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Jr. Specialist - Gilbert Lab

Position overview

Salary range: A reasonable estimate for this position is $51,300 at Step 1 or $54,600 at Step 2.

Application Window

Open date: October 19, 2023

Most recent review date: Thursday, Nov 16, 2023 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: Tuesday, Oct 8, 2024 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.

Position description

The Gilbert Lab in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of California, Davis is seeking a highly motivated individual to coordinate and conduct greenhouse research projects on a novel waste-derived hydrogel for improving drought resilience on small farms. The selected candidate will be working as part of a multi-institution California Climate Action project and will have the opportunity to collaborate statewide with scholars at the University of California, San Diego and The University of California Cooperative Extension Fresno Small Farms Program. Jr. Specialist studying soils, plants and hydrogels. The successful applicant will work in collaboration with the Gilbert and the Nocco labs on a large climate related project to improve soil water holding capacity using novel hydrogels. The project involves lab and greenhouse work on UC Davis campus, and some field work in Fresno. The successful applicant will run routine experiments on plants growing with hydrogels in lysimeters, collecting plant physiological data to link to soil and hydrogel characteristics. The project will be conducted in a collaborative environment with others on campus, UC ANR and UC San Diego.

Per UCD-APM 330, it is inappropriate to appoint an individual with a Master's or Doctoral degree in the relevant discipline or a baccalaureate degree plus three or more years of experience as a Junior Specialist. Candidates who hold a Masters or Doctoral degree will be disqualified from this search.

The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment) in the planning and execution of a research project. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to supply input into the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception and/or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below.

A. Collaborate with other research and extension personnel affiliated with activities involving research on plant, soil and hydrogel water relations as they will pertain to small, diverse farms in California. Such research includes: operation of greenhouse and lab experimental work on soils with hydrogel additives, planting and maintenance of plants growing in the greenhouse, and routine plant physiology measurements. Evaluation of performance in research activities or in outreach activities as deemed applicable to the individual project in specialized areas, as documented by any of the following:
1) Publications that acknowledge the Specialist's significant and meaningful contribution to the work.
2) Publications on which the Specialist is an author.
3) Other evidence (e.g., letters from collaborators or principal investigators) that work done by the Specialist contributed to publishable research.
4) Active dissemination of information (beyond the boundaries of the campus) through informal instruction, presentations, or other means stemming from the Specialist's research accomplishments.
5) Other evidence of recognized expertise may include formal documentation of intellectual effort and participation in publishable research activities, first authorship on publications/patents, presentation of research at regional/national meetings, invitations to review grant proposals and/or journal articles, invitations to participate in research projects, and/or service on advisory panels.
B. Serve as a research coordinator for research projects conducted by PIs in the department, as resources permit. Responsible for ensuring uninterrupted communication between individual laboratories, data management and preparation of reports tailored to meet the needs of the requesting individual(s) including between collaborators at UC San Diego and UC ANR.
Participate in appropriate professional/technical societies or groups and other educational and research organizations. Such activities include participation in appropriate workshops or seminar series. Depending on interest and availability of funds, the Junior Specialist will have opportunities to present research findings at scientific conferences or meetings.
Participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate. Examples of potential service include optional participation in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committees, staff organizations or Picnic Day organization.

Job requirements:
• Driver’s license
• Transport self between work locations ~1 mile (e.g. walk, scooter or bike)
• Ability to safely lift 50 pounds of soil
• Able to use plant physiological and/or soil physics equipment


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

A. BS degree at time of appointment
B. Experience with spreadsheet software (Excel or Google Sheets)

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

Job requirements:
• Driver’s license
• Transport self between work locations ~1 mile (e.g. walk, scooter or bike)
• Ability to safely lift 50 pounds of soil
• Able to use plant physiological and/or soil physics equipment

Preferred qualifications (other preferred, but not required, qualifications for the position)

C. Knowledge of R Statistical software or be willing to learn to use
D. The incumbent must be a motivated, organized, independently driven individual who is able to work and collaborate with members of the lab in a professional manner.
E. Experience working in a lab/research setting

Application Requirements

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
  • 3-5 letters of reference required
Apply link:

Help contact:

About UC Davis

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We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. 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 UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at:

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Job location

Davis, CA