scientists in lab with test tubes

Genetic Engineering and Society

We examine cultural, policy and economic aspects of genetically modified organisms, including the development and use of transgenic pests to suppress diseases, protect crops and conserve biodiversity.


Cluster Type

Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster

Cluster Coordinator

Fred Gould (Entomology and Plant Pathology)

Cluster Colleges

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Natural Resources

Social Media


The Genetic Engineering and Society cluster develops strong research and graduate training that builds on our IGERT program. This program encompasses broader reaches of genetic engineering, including transgenic microbes, crops and livestock, gene therapy and synthetic biology. A major goal of this program is to build trust, rigor and creativity among academic disciplines and publics. We will build excellence in engineered pest species and then expand to other areas.

Cluster Website


By building a unique interdisciplinary program that aims at transparency and inclusion of diverse perspectives in long-term, rigorous dialogue, we will have a global impact on the design and development of genetically engineered organisms. By combining expertise in biological sciences, social sciences and the humanities, we will help citizens and policymakers make informed decisions through detailed research deliberation.


In 2011, NC State University received a $3 million graduate training grant from the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, titled “Genetic Engineering and Society: The Case of Transgenic Pests.” The foundation’s goal for IGERT programs is to foster interdisciplinary graduate education, and NC State’s IGERT program is the first graduate program in the world specifically training students to understand, build and assess impacts of transgenic organisms on ecosystems and societies. Our innovative program integrates disciplines as diverse as molecular genetics and anthropology, but focuseson a small set of species that are targets for genetic pest management (