Scientific Program Director - Agroecology

Washington D.C.
Salary will be commensurate with experience level.
December 26 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is seeking an exceptional Scientific Program Director (SPD) to provide leadership over research in the area of agroecology and who is expected to provide the program with expertise in environmental sustainability. Knowledge and/or experience in agricultural water management issues a plus.   A successful candidate should have training and/or experience that can be applied to programs that cross multiple FFAR challenge areas.

FFAR supports research programs that are developed in partnership with industry, government, academia and non-profits. FFAR, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, is focused on catalyzing innovation to solve pressing food and agriculture challenges that affect the lives of all Americans. Leveraging public and private resources, FFAR will increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population.

FFAR has six Challenge Areas:

  • Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms
  • Sustainable Water Management
  • Next Generation Crops
  • Advanced Animal Systems
  • Health-Agriculture Nexus
  • Urban Food Systems

The SPD will develop and manage a variety of research programs and work with Foundation staff and multi-stakeholder teams. The SPD will develop programs that can be realized through prize and grant competitions, through the development of consortia, or through direct funding.  A significant part of the position is to identify the gaps and innovation space within FFAR Challenge Areas and translate those opportunities into research programs.  As such, an SPD must be able to network and create relationships with organizations and individuals who work in research areas and/or could become funding partners. 

The SPD will oversee evaluation of applications and proposals; design, promote, and monitor the progress of FFAR funded projects and be responsible for the day-to-day management of specific research initiatives, including managing project meetings, logistics, timelines, budgets, and associated grants and contracts. The SPD will develop and lead scientific conferences and other workshops as necessary to develop consensus on the critical research questions that FFAR and its partners should pursue.

This is a science administration and management position that requires scientific and research knowledge, excellent interpersonal and writing skills, a high level of organization, diplomacy and focus, ability to work under tight deadlines, and familiarity with the agriculture research environment.

Key Responsibilities

  • Developing requests for applications/proposals base on FFAR priorities
  • Developing, and facilitating multi-disciplinary, public-private partnerships
  • Organizing the evaluation of research projects
  • