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Jennifer Kuzma

Distinguished Professor & Co-Director

James B Hunt Jr Centennial Cam 5147

Publications

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Grants

Date: 01/15/22 - 1/14/26
Amount: $649,515.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

This proposal puts forth a timely and multi-faceted approach to assess the societal implications of genetic engineering (GE) and nanotechnology used in food and agriculture (agrifoods) and identify strategies to ensure the sustainable futures of agrifood technologies according to diverse stakeholder perspectives. There are three primary objectives: 1) Assess societal implications and improve decision-making of GE- and nano-agrifood products through benefit-risk evaluations; 2) Identify strategies to ensure sustainable development and use of GE and nano-agrifoods through multi-stakeholder engagement and exchange; 3) Develop interdisciplinary education and training opportunities to better evaluate societal implications of new and novel agrifood technologies. Key project outcomes will help policy-makers and other decision-makers i) make informed decisions on GE- and nano-agrifoods, particularly in contexts of benefits and risks, ii) understand societal implications of GE- and nano-agrifoods based on stakeholder perceptions and attitudes, and iii) identify best practices for evaluating societal implications of new and novel agrifood technologies according to diverse perspectives.

Date: 09/01/22 - 8/31/23
Amount: $504,934.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

PreMiEr’s microbiome engineering framework will enable the development of a wide range of transformative technologies that solve societal challenges at the interface of health and the environment. However, the dissemination of these same technologies is not without risk as it relies on the responsible development and societal acceptance of microbiome engineering approaches. Thus, in this research core, we will consider the ethical, societal, and policy implications of PreMiEr’s evolving microbiome engineering discoveries. There have been national calls for cross-disciplinary and integrated work to better understand the social implications of microbiome science and engineering [1]. In parallel, there is increasing awareness that challenges at the nexus of human- and natural-world coupled systems cannot be solved by technology alone. Through the research and deliberative engagement approaches described below, PreMiEr research will embrace the concept of responsible research and innovation and its elements of anticipation, deliberation, reflexivity, and responsiveness [6]. Particular areas of inquiry will be on social equity of microbiome engineering, ownership and privacy of microbiome data and information, and ethical implications including informed consent, consumer and patient autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance, and procedural justice. Core B will also work with the natural scientists and engineers in other thrusts and cores to help identify and address policy and societal questions associated with risk governance and analysis, oversight of microbiome engineering, and equitable distribution of risks and benefits.

Date: 09/01/18 - 8/31/23
Amount: $2,997,865.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Challenges at the FEW nexus are not simply technological, but convergent in the sense of spanning technical, ecological, social, political, and ethical issues. The field of biotechnology is evolving rapidly - and with it, the potential for creating a diverse array of powerful future products that could intentionally and unintentionally impact FEW systems. Depending on what products are developed and how those products are deployed, biotechnology could have a positive or negative impact on all 3 of these systems. Wise decisions will require leaders who can integrate knowledge from engineering, design, natural sciences, and social sciences. We will train STEM graduate students to respond to these challenges by conducting convergent research aimed at development, and assessment of biotechnologies to improve services provided by FEW systems. We will train our students to engage with non-scientists to elevate societal discourse about biotechnology. We will recruit 3 cohorts with emphasis on students who have shown a passion for crossing between natural and social sciences. We will work with the NCSU Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity in recruiting students from underrepresented minority groups. Cohorts will have 6 students who will take a minor in Genetic Engineering and Society (GES). They will receive PhDs in established graduate programs such as Plant Biol, Chem & Biomol Engr, Econ, Public Adm, Entomol, Plant Path, Communication, Rhetoric & Digital Media, Forestry & Environ Res, Crop & Soil Sci, and Genetics. For students in natural science PhD programs, at least 1 thesis committee member will be from a social sciences program and vice versa for students in social sciences. For all students, at least 1 thesis chapter will demonstrate scholarship across natural and social sciences. The disciplinary breadth of our proposed NRT is very broad, so we will focus student projects narrowly on a specific biotechnology product that impact FEW systems. When they first arrive at NCSU, cohorts will participate in a training program off campus where they will be exposed to the issues they will address. Students will carry out a group project in the focus area of the cohort to continue team development. To fulfill the GES minor, students will take 3 specially designed courses: Plant Genetics & Physiology, Science Communication & Engagement, Policy & Systems Modeling. There are no NRT-eligible institutions partnering on this project outside of an evaluation role.

