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Project Scientist - Nitrogen and Irrigation Education UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center (KARE) 22-54

Date Posted: December 13, 2022
Closing Date: December 19, 2022

Job Description: Download

The University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) offers a unique recruitment opportunity for a Nitrogen and Irrigation Education Project Scientist.  UC ANR operates a statewide network of researchers, educators and support staff dedicated to the development and application of knowledge to address local agricultural, environmental and (community)health issues. Research, outreach and education from locally based CE offices serves all 58 counties from 70+ locations throughout the state. By working and living among those we serve, UC ANR expands the University of California’s reach to engage all people and communities in California, ensuring equal access to the UC System.

Location Headquarters:  Kearney Research and Extension Center, Parlier, CA


The Project Scientist will carry out research and extension education and make significant and creative contributions to nitrogen and irrigation education in California’s nitrate impacted regions with a focus in the Central Valley and Central Coast.  The appointee will design and conduct education and outreach projects focused on nitrogen management as affected by irrigation practices, salinity, and other factors.  They will have the responsibility for conducting outreach activities as well as supervision of six Staff Research Associates located in the Central Valley and the Central Coast.

The appointee is expected to work with UC ANR academics and design and implement a series of outreach events (webinars, field days, workshops) to provide information about irrigation and nitrogen regulations, management practices to improve efficiency, cost-sharing programs available, and other resources. The appointee is expected to work directly with growers to assess grower needs and identify areas where irrigation and/or nitrogen management can be improved, based on data reported and grower experience.

This position requires creative contributions to and collaborative development of an active outreach and research program in nitrogen and water use efficiency and the related interface of agricultural, economic, and ecological aspects of major crops in both regions. The appointee is not required to develop an independent outreach or research program but will work with UC ANR academics, CDFA, and other stakeholders.

The project scientist is expected to develop and implement applied research programs to provide science-based information addressing irrigation and nitrogen management. The research is expected to be applied research, aimed at understanding, and solving the wide range of problems related to irrigation and nitrogen management in the central valley and central coast. The project scientist is expected to work in concert with the CE Irrigation Water Management Specialist at KARE and a team of CE advisors and CE specialists. The appointee is required to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and other outlets as appropriate in collaboration with the Principal Investigator and/or other members of the research team. 

In addition to supervision of six Staff Research Associates, the candidate may supervise students or technicians regarding the technical aspects of the outreach and research, including methods development, trouble-shooting problems, interpreting results and planning follow-up experiments.

The appointee will assist in acquiring proposals for funding from federal and state agencies and other funding organizations. The appointee will prepare and assist in the preparation of reports as required by granting agencies. The appointee will interact with funding agencies and prepare modifications of budgets and other grant components as needed.

Reporting Relationship: The Project Scientist is administratively responsible to the Irrigation Water Management CE Specialist at UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center with input from the UC ANR Director of the California Institute for Water Resources.

Qualifications and Skills Required 

Required Qualifications

  • An earned Ph.D. in agricultural engineering, irrigation, agronomy, crop sciences or closely related field is required at the time of appointment.
  • Working knowledge of irrigation and nutrient management systems.
  • Strong statistical and quantitative skills.
  • Experience in experimental design, managing field research and leading field crews in research implementation.
  • Experience publishing peer-reviewed research in high impact journals.
  • Expectation to be available to work onsite on any day.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience with proposal development and familiarity with project planning and assessment tools and strategies.
  • Experience in conducting outreach activities and working with growers.

Skills Required:   To be successful, a Project Scientist requires skills in the following:

Technical Competence and Impact

  • Designing and implementing field research including, but not limited to, field trails on yield and water quality in commercial production systems under different irrigation regimes, laboratory measurements of soil physical properties and other characteristics.
  • Modelling crop growth and development in relationship to crop water use and nutrient management.
  • Analyzing data and publishing manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals as well as in non-technical formats.


  • Demonstrated excellence in written, oral, interpersonal and information technology communication skills.
  • Skills to communicate and extend technical information to diverse audiences are required.
  • Participation in professional societies and conferences and ability to give presentations at seminars and continuing education functions.

Collaboration, Teamwork and Flexibility

  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as a team member with others.
  • Conduct extension education and outreach to nitrogen and irrigation management.
  • Develop partnerships with managers and policy makers to resolve issues associated with long-term farmland and ranch sustainability and conservation.
  • Able to adapt as circumstances warranted. Promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Lifelong Learning

Demonstrated commitment to ongoing self-improvement - both professionally and as a person.

About UC ANR

The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) consists of a network of scientists and educators working in partnership across the California. We are committed to developing and supporting healthy food systems, healthy environments, healthy communities, and healthy Californians. UC ANR administers UC Cooperative Extension UCCE), which is responsible for program development and delivery in the counties throughout the state of California.

Learn more about

Salary & Benefits

SALARYBeginning salary will be in the Assistant Project Scientist Rank up to Associate Project Scientist Step 1.   For information regarding the Project series salary scales, please refer to: https://www.ucop.edu/academic-personnel-programs/_files/2022-23/july-2022-salary-scales/t37-a.pdf

 This is a non-represented position.

The Assistant/Associate Project Scientist position is a definite term appointment.  The position is a one-year renewable term appointment (up to 3 years total) with a merit cycle every two years.  The performance in the position will be evaluated annually.  The position will be extended based on performance and availability of funding.

Benefits: The University of California offers comprehensive benefits including health insurance, retirement plans, two days per month paid vacation, one day per month paid sick leave, and approximately thirteen paid holidays per year. For more information, refer to the UC Benefits website at: https://ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/compensation-and-benefits/index.html

How to Apply

If interested in this position, please visit: https://recruit.ucanr.edu/ and choose “applicants” (refer to position #22-54)

Closing Date: To assure full consideration, application packets must be received by December 19, 2022.


Contact Tatiana Avoce; tavoce@ucanr.edu


Applicants may wish to explore the UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars web page at https://siss.ucdavis.edu and the UC ANR Green Card Sponsorship Guidelines & FAQ's for reference.

University of California Cooperative Extension

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy.  All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline.   New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines.  (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.)  Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements

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, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

As of January 1, 2014, ANR is a smoke- and tobacco-free environment in which smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco products, and the use of unregulated nicotine products (e-cigarettes), is strictly prohibited.