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Jr. Specialist, Nutrient Management Lab Group, Dept of LAWR, UC Davis

Recruitment Period

Open date: October 31st, 2018
Last review date: Sunday, Nov 18, 2018 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: Wednesday, Jul 31, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.



We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual to contribute to applied research projects in agricultural and environmental sciences.

The successful candidate will join the nutrient management lab group in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. The candidate will support our team working on different projects focusing on crop nitrogen uptake and fertilization, as well as soil nitrogen turnover in annual cropping systems in California.


This position has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical and specialized expertise (e.g. with instrumentation and research equipment) in the planning and execution of research activities within applied research projects. The Junior Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Junior Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to supply input into the planning of research and outreach programs. The Junior Specialist main tasks and responsibilities are outlined below.

I. Research (90%)
This Junior Specialist will be involved in research projects focusing on crop nitrogen uptake and removal at harvest as well as nitrogen turnover in soil under field crops and vegetables grown in the Central and Salinas Valleys. This position will be actively and significantly involved in publishable research activities such as data collection, data QA/QC, data entry, data synthesis and analysis. General responsibilities include field work and laboratory analyses on plant and soil samples that will contribute to the lab group's outreach activities and lead to scientific manuscripts. Field work will consist of leading a crew to collect soil and plant samples in commercial fields of participating growers as well as in field trials at UC Davis. The Junior Specialist will process the samples in the laboratory and analyze the soil (methods include ammonium and nitrate concentrations, total carbon and nitrogen, pH, electrical conductivity) and plant samples (methods include total biomass, total fruit biomass, and nitrogen concentration in the different plant parts). The results will be compiled into a database by the Junior Specialist.

The ultimate goal of this study is to provide growers and crop advisors with science-based data on crop nitrogen uptake and removal to help meet regulatory requirements and to support their fertilization decisions and thereby reduce the risk of groundwater contamination with nitrate. The Junior Specialist will either have co-authorship or be credited in the acknowledgement section of published manuscripts, scientific talks, outreach presentations and posters. The Junior Specialist will review reports and manuscripts prior to submission, help write sections that they worked on, such as field data collection and laboratory methods, and will engage in discussions on the interpretation of results. In addition, the Junior Specialist will contribute to annual reports submitted to the funding agency. Furthermore, the Junior Specialist will help analyze soil extracts for other UC scientistsand UCCE farm advisors with whom the lab collaborates with on other projects. If proficient in written Spanish, the successful candidate will help translate existing online nutrient management guidelines for growers and crop advisers into Spanish (

II. Professional Competence (5%)

The Junior Specialist will be encouraged to co-author posters for local scientific conferences, such as the CDFA-Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) Conference or the California Plant and Soil Conference. The Junior Specialist will be encouraged to attend these conferences and local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) meetings with a focus on topics relevant to the project.

III. University and Public Service (5%)
The Junior Specialist will provide mentorship for undergraduate students working in the laboratory.

Summary of Duties/Responsibilities
• Analyze soil and plant samples in the laboratory. Training on the methods used will be provided.
• Collect soil and plant samples in agricultural fields located in California.
• Enter data into spreadsheets. Depending on experience, the junior specialist may also contribute to data analysis and writing reports.
• If proficient in written Spanish, the junior specialist may also help translate existing online nutrient management guidelines into Spanish (


• A Bachelor's degree in Agronomy, Soil Science, or a related field.
[Note: The junior specialist rank is an entry level position, accordingly it is inappropriate to hire applicants with advanced degrees in this field, or those with bachelor’s degrees and three years’ relevant work experience.] (See APM-UCD 330)
• Good communication skills.
• Experience working in a laboratory and in the field.
• Experience in Word and Excel or other appropriate computer programs to organize, summarize and analyze data.
• Valid driver's license.


• Proficiency in written Spanish would be a plus
• Strong organizational skills.
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

SALARY RANGE: Step 1, $39,500.00/annually [100%] plus benefits.

POSITION AVAILABLE/CLOSING DATE: For full consideration, apply by November 18, 2018. Applications received after this date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: Full-time (100%) for 1 year, starting January 2nd, 2019, with the potential to extend up to an additional 12 months upon satisfactory progress.

TO APPLY: To apply, please go to the following link: Applicants should submit cover letter indicating how you meet the minimum and desirable qualifications, your most recent CV and contact information for 2-3 recent references. All letters of recommendation, if requested, will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Documents/materials must be submitted as PDF files.

QUESTIONS: Please direct questions to Daniel Geisseler via email to

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available

UC Davis is a smoke & tobacco-free campus (

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the recruiting department.

Job location

Davis, CA


Document requirements
  • Cover Letter - A cover letter indicating how you meet the minimum and desirable qualifications.

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

Reference requirements
  • 2-3 required (contact information only)