Date: 02/17/20 - 6/30/23
Amount: $556,250.00
Funding Agencies: Game-Changing Research Incentive Program for Plant Sciences (GRIP4PSI)

Inconsistent quality and aesthetics in agricultural crops can result in increased consumer and producer food waste, reduced industry resiliency and decreased farmers’ and growers’ profit, poor consumer satisfaction, and inefficiencies across the supply chain. Although there are opportunities to characterize and quantify sources of phenotypic variability across the agricultural supply chain - from cultural practices of growers and producers to storage and handling by distributors - the data available to allow for assessment of horticultural quality drivers are disparate and disconnected. The absence of data integration platforms that link heterogeneous datasets across the supply chain precludes the development of strategies and solutions to constrain variability in produce quality. This project’s central hypothesis is that multi-dimensional produce data can be securely integrated and used to optimize management practices in the field while simultaneously adding value across the entire food supply chain. We propose to develop multi-modal sensing platform along with a trust-based, data management, integration, and analytics framework for systematic organization and dynamic abstraction of heterogeneous data across the supply chain of agricultural crops. The projects short term goals are to (1) engage growers to refine research and extension priorities; (2) develop a first-of-its-kind modular imaging system that responds to grower needs by analyzing existing and novel multi-dimensional data; (3) establish the cyberinfrastructure, including analytics and blockchain, to make meaningful inference of the acquired data as related to management practices while ensuring data security; (4) deploy the sensing system at NCSU’s Horticultural Crops Research Station in Clinton, NC and on a large-scale system at a major commercial farm and distribution facility, and (5) extend findings to producers and regulators through NC Cooperative Extension. The proposed sensing and cyberinfrastructure platforms will be crop-agnostic and our findings will be transferable to other horticultural crops produced in NC and beyond.

Date: 04/01/20 - 3/31/23
Amount: $68,748.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

In the project “Implications of Solar Radiation Management for Collective Climate Action,” NC State will be responsible for the following: • Assist in the formulate a general theory of behaviour for actors confronting a collective-risk social dilemma with the option of deploying a risky solution. In this work, NC State will review proposed approaches put forward by Duke University and provide comment and recommendations. NC State will also review any work products from Aim 1, provide suggestions and recommendations, and disseminate the resulting outcomes through NC State research networks, including NC State's interdisciplinary science, technology and society initiatives. • Assist in the design of experimental games to test theoretical model predictions and assist in the formulation of a resulting behavioural model. In this work, NC State will review proposed approaches by Duke University and provide recommendations on the technical content of the experiment to ensure the desire outcomes will be achieved. NC State will also review any work products from Aim 2, provide suggestions and recommendations, and disseminate the resulting outcomes through NC State research networks • Lead the team’s efforts to translate and disseminate of our theoretical, simulation, and experimental tools and results to other domains of science and technology policy. For example, we anticipate that results and approaches will not only be applicable to the use of SRM but will also be highly relevant to the management of other “quick fix” emerging technologies, such as gene drives to eradicate insect-borne diseases or engineered nanomaterials deployed for environmental remediation. • Assist Duke University in preparation and finalization of project outcomes, resulting manuscripts, policy-brief(s), and dissemination efforts.

Date: 08/27/20 - 1/10/23
Amount: $458,456.00
Funding Agencies: Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has (not yet publically) called for bids on a two-year consultancy to assess and advise regulatory reform pathways for emerging agricultural biotechnologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. The main issues to be studied under the consultancy are: • Current Policy Evaluation: including existing agricultural biotechnology policies and cost/time necessary to bring a product to market in identified regional states, policy trends and tendencies of select major trading partners (USA, EU, China, Japan) and international bodies (e.g. United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity), gaps in identified regional state policies to address process and end-product distinctions with next-generation gene editing methods, and the current CRISPR licensing structures for private firms and non-profit/governmental bodies seeking to eventually translate R&D output for commercialization; • Forecasting and Future Policy Scenario Analysis: including targeted crop-country case study examples with emerging next-generation biotechnology products to illustrate economic, trade, and social consequences of potential policy directions; • Identifying Bank investment priorities: including documentation of regional gene editing product developments, key capacity deficits, and future opportunities for IDB investment in human and physical capital. Focus countries for the regional analysis will include: Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Honduras. Data collection will include extensive literature survey and policy review, key informant interviews (by phone and in-person), and additional travel as necessary to collect required primary and secondary data. The consultancy team will include experts from agricultural economics, public policy, international law, communications, and biotechnology. The required deliverables of the project include preliminary, interim, and final reports, an academic journal submission, country-specific policy briefs for key stakeholder agencies, content to populate an IDB website portal for project dissemination, and a dedicated report on Recommended Strategic Bank Investments in Agricultural Biotechnology. Three workshops will be held with stakeholders from IDB and focus countries, including a kick-off meeting, first findings presentation, and a final findings presentation.

