytics in food animal production, motivation for applying to the program and career goals (short- and long-term). Limited to 1 single spaced page with 12-pt font and 1” margins. The most competitive applicants will have written a full page for the statement of interest.

  • Resume: Limited to 1 single spaced page with 12-pt Times New Roman font and 1” margins.

  • A 5-10 sentence response to the question: What is the statistical method you most enjoyed learning about and why?

Applications that remain incomplete by the deadline may not be reviewed.

Finalists will be interviewed via video call. We anticipate contacting finalists to schedule interviews during the first week of March, though this schedule is subject to change.

Apply Here

The P4 program is dedicated to the goal of supporting the development of a culturally diverse workforce, and strongly encourages applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, first generation college students, and veterans.

This work is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Educational Literacy Initiative’s Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates grant program (grant no. 2019-67032-29074/project accession no. 1018043) from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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