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FDA Summer Internship at Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

FDA Office and Location: Three research opportunities are available within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory, located in Dauphin Island, Alabama. 

The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, known as CFSAN, provides services to consumers, domestic and foreign industry and other outside groups regarding field programs; agency administrative tasks; scientific analysis and support; and policy, planning and handling of critical issues related to food, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.

Research Project: The participants will assist research scientists in planning and conducting studies, collecting and analyzing data, and other related activities in support of the FDA’s mission to address the occurrence of hazards in seafood.

Learning Objectives:  Potential areas of investigation for the selected participants are:

  • Effects of aquaculture practices on Vibrio spp. levels in oysters using microbiological and molecular methods.
  • Evaluation of decomposition in shrimp, from harvest through storage, using microbiological and molecular methods.
  • Data mining and GIS analysis for calibration of hydrodynamic and dispersion models currently used by the FDA in assessment of pollution sources.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 1, 2024.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for 3 months but may be renewed upon recommendation of FDA and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is only available to U.S. citizens. 


This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and FDA. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Participants do not become employees of FDA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at FDA.  OPM can complete a background investigation only for individuals, including non-US Citizens, who have resided in the US for a total of three of the past five years.

FDA Ethics Requirements

If an ORISE Fellow, to include their spouse and minor children, reports what is identified as a Significantly Regulated Organization (SRO) or prohibited investment fund financial interest in any amount, or a relationship with an SRO, except for spousal employment with an SRO, and the individual will not voluntarily divest the financial interest or terminate the relationship, then the individual is not placed at FDA. For additional requirements, see FDA Ethics for Nonemployee Scientists

FDA requires ORISE participants to read and sign their FDA Education and Training Agreement within 30 days of his/her start date, setting forth the conditions and expectations for his/her educational appointment at the agency.  This agreement covers such topics as the following:

  • Non-employee nature of the ORISE appointment
  • Prohibition on ORISE Fellows performing inherently governmental functions
  • Obligation of ORISE Fellows to convey all necessary rights to the FDA regarding intellectual property conceived or first reduced to practice during their fellowship
  • The fact that research materials and laboratory notebooks are the property of the FDA
  • ORISE fellow’s obligation to protect and not to further disclose or use non-public information



The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing or have received a bachelor's or master's degree.

Preferred skills:

  • Hands-on experience with laboratory or GIS analyses.
  • Skills in microbiological, molecular, or environmental analyses.


  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Academic Level(s): Graduate Students, Post-Bachelor's, Post-Master's, or Undergraduate Students.