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Faculty Cluster Hire in SmartFarm Innovation Network

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Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is seeking applicants for tenure track positions  as part of its SmartFarm Innovation Network faculty cluster hire. The cluster hire of 13 new faculty positions will be filled over multiple years within several academic units and Agricultural Research and Extension Centers. Collaborations of these new  hires with existing faculty will enhance interdisciplinary flagship programs at the nexus of digital, biological, social, and physical sciences and engineering with application to agriculture, food, and natural resources. This ambitious vision will create a statewide network of interconnected faculty, partners, and resources for scientific discovery and developing and deploying new technologies. The goal is to increase overall efficiency, resiliency, sustainability, and economic value of food, agriculture production systems, and natural resources and expand Virginia Tech’s global leadership in this rapidly evolving domain.

The first seven positions are advertised here. For more information about each position, click on the links below.

To apply to a job, please visit https://jobs.vt.edu.

Connected Technologies in Agricultural Application (Job No. 512093)

Please note that this is announcement covers two positions.

Position Descriptions:

The School of Plant and Environmental Sciences (SPES) at Virginia Tech seeks to fill two academic year (9-month) tenure-track faculty positions in Connected Technologies in Agricultural Applications at the Assistant Professor rank with responsibilities in research and teaching. The incumbents will conduct research on the application of autonomous, semi -autonomous, robotic, remote sensing, and smart systems in, but not limited to, agronomic crops, specialty crops, or agricultural soil and water systems. Research may include but is not limited to soil water management, nutrient management, weed management, pathogen detection & management, planting and harvesting. The incumbents are expected to work collaboratively across academic units at Virginia Tech and with national or international collaborations. The individuals will cooperatively develop and teach new classes related to connected technologies in agriculture. A Ph.D. in plant science, soil science, engineering, or a closely related discipline is required. Demonstrated experience in the use of connected technologies is required. A commitment to mentoring students, diversity and inclusion is required. To obtain more information and to apply for this position go to [Job #512093 at https://www.jobs.vt.edu]. Review of applications will begin on January 6, 2020 and will continue until the position is filled.

Responsibilities:

The incumbents will develop an internationally recognized program in the use of connected technologies in agricultural systems. The incumbents are expected to obtain extramural funding and publish research in peered-reviewed journals appropriate to the discipline. The incumbents are expected to work cooperatively with other SPES faculty, faculty in other units and programs at Virginia Tech and other universities. The incumbent will be expected to recruit and mentor graduate students and teach classes related to connected technologies in agriculture.

Required Qualifications:

A Ph.D. in plant science, soil science, engineering, or a closely related discipline is required. Experience in the use of connected technologies such as but not limited to autonomous, semi-autonomous, and smart systems, data analytics, or advanced sensing technologies in agriculture is required. A commitment to mentoring students, diversity and inclusion is required.

Preferred Qualifications:

Specific experience with connected technologies in agronomic crops, specialty crops, or soil systems is desirable. A record of publication in the area of connected technologies and grantsmanship are desirable. Teaching experience is desirable.

Salary information:

Commensurate with Experience

Review Date:

January 6, 2020

Horticulture Cropping Systems (Job No. 511926)

Position Description:

The Horticultural Cropping Systems position is a 9-month, tenure track position with equal Research and Extension responsibilities, which will be located at the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center (ESAREC) on the Virginia portion of the Delmarva Peninsula between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean (Virginia’s largest vegetable production region). The position will have academic affiliation and tenure home in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Responsibilities will include developing an externally-funded, innovative, nationally-recognized research and Extension program focused on production optimization through novel management practices and the development and deployment of innovative technologies, as well as fostering the development of new vegetable enterprises. Specific areas of focus could include development of site specific input management, cultural practice suitability, and environmental stewardship. Large acreage vegetable crops of importance in Virginia include potato, tomato, snap bean, broccoli, sweet corn, watermelon, pumpkin and strawberry. Research should be applicable to grower needs and publishable in peer-reviewed journals. Opportunities for international engagement exist and are encouraged.

