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Climate Change, Agriculture and Adaptation Science - Assistant Specialist

Recruitment Period

Open date: June 24th, 2020

Next review date: Friday, Jul 24, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, Jul 24, 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.


California is a world leader in the production and export of agricultural products from specialty crops, but global climate change is challenging this. The state’s specialty crop producers are in need of planning and decision-making resources to mitigate risks to production imposed by projected changes in climate, such as loss of winter chill-hours, extreme heat events and increasingly scarce water resources. The John Muir Institute of the Environment at UC Davis and the USDA California Climate Hub in partnership with University of California Agricultural and Natural Resouces and UC Merced are hiring an Assistant Specialist to support efforts to develop and make available climate adaptation resources to producers of California specialty crops. This is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary position that requires productive collaborations with UC Merced and other UC campuses, the USDA California Climate Hub, multiple state and federal agencies, and various agriculture production and technical assistance clientele across the state.

The position of Assistant Specialist has a broad focus in the specialized area of agriculture and climate adaptation science. The Assistant Specialist will provide technical expertise in synthesizing, planning, and execution of projects that support climate adaptation science for agriculture in California. The Specialist must keep apprised of emerging issues and maintains technical competence in the designed areas of agriculture, climate change, climate adaptation and mitigation. The specialist will lead efforts to strategically synthesize existing information related to agricultural impacts of climate change, effective agricultural adaptation and mitigation, and other climate-based tools and resources that support sustainable agriculture choices, into easy to use outreach resources and peer-reviewed resources. The Specialist will be expected to facilitate and/or coordinate activities, develop science communication outputs and products, and support outreach and extension efforts related to climate-enabling decisions that support California agriculture production. Within this defined area and when appropriate the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues, and supply input into the planning of research and educational programs at the intersection of agriculture and climate adaptation science.

The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below.
I. Research in Specialized Area (80% Effort)
The successful candidate will work with a diverse team of researchers and stakeholders at the USDA California Climate Hub, USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA-NRCS, UC Davis, UC Merced, California Department of Food and Agriculture and other relevant agencies and stakeholders to 1) Assess the needs of agricultural stakeholders for commodity based climate adaption resources and information; 2) develop a resource workbook focused on climate change adaptation strategies, approaches and practices for California agricultural producers and extension specialists, and 3) provide management, coordination and organizational support for other, on-going and closely related projects related to decision support tools and products for agriculture.

II. Professional Competence and Activity (15% Effort)
Organize and facilitate listening and round table sessions with stakeholders around perceived impacts from climate change, general resource and information needs and barriers to the application of climate adaptation practices. Generate and disseminate on-line surveys to solicit the aforementioned information and publish need assessment outcomes in scholarly journals that are most relevant to agricultural stakeholders. Review and synthesize region-specific information on climate change effects on agriculture (specialty crops) and adaptation strategies in agriculture in language that is accessible to multiple, non-academic users. Develop instructional materials for use in climate adaptation planning and decision-making activities. Working in close collaboration with experts and agricultural stakeholders (e.g., producers, extension specialists, researchers, agency representatives) throughout the process to ensure the final product meets diverse needs and is well-publicized. Convening and coordinating an expert panel to review all materials prior to publication will be required. The Specialist will maintain a program of continuous self-improvement by participating in in-service training, seminars, workshops, work group and program team meetings, short courses, professional society meetings and other relevant opportunities.
III. University and Public Service (5% Effort)
Participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate.

-MS in agriculture, horticulture, biometeorology, environmental science, ecology or plant sciences or closely related field.
-Understanding of California agriculture, climate impacts to agriculture, and some appreciation for the diversity of agricultural throughout the state.

  • Familiarity with agriculture management frameworks and investments, including but not limited to state and federal policy, programs, and incentives such as those managed by NRCS, CDFA, etc. -Demonstrated experience coordinating meetings, group phone calls, workshops, conferences. -Experience and ability to facilitate groups of stakeholders, resource managers and scientists around sometimes contentious ecological or environmental topics.
  • Experience and demonstrated competencies with developing science-based translational materials for technical assistance providers or similar clientele that support agriculture stakeholders.
  • Experience developing and disseminating web-based newsletters, organizing webinars and workshops

-Practical experience in science related program management and or project coordination.
-Practical experience and knowledge in computing, web-based tool and/or code development for agricultural management applications is a valuable asset.
-Practical experience in qualitative and quantitative need assessments of stakeholders on topics closely related to climate and agriculture .

The USDA California Climate Hub at the John Muir Institute of the Environment University of California, Davis,

To apply upload a cover letter, current resume or curriculum vitae and a statement of contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion along with 3 reference names.

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Job location

Davis, Ca

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More information about this recruitment:


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

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)

  • 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
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)