Credit: Marc Hall

Jennifer Kuzma

Goodnight-NC GSK Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences, Associate Director of PreMiEr, and Co-Director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center

School of Public and International Affairs, College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Faculty page: | Email: | Twitter: @jenniferkuzma0 | CV


Jennifer Kuzma, PhD is the Goodnight-NCGSK Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences and co-founder and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society (GES) Center, at NC State University where she’s been since 2013. Dr. Kuzma is also an Associate Director of PreMiEr, the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center on Precision Microbiome Engineering, serving as PI for NC State’s PreMiEr efforts and co-lead of the social and ethical implications (SEI) team. Prior to this, she was associate professor of science and technology policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota (2003-2013) where she served as chair of the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy Area and co-lead several interdisciplinary programs such as a graduate minor in Risk Analysis for Introduced Species and Genotypes and the Initiative for REnewable Energy and the Environment. From 1998 to 2003, she was study director for several U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) reports related to biotechnology and bioterrorism; and in 1997-1998 was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Risk Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she participated in several farm-to-fork risk analyses for foodborne pathogens. She has over 125 scholarly publications on emerging technologies, social science, and governance and has been studying this area for over 30 years. She was one of the pioneers in studying the societal implications of agrifood nanotechnology, gene-editing, and synthetic biology, and in 2019 was elected a AAAS Fellow for distinguished work in anticipatory governance of new technologies, and methods for oversight policy analysis. She was elected to the NC State Research Leadership Academy and received the Alumni Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 2020. In 2014, she received the SRA Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Award for her contributions to the field of risk analysis and in 2017-2018 she was awarded the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Science Policy. She is interviewed frequently in the media for her expertise in biotechnology policy, including the New York Times, Science, The Scientist, Nature, NPR, Washington Post, Scientific American, BBC, PBS Nova, Wired, and ABC & NBC News. Kuzma has held several national and international leadership positions, including a member of the World Economic Forum Council on Technology, Values and Policy; the NASEM Committee on Preparing for Future Biotechnology, Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Council Member and Secretary, UN FAO Expert Group on Food Nanotechnologies, FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee, and AAAS-American Bar Association National Council of Scientists and Lawyers. As a former natural scientist, she was the first to discover that bacteria produce isoprene, a precursor to natural rubber, and holds the first patent for methods for bacterial production. Her postdoctoral work on plant drought and salinity tolerance resulted in a highly-cited article in the journal Science which identified a molecular signalling pathway for plant drought and salinity tolerance.


Postdoctoral Associate, Rockefeller University; PhD, University of Colorado at Boulder; BS, University of St. Thomas


Risk analysis, Governance, Public policy, Responsible innovation

Grants & Projects


  • Kuzma J. (coPI; overall, PI for NC State) Precision Microbiome Engineering (PreMiEr) Center EEC-2133504, NSF-ERC – $26,000,000 ($4M to NC State, $2M to GES Center), 2022-2027.
  • Kuzma J (coPI). Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evaluate Societal Implications and Foster Sustainability of Genetic Engineering and Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture (Grant #2022-67023-36730). USDA-NIFA – $650,000, 2022-2025. K. Grieger (PI)
  • Kuzma J. coI. Improving Crop Productivity and Value Through Heterogeneous Data Integration, Analytics, and Decision Support Platforms. GRIP-4PSI Initiative – $ 556,250, 2020-2023. C. Williams (PI), Khara Grieger coPI
  • Kuzma J. (coPI). Agricultural Biotechnology in Our Evolving Food, Energy & Water Systems (AgBioFEWS). F. Gould PI, Z. Brown, J. Delborne, J. Kuzma, and H. Sederoff coPI. National Science Foundation, National Research Traineeships Program – $2,997,350. 2018-2023.
  • Kuzma J. (coPI; PI at NC State). Implications of Solar Radiation Management for Strategic Behavior and Climate Governance. M. Borksuk, (PI Duke), Pizer, Wiener (coPI Duke) K. Grieger coPI (NCSU). National Science Foundation, Decision, Risk and Management Sciences – $559,381. 2020-2023


  • Kuzma, J. coPI. Assessment of the Regulatory and Institutional Framework for Gene-editing via CRISPR-based Technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean. InterAmerican Development Bank – $450,000, 2020-2022. T. Kuiken (PI), M. Jones, Z. Brown coPIs.
  • Kuzma J (coPI, Informing a Risk Assessment Research Strategy for Gene Drive Agricultural Applications through Interdisciplinary Dialogue and Exchange (Biotech Risk Assessment Grant), USDA-NIFA – $25,000, 2020-2022. K. Barnhill-Dilling (PI), coPIs K.Grieger, J. Delborne, C. Cummings
  • Kuzma J (coPI). Social Implications and Best Practices for Responsible Innovation of Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture. Khara Grieger (PI). USDA-NIFA – $495,000. 2019-2021.
  • Kuzma, J. (coPI). Piloting Cooperative Governance of Applications of Crop Gene Editing to Cover Crops and Cash Cover Crops. N. Jordan (PI), Tim Smith (coPI). Walton Foundation – $199,641.* 2019-2020. *note: funds are based at U of MN
  • Kuzma J, coI SSHRC Canada (2017-2019) $195, 166 @Risk: Strengthening Canada’s Ability to Manage Risk M. Gattinger PI (U of Ottawa), and others VI. Kuzma J. PI NSF 2016-2018 $350,000 Facilitating Learning about Meanings of Responsible Innovation in Bioengineering F. Gould, D. Berube, E. Banks, and J. Herkert co-PIs
  • Kuzma, J. PI NSF 2015-2017 $50,000 Gene Drives: A Deliberative Workshop to Develop Frameworks for Research and Governance Fred Gould co-PI VIII. Kuzma, J. PI USDA 2013-2014 $39,384 Comparing Public Attitudes Towards Genetically-Modified and Nanotechnology-Based Foods and Labeling (via USDA Food Policy Research Center) C. Yue, co-PI
  • Kuzma, J. PI NSF 2014 $50,000 Science and Technology Policy: Systems Approaches to Research and Practice X. Kuzma J., PI Sloan Foundation 2013-2015 $173,703 Looking Forward to Synthetic Biology Governance: Convergent Research Cases to Promote Policy-Making and Dialogue C. Cummings (coPI)

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  • Alumni Association Outstanding Research Faculty Award and Induction to Research Leadership Academy, NC State University, 2020
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow (elected), 2018
  • Canada Fulbright Research Chair in Policy Sciences, 2017-2018
  • Outstanding Social Scientist Research Award , NC State University, 2019
  • Academy of Excellence in Global Engagement, NC State University, 2019
  • Elected as an Officer of AAAS Section X Societal Implications of STEM, 2018-present
  • Special Recognition for Outstanding Mentoring, NC State University, 2017
  • SRA Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Award, 2014
  • Elected Secretary and Council Member for Society for Risk Analysis, 2014-2016
  • Humphrey School Dean’s Scholar, 2012-2013
  • Best Technical Article GOLD-Minnesota Magazine and Publishing Association, 2010
  • Nominated for APPAM Best Comparative Paper, 2010
  • Institute on the Environment UMN Resident Fellow, 2009-2012
  • Teacher of the Year, Humphrey Institute, 2004

Highlighted Publications

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