R&D Engineer/Scientist I (Extended Temporary)

Tucson, AZ
Jun 08, 2021
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
Posting Number:



School of Plant Sciences-Res

Department Website Link:



County Extensions and Farms


37860 W Smith Enke Rd, Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, AZ 85138 USA

Position Highlights:

The field scanner engineer (R&D Engineer/Scientist I) operates and maintains the semi-automated crop scanning system at the Maricopa Agricultural Center. Currently, the field scanner engineer is a key component and primary team member of the OPEN project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E program. As the current project evolves, the field scanner engineer will continue to act as lead, on-site engineer to ensure the operation, maintenance, and performance of the field scanner and supporting systems. Additionally, the incumbent will be expected to participate in weekly meetings and ad-hoc discussions across a diverse, interdisciplinary team to make sure that project goals and objectives are met in a timely manner and that planned field experiments are executed with minimal scanner downtime. Additionally, this position allows for both professional and educational growth possibilities through expansion of duties and responsibilities, and educational benefits, including tuition reduction and educational assistance programs, respectively, towards the pursuit of advanced degrees.

Working closely with the University of Arizona Principal Investigator and other project team members, the field scanner engineer schedules and conducts scanning operations needed to achieve scientific goals determined by project stakeholders. Scanning operations are implemented during day and night hours, and most months of the year. Required duties are generally performed independently, excluding initial assignments and reviews of work. The role is non-supervisory to the extent of providing strategic direction to hourly assistants. The field scanner engineer also ensures that sensor, data flow, or electromechanical hardware system failures are identified in real time, and that corrective actions are identified and taken, in conjunction with the project team and through consultation with component vendors.

This is an Extended Temporary Employment (ETE) position.

Outstanding UA benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance plans; life insurance and disability programs; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; UA/ASU/NAU tuition reduction for the employee and qualified family members; state and optional retirement plans; access to UA recreation and cultural activities; and more!

The University of Arizona has been recognized for our innovative work-life programs. For more information about working at the University of Arizona and relocations services, please click here.

Duties & Responsibilities:

The field scanner is the world’slargest agricultural robot designed for plant phenotyping; the infrastructurecovers an area over two acres. The scanner carries an array of precisionsensors and cameras, including hyperspectral, thermal, and RGB, for gatheringhigh resolution data on experimental plants grown underneath it. To get abetter understanding, please watch this video created by the Wall StreetJournal: https://tinyurl.com/4jfzvwe9


  • Operation of the robotic multi-instrument field crop scanner during scheduled uptime in support of continuous operation
  • Performance of routine safety checks and system maintenance
  • Develop solutions to problems by applying knowledge of engineering technology
  • Develop, upkeep, and ensure availability of documentation
  • Writes specifications for purchase of new equipment and advises on external solutions
  • Coordinate troubleshooting and repair of mechanical, electrical, and computing and networking systems
  • Develop specifications and requisition supplies for engineering projects
  • Collaboration with scientists to coordinate activities that support quality data outputs
  • Coordinates engineering calculations by calculator or computer to solve routine engineering problems
  • Additional duties may apply


  • Knowledge of computer software/hardware technology, including an understanding of integrated systems with imaging technologies interfacing with mechanical, digital and signal processing hardware
  • Knowledge of engineering principles, including an understanding of power and machinery, structures, electrification, and application of engineering technology
  • Knowledge (theoretical and applied) of methods, practices, and principles of mechanical and electrical systems and
  • equipment, including 3-phase power
  • Knowledge (theoretical and applied) of methods, practices, and principles of remote sensing systems
  • Ability to work in multidisciplinary, cross-functional team
  • Ability to prioritize and execute tasks within a highly collaborative environment
  • Ability to resolve critical and single-point failures
  • Ability to manage operating systems and application development languages used in a real-time control system, such as C#, Python, or MATLAB
  • Ability to thrive in early stage technology development with demanding schedules and deliverables
  • Ability to maintain communications with multiple actors using varied means of communication such as email, phone, SMS text message, and other methods
  • Ability to create and interpret technical documentation
  • Ability to analyze operation methods to ensure scientific goals are reached
  • Ability to climb a ladder to a height of 50 feet
  • Frequently lifts and move/transport up to 50 pounds
  • Capable of performing work in a field setting where temperatures can be hot
  • Work around heavy equipment

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in Engineering or related field.
  • Up to 1 year of relevant work experience is required.

Preferred Qualifications:



Full Time/Part Time:

Full Time

Number of Hours Worked per Week:


Job FTE:


Work Calendar:


Job Category:


Benefits Eligible:

Yes - Full Benefits

Rate of Pay:


Compensation Type:

salary at 1.0 full-time equivalency (FTE)



Career Stream and Level:


Job Family:

Research Engineering

Job Function:


Type of criminal background check required::

Name-based criminal background check (non-security sensitive)

Number of Vacancies:


Target Hire Date:


Expected End Date:


Contact Information for Candidates:

For additional information, please contact Dr. Duke Pauli at [email protected]

Open Date:


Open Until Filled:


Documents Needed to Apply:

Resume and Cover Letter

Special Instructions to Applicant:

Diversity Statement:

At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. As an Hispanic-serving institution and a Native American/Alaska Native-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

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