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Biology Internship at U.S. Army DEVCOM Soldier Center

The Department of Defense (DoD) is offering undergraduate and graduate internships at the Combat Feeding Division at the U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command - Soldier Center (DEVCOM-SC), Natick, Massachusetts.
What will I be doing?
As an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) participant, you will join a community of scientists and researchers in an effort to help perform barrier performance testing for O2 and H2O, extrusion of various materials for novel packaging, tensile testing, puncture resistance testing, seal/burst strength testing, and leak detection for operational ration packaging components. You will also gain experience looking at sustainable materials and potential incorporation into end-item operational ration packaging. This research is vital to reducing load/burden that soldiers have to carry in operational ration packaging, as well as providing safer materials that can be biograded/composted while providing the same performance as current materials.
Why should I apply? 
Under the guidance of a mentor, you will gain hands-on experience to complement your education and support your academic and professional goals. Along the way, you will engage in activities and research in several areas. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Engaging in microbiological testing for developmental ration components as well and growth and maintenance of bacterial/viral cultures. Microbiological testing may include sanitizer efficacy, water purification efficacy, biosensor limit of detection, and other novel applications in the realm of food protection.
  • Evaluating and/or creating novel polymer materials that meet military requirements for operational ration packaging, while providing lighter weight multifunctional materials that are more sustainable.
  • Preparing reports and briefings on efforts to include design of experiments, technical approach, milestone schedules, key performance metrics, and project accomplishments.
  • The opportunity to attend and present research at technical meetings within the scientific community. 
Where will I be located?
Natick, Massachusetts
What is the anticipated start date?
Exact start dates will be determined at the time of selection and in coordination with the selected candidate. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and internships or fellowships will be filled as qualified candidates are identified.
What is the appointment length? 
Appointments are initially for one year with the option to extend the appointment for up to four additional years, contingent upon project needs and funding availability.
What are the benefits? 
You will receive a stipend to be determined by DEVCOM SC. Stipends are typically based on a participant’s academic standing, discipline, experience, and research facility location. Other benefits may include the following:
  • Health Insurance Supplement (Participants are eligible to purchase health insurance through ORISE)
  • Relocation Allowance
  • Training and Travel Allowance
Security Clearance 
While participants will not enter into an employment relationship with DoD or any other agency, this opportunity will require a suitability investigation/background investigation. Any offer made is considered tentative pending favorable outcome of the investigation.
Stretching back to 1954, the DEVCOM Soldier Center's history of support for the Soldier has continued uninterrupted for more than six decades, with a focus on Soldier-related research, development, testing and evaluation efforts. If Soldiers wear it, eat it, sleep under it, or have it airdropped to them in theater, it can be traced back to the DEVCOM Soldier Center. Diverse expertise comprised of scientists, engineers, technologists and equipment designers, the DEVCOM Soldier Center provides a wide range of capabilities to the Soldier, to include field feeding and life support systems, protective clothing, precision airdrop systems, and ballistic, chemical and laser-protection systems, and human performance optimization. The Combat Feeding Research & Engineering Program is established by a DoD Directive, in which the program performs research, development, testing & engineering for combat rations, field feeding equipment and field feeding systems for all of the services. The Combat Feeding Directorate has about 80 scientist & engineers working in several different scientific disciplines, ranging from food technology to biomedical engineering, seeking to provide solutions to evolving field feeding challenges.  For more information about DEVCOM SC, please visit 
This program, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and DoD. Participants do not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, DoD or any other office or agency. Instead, you will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. For more information, visit the ORISE Research Participation Program at the U.S. Department of Defense.
The qualified candidate will have a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree or will have completed their degree by May 31, 2023. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. 
Highly competitive applicants will have education and/or experience in one or more of the following:
  • Experience with food packaging materials, quality assurance testing procedures, polymer extrusion, food safety//microbiology and multifunctional materials.