Required Qualifications:

  • Doctoral degree in horticulture, crop science, agronomy or closely-related field.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to work well with producers, farm consultants, researchers, Extension agents, agribusiness personnel, and government agencies in the development and delivery of educational programs.
  • Experience planning and implementing research.
  • Record of peer-reviewed publication.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Two or more years of post-doctoral training.
  • Successful grantsmanship.
  • Supervisory or team leadership experience.
  • Extension education and publication record.

Applications:

Applications will be accepted online (job #511926). Required application materials include:

  1. Cover letter summarizing qualifications.
  2. Curriculum vitae.
  3. Statement of research and extension interests including a diversity statement (no longer than 3 pages).
  4. Full contact information for four professional references.

All inquiries concerning this position should be directed to the ESAREC Director, Dr. Steve Rideout, srideout@vt.edu. Review of applications will begin on 511926 and will continue until a suitable candidate is selected.

Precision Agriculture Technologies and Data Management (Job No. 511916)

Position Description:

The successful candidate will develop a nationally-recognized research and Extension program in precision agriculture technologies and data management. The tenure home will reside either in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences or the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. The position will be located at the Tidewater AREC in Suffolk, Virgnia. Linkages with colleges and departments outside of CALS and with relevant industry are highly encouraged. Opportunities for international engagement exist and are encouraged.

The Extension Program will provide guidance and training for Virginia’s agricultural producers, county Extension agents, industry and researchers to better manage and optimize crop production efficiencies using data science. Integration of research and Extension programs will enhance development, adoption and utilization of precision agriculture applications and data science to increase agricultural resiliency and sustainability. Examples of applications and technologies include, but are not limited to, remote sensing, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), precision irrigation systems, smart sensor design, computer vision, GPS/GIS data for site specific management, wireless sensor networks, and autonomous/robotic systems in agronomic/horticultural cropping systems. The broad goal is to contribute to a statewide agriculture data and technology network including the main campus at Blacksburg, the various ARECs, and county-level Virginia Cooperative Extension offices to provide the agricultural community of the Commonwealth access to digital information that enhances a new agricultural and natural resources economy.

The successful individual is expected to secure extramural funds to support an integrated Extension and research program. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are required, and the candidate is expected to establish and maintain close working relationships with industry, commodity groups, state agencies, county Extension agents, regional Extension specialists, and other organizations as appropriate. The development of a focused and cohesive research and Extension precision agriculture program that addresses the needs of producers in Virginia and the region and supports the publication of peer-reviewed Extension materials, popular press articles, and refereed scientific articles is required. The successful candidate is also expected to recruit and mentor graduate students.

Required Qualifications:

A doctorate in biological systems engineering, agricultural engineering, mechanical engineering, agronomy or a closely-related field is required.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in precision agriculture research and Extension.
  • Knowledge of current and emerging technologies in precision agriculture.
  • Experience in agronomic and/or horticultural cropping systems.
  • Ability to effectively communicate with industry and producer stakeholders.
  • Demonstration of success in securing extramural funding and publication of research results.
  • If an engineer, maintain a license as a professional engineer or have the ability to obtain a professional engineer license.

Application:

Apply online here using job no. 511916.

Biosensor Engineer (Job No. 512140)

Position Description:

The Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences seeks an exceptionally qualified Assistant Professor of Biosensor Engineering. This faculty member will develop and apply enabling technologies for real-time data collection of biomarkers relevant for animal health, performance, reproduction, behavior, stress, and/or metabolism. The position is an academic year tenure track position with primary appointment in research and secondary appointment in Extension.

