Program Overview

IGERT is an NSF-wide graduate training program (http://www.igert.org) intended to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers with the interdisciplinary background, deep knowledge in a chosen discipline, and the technical, professional, and personal skills needed for the career demands of the future. The CREATE-IGERT program is a structured and well-integrated graduate research and educational training program with the overarching theme of the development and utilization of plants for the production of biofuels, industrial non-food products biopharmaceuticals, and agricultural products (food, feed & fiber), in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way. We emphasize integrated doctoral training in plant sciences, molecular biology and engineering, to prepare the research, educational, business, regulatory, and policy leaders of the future. CREATE-IGERT trainees conduct research in areas that relate to society’s most pressing challenges in energy sustainability, health and environmental stewardship.

CREATE-IGERT award cycles have run January to December, with awards including an annual stipend of $30,000 for 12 months, $10,500 toward in-state fees and travel support of $500 per year. Graduate students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents conducting research in one of the CREATE faculty trainer laboratories at UC Davis or Tuskegee University have been eligible to apply for the CREATE traineeship.


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Research Focus Areas

CREATE brings together a diverse group of faculty and graduate students from plant sciences, molecular biology and engineering, working together in interdisciplinary teams to tackle critical societal challenges with applications in the following areas.

  • Biofuels and Biorefineries
  • Plant-Made Products
  • Environmental Sustainability

Program Mission

I. The CREATE program will foster interdisciplinary collaborations needed to address the technical, economic, environmental, societal, and policy issues related to agricultural biotechnology, from both a domestic and international perspective. To provide training in these arenas, CREATE includes industrial research internship opportunities in the United States, as well as international research internship opportunities in Ireland. We have a diverse pool of training faculty drawn from 11 campus departments, across 6 colleges/schools with a wide range of expertise relevant to the unifying theme.

II. The CREATE program will train an ethnically diverse group of research and educational leaders having knowledge of the fundamental principles and expertise in the applications of plant biotechnology. To achieve this mission, CREATE has partnered with other programs on campus such as the Outreach, Recruitment and Retention unit of the Office of Graduate Studies, and has established an integrated training partnership with Tuskegee University, a minority-serving institution with excellent programs in the agricultural, plant and environmental sciences.

III. The CREATE program will serve as an educational hub for in vitro, plant-based technologies, through the development and implementation of new courses that take advantage of plant biotechnology expertise available on the UC Davis and Tuskegee campuses.CREATE has developed a new graduate lecture course entitled “Transgenic Plant and In-vitro Plant Based Expression Systems”and two summer laboratory short courseson “Plant Transformation Methods” and “Recovery and Purification of Plant-Derived Products”.

Partnering Institutions

Tuskegee University is partnering with UC Davis in developing and implementing the CREATE-IGERT doctoral training program. Tuskegee trainees will be selected from the Integrative Biosciences doctoral program, with affiliated Masters degree candidates having the option of participating in a MS-to-PhD Bridge program. Provost Luther Williams is the Tuskegee University Principal Investigator, with the following Tuskegee faculty participating as key CREATE personnel: Dr. Deloris Alexander, Dr. Marceline Egnin; Dr. Guohao He; Dr. Jesse Jaynes and Dr. C.S. Prakash. Additional Tuskegee faculty from disciplines in agricultural and environmental sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering and integrative biosciences will also participate as faculty trainers in the CREATE-IGERT program.

International CREATE collaborators include Teagasc Oak Park Research Centre, under the direction of Dr. Ewen Mullins, the University College Dublin, under the direction of Dr. James Burke, the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) , under the direction of Dr. Philip J. Dix, and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), under the direction of Dr. Charles Spillane. CREATE doctoral trainees at UC Davis and Tuskegee University will be exposed to global perspectives in agricultural biotechnology, through interactions with international faculty and researchers, via international internship opportunities and scholarly interactions at the annual CREATE Symposium and Distinguished Lecture.

Award Information

The CREATE program is made possible through funding by the National Science Foundation (DGE-0653984) via the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program.

“The IGERT program has been developed to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists, engineers, and educators with the interdisciplinary backgrounds, deep knowledge in chosen disciplines, and technical, professional, and personal skills to become in their own careers the leaders and creative agents for change.” –NSF Introduction to IGERT Programs

In addition to the CREATE program, UC Davis is honored to be the past and present home of the following IGERT programs: Biological Invasions: From Genes to Ecosystems, From Science to Society under the directorship of Dr. Sharon Strauss, Department of Evolution and Ecology;Nanophases in the Environment, Agriculture and Technology (NEAT) , under the directorship of Dr. Alexandra Navrotsky, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; and the Transportation Technology and Policy (TTP) Program , under the directorship of Dr. Patricia Mokhtarian, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Faculty and students interested in obtaining more information regarding national IGERT programs should contact the IGERT National Recruitment Program.

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