Associate/Full Professor - Prediction based plant breeding (70056)

Gainesville, FL
Feb 07, 2021
Position Type
Tenured & Tenure-Track
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
Associate/Full Professor - Prediction based plant breeding (70056)

Gainesville, FL
Open Date:
Feb 5, 2021

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is committed to creating an environment that affirms diversity across a variety of dimensions, including ability, class, ethnicity/race, gender identity and expression. We particularly welcome applicants who can contribute to such an environment through their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and professional service. We strongly encourage historically underrepresented groups to apply.

If an accommodation due to a disability is needed to apply for this position, please call 352-392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or visit Accessibility at UF .

Duties and Responsibilities

This senior-level faculty position will provide visionary leadership in prediction–based plant breeding. This is a 9-month tenure-accruing position that will be 30% teaching (College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, CALS) and 70% research (Florida Agricultural Experiment Station), available in the Horticultural Science Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, at the University of Florida (UF). Tenure will accrue in the Department of Horticultural Sciences.

Achieving sustainable agriculture for our nation and the world is a grand challenge of our time. Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics applied to plant breeding has the power to contribute to achieve this goal. Plant breeding is a strength of UF/IFAS waiting to be harnessed. Plant breeders at UF/IFAS, strategically located across the state, improve more than 50 crops for food, feed, fiber, fuel, shelter, landscape beautification, eco-systems services, and a variety of other human activities. The goal of this position is to provide research and teaching leadership in the strategic use of AI and predictive analytics towards plant breeding objectives. The candidate is expected to be highly experienced and develop a strong, extramurally funded program in plant breeding, data science, statistics, genomics, phenomics, and crop modeling. The successful candidate will have a well-developed vision that drives research on how plant biology and AI can work together to achieve new insights that have not previously been possible for specialty crop improvement. Focusing AI on prediction-based plant breeding will propel UF forward to become the global leader in AI-driven crop improvement.

This position on Prediction-based Plant Breeding is part of a cohort of three positions that will advance the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in plant breeding. This cohort is made possible by the UF AI Initiative (see background information) and a gift from NVIDIA that is establishing the most powerful supercomputer in U.S. Higher Education at UF. Additional positions are an assistant-professor position in data science that will focus on Integrated Multi-omics Analysis (Agronomy Department, Main Campus, 70% Research and 30% Teaching); and an assistant professor position in Phenomics for Plant Breeding Applications (Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, stationed at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 80% Research and 20% Extension). These faculty members will have unique opportunities in transdisciplinary, collaborative projects and partnerships with faculty in the UF/IFAS Plant Breeders Working Group, a newly formed interdisciplinary Plant Breeding Graduate Program, and other programs at UF and beyond. The interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in plant breeding is being developed in IFAS. The vision is to build a renowned STEM program, well-aligned with the UF preeminence goals, and with a curriculum that prepares our students to become modern and state-of-the-art plant breeders, which are currently in very short supply.

The successful candidate will also facilitate the education of a future workforce that is needed to achieve food, feed, and fiber security. The new faculty will also participate actively in undergraduate and graduate education by supervising undergraduate research, chairing graduate committees, serving on graduate committees, supervising thesis and dissertation research, and publishing the results with their graduate students.

The successful candidate will engage in scholarly activities, 6 credits equivalent per year, related to instruction, including teaching undergraduate and/or graduate courses, advising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, participating in curriculum revision and enhancement, seeking funding for the teaching program, publishing teaching-related scholarship, producing learning tools, and engaging in professional development activities related to teaching and advising. Faculty are encouraged to support and participate in the CALS Honors Program, distance education, and international education. Specifically, this faculty member is expected to contribute with their AI-based expertise to the new interdisciplinary Plant Breeding Graduate Program by creating and leading one 3 credit course related to the use of AI in plant breeding and contribute an additional 3 credits of teaching effort through development and/or participation in undergraduate or graduate courses in their areas of expertise. Opportunities include contributions to a forthcoming undergraduate AI Fundamentals and Applications Certificate; Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology ( and Plant Breeding ( graduate courses, and Horticultural Sciences undergraduate courses (

All faculty are expected to be supportive of and engaged in the three land grant mission areas—Research, Teaching and Extension. The successful candidate will also engage in Extension activities related to their program area. This assignment may change in accordance with the needs of the unit.