The successful candidate will develop a nationally and internationally recognized research program focused on addressing engineering challenges limiting capacity to monitor real-time changes in animal physiology. Research themes may include development, testing, and application of nanomaterials, organic electronics, various types of sensors, and autonomous/intelligent sensor systems. The candidate is additionally expected to establish an Extension and outreach program designed to highlight advances in biosensor engineering to youth, professionals, or other agricultural stakeholder audiences. Outreach and support activities with Extension specialists and agents related to the candidate’s area of interest are also expected. The incumbent should plan to collaborate with researchers across Virginia Tech, including College of Engineering, to link sensors with circuits designed for energy harvesting, wireless power transfer, wireless data transfer, and other emerging technologies. Research and Extension activities will advance the field of animal science by enabling time-series assessment of biomarkers related to animal health, performance, reproduction, behavior, stress, metabolism, and other management-relevant production outcomes as well as environmental stewardship. These data are expected to contribute to data-based decision-making that will improve agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability. The incumbent is expected to garner extramural funding to support the research program. Significant scholarly outputs are expected, such as peer-reviewed research publications, review articles, etc. Recruitment and mentorship of graduate and postdoctoral students are also expected.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech have a long history of strength and collaboration. The successful candidate will also be supported by Virginia Tech’s network of Destination Areas, transdisciplinary communities across the university that are collaboratively working to address complex problems that impact the human condition. This position is expected to contribute to the Data and Decisions Destination Areas, which advances the human condition and society with better decisions through data. It will also contribute to the Global Systems Science Destination Area, which focuses on understanding and finding solutions to critical problems associated with human activity and environmental change. Through these mechanisms, the appointee will have access to a wide-range of resources across campus and Research Institues, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and the 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers located across Virginia. Opportunities for international engagement exist and are encouraged. The Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences will provide a rich application environment for the incumbent, with a collaboration-centric culture and sensor application opportunities stemming across animal species, production systems, and levels of biological organization.

Qualifications:

A doctorate in biological engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, agricultural engineering, material sciences, or a closely-related field is required. The successful candidate should have demonstrated experience with design, development, and fabrication of biosensors. Previous successful collaboration with interdisciplinary teams to address wireless sensor networking and power supply challenges in biosensor systems is highly desirable. The incumbent should also demonstrate capacity to obtain extramural funding in support of her/his program, mentor graduate and undergraduate students and have significant scholarly activities appropriate to the discipline. Identified opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with faculty across Virginia Tech, including the Global Systems Sciences and Data and Decision Sciences Destination Area faculty is highly desirable.

Salary:

The position is a full-time, academic year appointment. Salary is commensurate with education and experience. Virginia Tech offers a comprehensive benefits package.

Date Available:

August 2020

Applications:

Review of applications will begin January 15, 2020 and continue until the position is filled. Candidates must submit online a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statements of research and Extension interests, and the contact information for at least three professional references. Correspondence should be addressed to:

Robin White
Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0306
rrwhite@vt.edu

Tree Fruits/Specialty Crop Pathology (Job No. 511904)

Position Description:

The Tree Fruits/Specialty Crop Pathology position will be located at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Winchester, Virginia. This is a tenure-track Assistant Professor position with equal appointments in research and Extension and a tenure home in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. The successful candidate will develop a nationally-recognized, externally-funded research and Extension program principally focused on managing diseases of apples, peaches and other fruits relevant to Virginia producers, with latitude to pursue other horticultural specialty crop disease research as needs and funding arise. As a contributor to the SmartFarm Innovation Network, the individual will pursue opportunities to contribute knowledge and skills to collaborative research projects addressing relevant aspects of this initiative. Examples might include, but are not limited to: proximal and remote sensing of pathogens and plant bioindicators; development and validation of predictive disease development models; application of contemporary genetics to crop protection (synthetic biology, RNAi-based fungicides, resistance monitoring and management); autonomous or semiautonomous plant management vehicles; DNA-informed germplasm improvement; and the development of post-harvest technologies to suppress microbial decay. The individual will be expected to secure extramural funding, publish in peer-reviewed journals, recruit and mentor graduate and undergraduate students, and actively participate in professional societies. The incumbent will work with Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents and other Extension Specialists to deliver research-based educational programs via contemporary training and teaching materials that will serve relevant fruit industries of Virginia, the region, and nationally.

