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Jr. Specialist, with the Environmental Soil Chemistry Lab, Dept of LAWR, UC Davis

Recruitment Period

Open date: July 31st, 2019
Last review date: Friday, Aug 16, 2019 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: Monday, Sep 30, 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, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic individual to contribute to applied research projects in agricultural and environmental sciences beginning in September of 2019.

The successful candidate will join the Environmental Soil Chemistry Lab in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis. The candidate will support our team working on various phases of a project related to the use of biochar in California cropping systems and its potential to improve fertilizer use efficiency and influence soil nutrient dynamics.


The successful candidate will be actively and significantly involved in publishable research activities such as data collection, data QA/QC, data entry, and data synthesis and analysis. General responsibilities include field work, especially in fall and spring, and ongoing laboratory analyses of plant and soil samples. This work will contribute to lab outreach activities and scientific manuscripts. Field work will consist of leading a crew to collect soil and plant samples in processing tomato trials in Parlier, CA, and at UC Davis. The Junior Specialist will process and analyze the soil and plant samples in the laboratory. Training on the methods used will be provided. The results will be compiled into a database by the Junior Specialist.

The ultimate goal of this study is to provide growers and policymakers with science-based data on the effect of biochar on soil and crop nutrient dynamics in multiple climates and soil types. 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 relevant sections, and stay engaged in discussions on the interpretation of results.

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. The Junior Specialist main tasks and responsibilities are outlined below.


I. Research in specialized areas (90%)
65% Lab Analysis
• Process soil and plant samples (grind, weigh, sieve, archive)
• Conduct soil and plant nutrient analyses (total C and N)

• Conduct standard soil analyses (ammonium and nitrate, pH, EC, etc.)
• Help maintain a safe, clean, and organized laboratory environment

• Data entry and management

25% Field Work
• Assist with soil coring and sampling in agricultural fields
• Assist with plant sample collection in tomato trials
• Assist ongoing projects by taking field measurements

II. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)
The Junior Specialist will be required to attend and engage in bimonthly lab meetings, and expected to attend local scientific meetings and conferences with a focus on topics relevant to the projects. Participate in presenting research findings at professional meetings and other stakeholder meetings.

III. University and Public Service (5%)
The candidate will provide mentorship to undergraduate students working in the laboratory where appropriate.


• A bachelor’s degree in agricultural or environmental sciences or related field, with interest in soil science, plant science, and/or agronomy
[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)
• Valid California driver’s license
• Demonstrated computer skills in word processing, data analysis, and statistical software: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
• Willingness and interest to learn new field and lab techniques and to work in an applied setting
• Experience conducting active field work and research
• Willing to work in variable and sometimes adverse weather conditions outdoors for extended periods of time
• Demonstrated laboratory skills with standard soil analytical methods
• Experience communicating and working as part of a team
• Strong organizational skills
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team

SALARY RANGE: Step I - $39,500 annually [100%] plus benefits.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: Full-time (100%) for 1 year, with possible renewal based on performance and availability of funds.

JOB LOCATION: Plant and Environmental Science Building -- UC Davis, Davis, CA.

TO APPLY: To apply, please go to the following link: Applicants should submit the following:

  1. Cover letter outlining your interest in the position as well as your experience relevant to this position (please include a diversity statement,
  2. Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  3. Transcripts and
  4. References: contact information for 2-4 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 Dani Gelardi 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

2019 Forbes Award: Best Employers for Diversity 2019 Forbes Award: America

Job location

Davis, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae (Resume) - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter - outlining your interest in the position as well as your experience relevant to this position

  • Transcripts (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 2-4 required (contact information only)