Jr. Specialist for Groundwater and Water Management Labs

University of California-Davis

Davis, CA, US



The Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at the University of California is seeking a highly motivated individual to coordinate and conduct agricultural field research projects from state and federal funded programs.

We’re seeking an agricultural scientist, environmental engineer, hydrologist or other related background to join our research team studying alternative water and nitrogen (N) management systems in order to reduce nitrate (NO3-) leaching from agriculture into groundwater. The team is working on understanding and mitigating mobilization of reactive forms of N (NO3- , NH4+) from fertilizer N applications as well as practices that facilitate water and N conservation in a nut crop orchard and a processing tomato rotation field. This position will help answer questions posed by some of California Agriculture’s biggest players including state regulatory agencies and private industry organizations. A primary focus of the project is in developing innovative methods for progressive farmers to manage N and water in the most environmentally benign manner while fostering economic sustainable yields. The Jr. Specialist will be instructed in the use of state of the art methods for hydrologic monitoring and water and N application, operation of a wide range of instrumentation used in field scale hydrologic science (vadose zone and groundwater), plant physiology and boundary layer meteorology. The successful candidate must have an interest in participating as a team member in a multidisciplinary project, and to travel to research sites three to four days a week, on sometimes short notice.


Under the supervision of Drs. Thomas Harter, Isaya Kisekka, and Iael Raij-Hoffman, the Junior Specialist will perform the following duties.

I. Research (90%)
• Collect data from field experiments (data-loggers, sampling).
• Fabricate and maintain instrumentation for field experiments
• Manage safety needs of staff in the field and when using heavy equipment
• Ability to make independent decisions when collecting and processing data
• Execute innovative field and laboratory experimental design and methods
• Organize and present data to project managers
• Assist with quarterly reports as well as dissemination of results
• Use UC Pre-purchasing systems to procure parts and supplies for lab and experiments
• Participation in regular lab meetings
• Organize meetings and facilitate information flow between P.I.s for multi-departmental projects
• Exercise independent judgment in organizing, coordinating and distributing work to staff
• Establish and maintain relations between owner of project site and researchers
• Regular and fluent communication with the PI and graduate students
• Review research proposals, journal manuscripts, and publications related to area of expertise.
• Contribution to scholarly scientific manuscripts from the lab, by writing methods, creating figures and performing statistical analyses on the data collected

II. Professional Competence (5%)

The Junior Specialist will be encouraged to attend and present at regular laboratory group meetings, attend seminars at the university, and local scientific and extension meetings to present data. Examples of meetings where the candidate would present are: Fertilizer Research and Education Project annual meeting, the California Plant and Soil annual conference, the annual meetings of the American Geophysical Union and the Soil Science Society of America and specific industry meetings such as the Almond Board annual meeting and the California Tomato Research Institute annual meeting.

III. University and Public Service (5%)
The Junior Specialist will mentor undergraduate lab assistants working in the lab.

• A Bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, engineering, hydrology or other related background or a related field [must have degree by the time of the appointment].
[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)
• At least 1 year of experience in performing agricultural related field work.

• Agricultural farming operations.
• Equipment procurement systems.
• Keep and maintain inventory of supplies.
• Communicate orally and in writing.
• Standard/safe laboratory and field practices.
• Standard protocols regarding safely working in an agricultural environment.
• Data management

• Concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
• Enter and record data in compliance with Good Laboratory Practice guidelines.
• Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.
• Work with diverse teams/growers.
• Be able to troubleshoot and make new decisions during changing conditions.

• Working long hours in extreme weather conditions.
• Travel away from home for periods of time, ex: Modesto,CA
• Handling and moving heavy items and equipment.
• Be able to lift 80 pounds to chest height.
• Ergonomic hazards including heavy lifting, repetitive motions, awkward motions, crushing or pinching injuries etc.
• Exposure to agricultural herbicides and pesticides.
• Exposure to hazardous laboratory chemicals.
• Climb ladders to work on top of machinery and with equipment in tight, confined areas.


• Must have a valid driver’s license and be able to operate motor vehicles.

SALARY RANGE: Step 1, $42,300.00/annually [100%] plus benefits.

POSITION AVAILABLE/CLOSING DATE: For full consideration, apply by July 15, 2020. Applications received after this date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

TERM OF APPOINTMENT: Full-time (100%) for 1 year, starting August 17, 2020, with the potential to extend up to an additional 12 months upon satisfactory progress.

TO APPLY: To apply, please go to the following link: https://recruit.ucdavis.edu/JPF03639. Applicants should submit cover letter indicating how you meet the minimum and desirable qualifications, your most recent CV and contact information for 2-3 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 Iael Raij-Hoffman via email to [email protected].

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 http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify.

UC Davis is a smoke & tobacco-free campus (http://breathefree.ucdavis.edu/).

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact the recruiting department.





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