Senior Research Specialist - Department of Crop Sciences (134585)

Job description


Senior Research Specialist
Crop Sciences
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign


Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people in the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.

The Department of Crop Sciences within the College of Consumer, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences offers world-class laboratory, greenhouse, and field research facilities as well as state of the art teaching facilities. The University of Illinois also offers outstanding facilities in computing, data science, and genomic analysis as well as many other areas of potential support.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

Conduct and coordinate applied research on small grains breeding and genetics


Process and people management

  • Manage, document, and optimize technical processes used to carry out research on small grains breeding.
  • Accurately forecast labor needs required to support applied research projects and hire hourly employees as appropriate.
  • Train and manage a team of hourly employees.
  • Coordinate with other research specialists, graduate students, and faculty to facilitate the technical aspects of multiple ongoing research projects.
  • Act as a liaison between external collaborators, stakeholders, and service providers.
  • Provide technical advice to students and staff engaged in applied small grains research.

Field experiment management

  • Conduct and coordinate small grains breeding and research experiments across multiple field sites, ensuring appropriate agronomic management and experimental error control.
  • Manage and oversee preparations for planting.
  • Organize and carry out planting and harvest of small grain research plots.
  • Coordinate and manage disease resistance evaluation nurseries including the production and maintenance of pest and disease inoculum.
  • Ensure field research equipment and supplies are adequate and updated.

Data collection and management

  • Implement electronic data collection methods to collect quantitative and qualitative data on research plots.
  • Manage and organize large amounts of research data and trial information electronically using breeding data management software.
  • Implement barcode data management systems to electronically track seed inventory and grain samples.
  • Operate specialized phenotyping equipment including drones and sensors.

Breeding population development

  • Conduct controlled pollinations between breeding materials to initiate new breeding populations.
  • Contribute to developing breeding materials via rapid generation advancement in the greenhouse


Required: B.S. in biology, genetics, agricultural science, engineering or related field

Preferred: Masters or PhD in plant breeding or related field


Required: At least 5 years of work experience in an applied research program. Supervisory experience

Preferred: At least 7 years of work experience in an applied research program. At least 2 years of experience working on small grains breeding.

Possession of, or an ability to obtain an Illinois driver’s license and Illinois Public/Research Pesticide Applicator’s License

Required: Extensive knowledge of plant breeding methods and procedures, knowledge of and willingness to learn new technologies and software. Ability to troubleshoot and foresee problems and improve processes. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Knowledge of safety policies and ability to maintain a safe work environment. Ability to work independently as well as effectively with others.

Work will be conducted in field, greenhouse and laboratory environments for extended periods of time, including nights and weekends; tasks may be tedious and physically demanding; ability to travel to and conduct work at field sites in remote locations during peak season times; some overnight travel may be required.

This is a 12-month, 100% professional position.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience

This position is available as soon as possible after the closing date. Application materials may be reviewed prior to the close date and will continue until the most qualified candidate is identified.

APPLICATION PROCEDURESPlease create your candidate profile at and upload a cover letter indicating your qualifications, resume, and contact information for three professional references by November 17, 2020

All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered. Individuals with diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

For further information regarding application procedures, you may contact Linda Kemplin, [email protected]. You may also visit for additional information.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility

College Name or Administrative Unit:ACES Category:6-Research Title:Senior Research Specialist - Department of Crop Sciences (134585) Open Date:10/06/2020 Close Date:11/17/2020 Organization Name:Crop Sciences




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Job No:
Posted: 10/7/2020
Application Due: 11/17/2020
Work Type: