Executive Director - NC Plant Sciences Initiative

Job description

Posting Details

Vacancy TypeSAAO Tier IIIs Internal Transfer OnlyNoWorking TitleExecutive Director - NC Plant Sciences InitiativeSalary RangeAnticipated Hiring RangeCommensurate with ExperiencePosition Number00105932Work Schedule8am - 5am / Monday - Friday (some nights and weekend required)Full Time Equivalent (FTE)1.0Department110301 - Administration - Research ServDepartmentAdministration - Research ServJob City & StateRaleigh, NCPrimary Function of Organizational Unit

The North Carolina Agricultural Research Service (NCARS) is fully integrated with the academic programs and cooperative extension functions in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Our mandate is to support the citizens of North Carolina through research that has a positive impact on their lives; but our goal is to conduct that research in a manner that extends the benefits beyond our borders, to the citizens of the nation and the world.

The Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI) is an ambitious and visionary effort to employ a collaborative, interdisciplinary systems approach to solve the grand challenges in agriculture.

Complex challenges demand creative solutions. With a rapidly growing population, less available farmland, climate and water shifts, emerging crop diseases and pests, modern agriculture is challenged to meet food security demands. The recently-formed NC Plant Sciences Initiative (NC PSI) strives to address these local and global challenges.

Building on this momentum, and with a forward-looking vision to be the premier destination for plant sciences in the world by leveraging North Carolina’s unique assets, NC State has launched the NC Plant Sciences Initiative to support wide-ranging research by creating an environment and culture in which such research and development can thrive through the convergence of interdisciplinary collaborations. This new research and application ecosystem will combine world-class assets from across a wide spectrum of disciplines including plant sciences, engineering, economics, modeling, and data analytics.

North Carolina has one of the nation’s most diverse agricultural sectors, with the industry contributing $91 billion annually (and growing) to the state’s economy across 90+ commodities. The NC PSI will have local impact and global reach through collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to discovery research and innovation by focusing on the three platforms of plant improvement, data-driven agbioscience, and resilient agricultural systems. With a $160 million state-of-the-art building slated for completion in 2021, along with a large influx of dynamic new faculty across the University (including over 100 new faculty in the college), NC State will possess all of the components to fully realize a world-class research institute.

The NC PSI seeks to solve major agriculture and plant sciences challenges and fully embrace the University’s strategic plan by:

  • Creating a thriving community of partnerships and networks that push the frontiers of science and technology.
  • Encouraging flexibility, natural evolution, and transformative disruption of technology through a mixed-model approach from discovery to commercialization.
  • Creating new opportunities for convergence science through innovative internal/external funding models.
  • Providing interdisciplinary training of the future workforce – the next generation of business and research leaders.
Essential Job Duties

The Executive Director – NC Plant Services Initiative position, based in Raleigh, NC will provide strategic leadership for the NC Plant Sciences Initiative and team with NC State leadership and key stakeholders to establish long-range goals, strategies, partnerships and plans to make the NC PSI the premier destination for plant sciences. Within this leadership role, the Executive Director will have the ability to establish new basic and applied research partnerships and chart the future course of plant science research that will have far-reaching impact on both local and global needs. The Executive Director will hold a tenured, full professor faculty position in an appropriate academic department.

Due to the fact that the NC PSI transcends traditional college boundaries, the Executive Director will report jointly to the Dean of NC State’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the Internal Management Committee (comprised of high- level University administrators). The Executive Director will be expected to set aggressive research goals and establish an effective outreach program for knowledge dissemination, and enhanced student learning. This position will also focus on building interdisciplinary teams to solve the grand global challenges of agriculture and plant sciences, forming partnerships among industry, government, and academia, and creating unique experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as other early career researchers.

Major responsibilities of the Executive Director – NC PSI include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop and lead the NC PSI’s strategic and technical vision. Develop the PSI’s national and international profile by building a dynamic community of world-class researchers, including faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and students.
  • Provide a coherent vision for collaborative research through effective leadership across the University and throughout the state and partnerships with the private/public sectors – statewide, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Foster and support interdisciplinary research, innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.
  • Advise and evaluate the impact of NC PSI strategies, programs, and economic development initiatives. Engage with a broad group of internal and external stakeholders on NC PSI research initiatives and subsequent economic benefits to communicate its impact and relevance.
  • Ensure financial health and sustainability of the initiative by increasing internal and external research opportunities for faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.
  • Direct and manage resources to ensure success of the overall operation and effectiveness of the NC PSI. Oversee fundraising and growing endowments to ensure long term sustainability of the NC PSI.
  • Attract, retain, and develop faculty who will promote academic and research excellence within the NC PSI.
  • Assess gaps and needs of the NC PSI and seek solutions that will strengthen the initiative.

Position contingent upon final approvals from UNC System Office.

Other Work/Responsibilities

More information on the Executive Director role, its responsibilities, and the desired candidate profile may be found at www.krsearch.com/NC-Plant-Science-Initiative.

Minimum Education/Experience

PhD in a discipline relevant to plant sciences.

Minimum of three years of expertise in plant science research and commercialization, either within academia, industry, and/or government.

Prior leadership at a significant science-oriented or technology-oriented organization in academia, industry, government, or the nonprofit sector.

Proven track record in organizational team building. Experience and a commitment to advancing nontraditional interdisciplinary team science approaches and training.

Commitment to build an organization that will solve global grand challenges relevant to plant science research, and to realize the translation of discovery into commercial products, technologies, and solutions.

Gravitas, credentials, and leadership ability required to lead a world-class organization comprising world-class scientists and leading industry researchers while being responsive to key stakeholder input.

Departmental Required Skills

Visionary scientist who possesses a true passion for building a world-class plant science institute and is willing to take risks to achieve that vision.

Leader who will fully embrace the continuum of basic, applied, and translational research, as well as commercial research partnerships, technology transfer activities, and the internal incubation of new business ventures based upon NC PSI research innovations.

Conviction to addressing agricultural issues relevant to local and global stakeholders.

Demonstrated talent for constructive critical thinking, creative problem solving and risk assessment.

Talent for managing, motivating, developing, connecting, coaching, and mentoring people.

Clear, consistent, and effective communication (written, presentation and verbal) of complex ideas to a wide diversity of audiences. Has a passion for educating and inspiring excitement in people about science.

Confidence, assertiveness, initiative, sound judgment, and a straightforward tenor to interpersonal relationships. High level of integrity, flexibility, and energy.

Experience that would qualify the candidate for academic rank at the level of tenured full professor.

Preferred Experience, Skills, Training/Education

Five years or greater of relevant experience.

Seeking a prominent, well-recognized plant scientist with demonstrated management and integrative leadership skills, who is a collaborative leader with a track record of exceptional scientific results.

Required License or Certification


Special Instructions

More information on the Executive Director role, its responsibilities, and the desired candidate profile may be found at www.krsearch.com/NC-Plant-Science-Initiative.

For confidential consideration as a candidate or to suggest a prospective candidate, please contact Heiri Gugger or Jon Leafstedt with Kincannon & Reed at [email protected]

ABOUT KINCANNON & REED: Kincannon & Reed is the only global retained executive search firm focused exclusively on the food and agriculture value chain. Founded in 1981, the firm serves clients throughout the world from locations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. Kincannon & Reed’s motto is “We recruit leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy.” For more information, visit www.krsearch.com.

Job Open Date09/06/2019Anticipated Closing Date09/19/2019Is this position partially or fully funded on ARRA stimulus monies?NoProposed Hire Date11/01/2019AA/EOE

NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

If you have general questions about the application process, you may contact Human Resources at (919) 515-2135 or [email protected] Individuals with disabilities requiring disability-related accommodations in the application and interview process, please call 919-515-3148.

Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree equivalency verified at www.wes.org or equivalent service. Degree(s) must be obtained prior to start date in order to meet qualifications and receive credit.

NC State University participates in E-Verify. Federal law requires all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States.

Supplemental Question

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * How did you learn of this opportunity?
    • NCSU Website
    • NCSU Executive Search Services
    • Monster.com
    • CareerBuilder.com
    • InsideHigherEd.com
    • HigherEdJobs.com
    • Other Online Job Board
    • Carolina Job Finder / Employment Guide
    • Job / Career Fair
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Professional Journal
    • Print Advertisement (Newspaper / Periodical)
    • Professional Organization
    • Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC)
    • Direct Contact from NCSU HR Representative / Recruiter
    • NCSU Employee Referral
    • Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Other)
    • Other
  2. If you learned about this vacancy from "other source" or "other website", please provide the source.

    (Open Ended Question)

Application Materials RequiredRequired Documents
  1. Resume/CV
Optional Documents




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    Job No:
    Posted: 9/7/2019
    Application Due: 9/5/2020
    Work Type: