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Assistant Specialist - Salinas, CA

Recruitment Period

Open date: April 28th, 2020

Last review date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 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: Friday, Jul 31, 2020 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.


An assistant specialist position is available at Salinas, CA location with the Plant Sciences Department of the University of California, Davis, under the supervision of Steve Fennimore. The incumbent will manage a precision fumigation project for strawberries in conjunction with Frank Martin’s lab in the USDA-ARS facility. The goal of the project is to develop a pest management program for strawberry and rotational vegetable crops. This includes evaluation of fungal pathogen pressure in the soil using molecular techniques prior to strawberry planting and adjusting fumigation rates to reflect disease risk. Remote sensing and precision yield data collection are used to evaluate the efficacy of treatment for disease management and impact on yield. This position will support a large multidisciplinary project with 12 scientists and involve some travel to strawberry production areas in coastal California. The successful candidate will be actively involved in publishable research activities, participate in research planning, implementation, and analysis, with opportunities for co-authorship or acknowledgement in publications.

Our location is in the heart of a $4.4 billion per year agriculture industry, 2 hours south of San Francisco and 40 minutes away from the Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur area.

  1. RESEARCH (90%)
    A. Design, organize, and lead an innovative research program focusing on precision management of soilborne pests in agricultural fields. This will include field trials and laboratory experiments, collecting and analyzing data across several sites in the central and south coastal production areas of California. The emphasis of the project is to make rational use of fumigants by applying them to the spatial areas of the field where most needed, and less where no disease pressure is detected.
    B. Coordinate activities with collaborators from the USDA ARS, Farm Advisors, UC Extension Specialists, collaborators from NASA as well as growers. Research will involve soil sampling and processing, disease quantification, spatial data analysis, sampling of crop yields in strawberry and vegetable crops.
    C. Train, consult with, and advise researchers with respect to design, analysis, and interpretation of scientific studies conducted in area of expertise.
    D. Make substantive scientific, scholarly, and intellectual contributions by writing reports to funding agencies, giving talks and seminars at industry and scientific meetings, and publishing results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
    E. Lead acquisition of funding through proposal writing and coordination with funding agencies including federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations and private companies.

  2. Professional Competence and Activity (5%)
    *Attend seminars on topics related to fields of interest.
    *Participate in training programs to enhance knowledge and skills.

  3. University and Public Service (5%)
    *Lead tours, give presentations, and provide training to visiting scientists, industry representatives, and undergraduate students.

Qualifications: MS in environmental sciences, plant pathology, soil chemistry, soil science, or related fields. Experience with molecular techniques like qPCR, GPS/GIS, analysis of remote sensing data and disease diagnostics is desirable. Ability to effectively communicate research results through oral presentations and written reports and scientific papers.

Term: One-year appointment with the possibility of extension.

Salary: Commensurate with experience. Benefits: medical, dental and vision coverage for the incumbent and immediate family.

2020 Forbes Award: Best Employers for Diversity 2019 Forbes Award: America

Job location

Salinas, CA


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

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)