Date: 09/01/20 - 8/31/22
Amount: $25,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Technological advancements involving gene drive applications in agriculture are proceeding rapidly (e.g., use of Drosophila suzukii or Diaphorina citri that feed on soft-skinned and citrus fruits). At the same time, there are gaps in governance systems and challenges to acquiring underlying data for risk assessments. It is also important to couple risk assessments with studies on public perceptions and acceptance, heeding past lessons learned from ag-biotechnology (1), and enhance risk assessments through informed interdisciplinary engagement (2)(3)(4)(5). Interdisciplinary exchanges may also help ensure that responsible research and innovation is realized in the case of gene drive applications in agriculture. In essence, diverse and multi-stakeholder conversations should be conducted alongside research endeavors aimed to conduct risk assessments for gene drives. This conference proposal aims to inform risk assessment research strategies for gene drive agricultural applications through interdisciplinary dialogue and exchange with diverse experts.

Date: 09/01/19 - 2/28/22
Amount: $20,000.00
Funding Agencies: Society for Risk Analysis (SRA)

This application proposes a cost-effective approach to grow and expand the Research Triangle Park (RTP) chapter of SRA located in North Carolina (USA), enhance and strengthen the field of risk science, and promote risk science as a profession. These project goals will be accomplished through a series of strategic activities that leverage existing risk-based, multi-stakeholder collaborations in the RTP area along with the team’s professional networks and connections with international scholars in risk science. Key outcomes of the proposed work include a reinvigoration of the SRA RTP chapter that will promote SRA membership growth along with networking and professional development for risk science students, scholars, and professionals. The proposed work will be carried out in three main themes: 1. Reinvigorate the RTP chapter of SRA, 2. Enhance and strengthen risk science through networking and guest lectures, and 3. Grow and promote risk science through professional development opportunities.

Date: 07/15/19 - 1/14/22
Amount: $499,857.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

This project will evaluate the social implications of and identify best practices for the responsible innovation (RI) of nanomaterials used in food and agricultural sectors. The proposed work advances the “Social Implications of Food and Agricultural Technologies Program Area” Program Area (Priority Code A1642). The project will achieve four objectives: (1) identify, describe, and compare exemplary cases of RI for nanomaterials used in food and agriculture (nano-agrifoods); (2) elucidate incentives and barriers for RI of nano-agrifoods; (3) capture key stakeholder pereptions and concerns regarding nano-agrifoods across the farm-to-fork spectrum and identify approaches to address concerns through practices of RI; and (4) identify lessons learned from, best practices for, and policy implications of RI relevant for other emerging food and agriculture technologies. Key project outcomes include critical information on (1) practices of RI that can help ensure sustainability of nano-agrifoods and build trust, (2) stakeholder concerns of nano-agrifoods and approaches to address them, and (3) key lessons learned from nano-agrifoods that help ensure sustainability of other novel agrifood technologies. Project outcomes will be disseminated through peer-reviewed manuscripts, a policy brief, conference presentations, and social media platforms. Overall, project findings will help product developers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders ensure RI occurs for nano-agrifood sectors with relevancy for the sustainability of other emerging food and agriculture technologies.

Date: 08/01/17 - 12/31/19
Amount: $10,005.00
Funding Agencies: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

RA will provide essential research resources in year 1 the project for the development of profiles and assessments of risk governance frameworks across one of the six case studies. The RAs will work on the case study of Gene-edited Hornless Cattle, using the AquaAdvantage Salmon as the historical precursor. They will track the: 1) case profile and assessment of risk governance framework; 2) integration of public values and public input into risk management framework; 3) media attention; 4) other related matters.


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