Background Information:

The Horticultural Sciences Department ( at the University of Florida is currently ranked 9th in the world and 2nd in the U.S. The mission of the Horticultural Sciences Department is to conduct research, extension, and teaching to meet the needs and goals of a diverse statewide fruit and vegetable industry that ranges from tropical to temperate environments. These activities support state, national and international horticultural industries and protect natural resources by contributing to the breeding of high-value crops with improved yield and quality; addressing emerging weed, insect, pathogen, and growth regulation challenges; increasing crop diversity; increasing the capacities of organic cropping systems; and enhancing energy conservation and water, fertilizer and other input use efficiencies. Fundamental research and graduate training in plant genetics, genomics, molecular biology, metabolism, and physiology are integral parts of the Department’s activities, and are key strengths on campus, while principles-driven fundamental and applied research and extension programs are the hallmark of statewide efforts on- and off-campus. The department has 35 faculty members located on campus in Gainesville and 26 faculty located at the Research Centers (RECs) throughout the state. These faculty members support a robust teaching programs with more than 70 undergraduate and nearly 100 graduate students enrolled.  The department offers Interdisciplinary graduate training through Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics & Genomics, and the Interdisciplinary Ecology degree programs and is also participating in the launch of an interdepartmental Plant Breeding graduate program to serve the largest number of public plant breeding programs in the nation.

UF AI Initiative. Find yourself at the University of Florida where the most powerful supercomputer in U.S. higher education lives. The University of Florida is building an AI program with both breadth and depth: The depth to produce top Ph.D.’s in AI technology and the breadth to infuse AI into UF’s entire curriculum so that all students, graduate and undergraduate, regardless of their major, develop basic awareness and competence in how AI is transforming their future careers. This will arm every University of Florida student to help Florida build a tech-driven, high-wage economy in fields as diverse as medicine, agriculture, defense, manufacturing, software development, education, business, and more. The impact will be far reaching – the University of Florida student equipped with this knowledge will work independently with AI and data science to create new markets, new technologies, and an increasingly inclusive, ethical and just future.

The University of Florida has committed to hiring 100 AI-focused faculty across the entire university. These faculty are being sought as members of interdisciplinary teams that span multiple colleges, where UF will leverage its existing expertise as well as new faculty to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges.

[email protected]



A doctorate (or foreign equivalent) in plant sciences with specialization in modeling, genomics, statistics, quantitative genetics or a closely related discipline with at least 5 years of experience following completion of the doctorate degree is required.  Candidates should have demonstrated skills in verbal and written communication, ability to collaborate effectively with other researchers, and procurement of extramural funding.  Candidates must be supportive of the mission of the Land-Grant system of research, teaching and extension. Candidates must also have a commitment to IFAS core values of excellence, diversity, global involvement, and accountability. 


Experience in mentoring research students and evidence of effective classroom teaching are preferred. Substantial experience in the application of multiple data inputs for phenotype prediction in a plant breeding context is desired, as are demonstrated experience leading large multidisciplinary projects, ability to collaborate effectively with other researchers, and the to translate basic discovery to application.  

Application Instructions:

For full consideration, candidates should apply and submit additional materials by March 26 2021.  The position will remain open until a viable applicant pool is determined.


Nominations are welcome.  Nominations need to include the complete name and address of the nominee. This information should be sent to:

Please refer to Requisition # 70056

Patricio R Munoz

Chair, Search and Screen Committee

University of Florida

Horticultural Sciences Department

2550 Hull Road

Gainesville, FL 32611

Telephone:                              352-273 4837

Electronic Mail:                      [email protected]

Application Information

Individuals wishing to apply should go online to and submit:

  • Cover letter that states applicant’s interest in the position and qualifications relative to the credentials listed above
  • Research statement and teaching philosophy
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Contact information (including email addresses) for five individuals willing to write letters of recommendation
  • Diversity statement indicating how your previous experiences have prepared you to contribute to an inclusive institutional culture

Selected candidate will be required to provide an official transcript to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” is visible.  Degrees earned from an education institution outside of the United States are required to be evaluated by a professional credentialing service provider approved by National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the US. The University of Florida is a public institution and subject to all requirements under Florida Sunshine and Public Record laws.

The University of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The University and greater Gainesville community enjoy a diversity of cultural events, restaurants, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and social opportunities.


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