Required Qualifications:

  • Doctorate in plant pathology or a closely-related discipline at the time of hire.
  • Demonstrated experience in planning and implementing plant disease management research.
  • Record of peer-reviewed publications.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate research-based Extension information effectively (oral and written) to agricultural producers and other stakeholders.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated familiarity with tree fruit protection and production
  • Two or more years of post-doctoral training/experience in relevant field
  • Evidence of successful grantsmanship
  • Demonstrated ability to be an effective supervisor or team leader

Applications:

Applications will be accepted online (job #511904). Required application materials include:

  1. Cover letter summarizing qualifications.
  2. Curriculum vitae.
  3. Statement of current research interests (one-page limit).
  4. Statement of extension education and graduate mentoring philosophy (one-page limit).
  5. Full contact information for four professional references.

All inquiries concerning this position should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Chris Bergh, at cbergh@vt.edu, or (540) 232-6046. Review of applications will begin on December 13, 2019 and will continue until a suitable candidate is selected.

Applied Insect Ecologist (Job No. 511890)

Position Description:

Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is seeking applicants for a tenure track position of Applied Insect Ecologist (Job no.: 511890) as part of its SmartFarm Innovation Network (SFIN) faculty cluster hire. The cluster hire of 13 new faculty positions will be filled over multiple years within several academic units and Agricultural Research and Extension Centers (ARECs). Collaborations of cluster hires and existing faculty will enhance interdisciplinary flagship programs at the nexus of digital, biological, social, and physical sciences and engineering with application to agriculture, food, and natural resources. This ambitious vision will create a statewide network of interconnected faculty, partners, and resources for scientific discovery and developing and deploying new technologies. The goal is to increase overall efficiency, resiliency, sustainability, and economic value of food, agriculture production systems, and natural resources and expand Virginia Tech’s global leadership in this rapidly evolving domain.

This is an Assistant Professor position with equal appointment in research and Extension in the areas of invasive and emerging insect biology and integrated pest management (IPM). The position is located at the Hampton Roads AREC in Virginia Beach, near major ports of entry for the Eastern United States. The successful candidate’s tenure home will be the Department of Entomology on the main campus.

Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will be expected to develop a nationally-recognized, externally-funded research and Extension program on invasive and emerging insect pests impacting the nursery, greenhouse/ floriculture, landscape, and turfgrass industries. Areas of particular interest include, but are not limited to: insect ecology, biological control, population genetics, plant-insect interactions, and vectors of plant pathogens that are linked to the development of IPM strategies/tactics. The selected candidate will serve as a member of a team of scientists pursuing a systems approach to sustainable ornamental and turfgrass health, production and maintenance. The selected candidate will be expected to actively interact with faculty of the SFIN cluster as well as other faculty across the university.

The incumbent will also be expected to work closely with other Extension specialists and agents throughout the Commonwealth to plan, conduct and evaluate educational programs on insect pest biology and management for the nursery, greenhouse/floriculture, landscape, and turfgrass industries in the state. This Extension entomologist will serve clientele statewide through applied research, updating the Pest Management Guides, information delivery, agent in-service training, and development and use of appropriate training/teaching materials.

Increased urbanization and the shipment of nursery stock and sod across the United States as well as from abroad has led to the increased spread of invasive species. Additionally, close proximity to dense human populations places severe constraints on management practices (i.e., insecticide use). These and other emerging constraints and challenges offer great opportunities for an enthusiastic entomologist to develop a productive professional career through discovering, producing, and implementing novel pest management approaches. Preference will be given to individuals with an established track record in invasive and emerging insect research and a demonstrated ability to secure extramural funding and publish in peer-reviewed, high-quality journals. The incumbent is expected to recruit and mentor graduate students.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD in entomology or a closely related discipline
  • Experience in applied entomology
  • Knowledge and experience in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of field experiments and educational programming related to pest management
  • An ability to work with diverse audiences, to communicate effectively (both oral and written), and to function effectively as a team member or leader.

Application:

Applications are accepted online. In addition to completing an on-line application form, the package should include:

  1. A cover letter highlighting the applicant’s qualifications and fit to this position/
  2. A current curriculum vitae.
  3. A two-page statement of research and extension interests and future research plans
  4. Three names and contact information of references who can assess the applicant’s qualifications for this position.

Review of applications will begin on Monday, December 16, 2019 and continue until a suitable candidate is selected. Inquiries concerning the position or application process should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Chuan Hong (chhong2@vt.edu, or (757) 363-3908), Hampton Roads AREC, 1444 Diamond Springs Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23455.

Economics of International Agricultural Development (Job No. 511870)

The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor with a specialization in economics of international agricultural development. The primary appointment is research with a secondary appointment in teaching. It includes a 9-month, academic-year appointment with expectations for funding summer activities through external grants, fee-based workshops, teaching, or other mechanisms.

Research Appointment:

The successful candidate will develop an internationally-recognized, externally-funded research program on the economics of international agricultural and rural development. Program focus areas may include: economic impacts of policies, programs and practices at farm/household and market levels and how farmer behavior mediates impacts; economics of farm and rural household technology adoption; economics of land use and tenure systems, economics of nutrition, food security, and household vulnerability; and economics of sustainability and climate resiliency. The skills employed could include microeconometrics, applications of statistical techniques to integrate remotely sensed data with field-, farm-, and household-level outcomes, and behavioral/experimental methods that use randomized control trials and natural experiments. The incumbent will be expected to collaborate with faculty and graduate students in disciplinary and inter-disciplinary units of the college and university.

Teaching Appointment:

Teaching will be at the graduate and/or undergraduate levels (typically two courses per year). Specific courses will depend on the skills and expertise of the successful candidate, but will broadly focus on the economics of international agricultural development. Recruiting and advising/mentoring graduate students is expected.

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in Agricultural Economics, Applied Economics, or a closely related discipline
  • Coursework/experience in international and/or rural economic development

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Coursework and/or experience in teaching undergraduate or graduate courses in development economics
  • Experience in procuring grants or other external funding for programmatic support
  • Experience using microeconometric methods relevant to large data sets including but not limited to machine learning and spatial analysis
  • Experience with experimental and behavioral methods
  • Fieldwork such as data collection or implementation of field experiments
  • Record of peer-reviewed publications
  • International experience

Department, College, University and Community:

The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics is a growing unit with about 300 undergraduate majors, 40 graduate students and 27 faculty members. The Department is administratively located in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences which has about 3,200 undergraduate students and 600 graduate students in 10 academic units. The Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension, also administratively located within the college, deliver research-based information to the Commonwealth of Virginia through county/city extension offices, 4-H educational centers, and Agricultural Research and Extension Centers. Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, VA with a full-time student population of 33,000+ students. Blacksburg is nestled in the heart of the New River Valley, close to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail, and was recently ranked by Businessweek as the best place in the U.S. to raise kids, and by Forbes as one of the top 25 places in the U.S. to retire.

The Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech offers unique opportunities for developing applied research and outreach programs that have meaningful impacts on decision makers. The Department offers undergraduate programs in agribusiness and applied economic management. The Department has close collaborations with other units within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other units on campus.

Application Procedure:

Applicants are asked to complete an online faculty application (position #511870) and submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, official copies of academic transcripts, a statement of research interests, and a statement of teaching philosophy. Applicants should list three referees and their contact information in the letter of application. Review of applications will begin by December 15, 2019, and will continue until a suitable candidate is selected. The search committee will conduct screening interviews at the ASSA Annual meetings in San Diego during January 3-5 and during the subsequent weeks via Skype.

Direct questions about this position to Jeff Alwang, Search Committee Chair:
Phone: (540) 231-6517
Address: 215-I Hutcheson Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0401
Email: alwangj@vt.edu

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

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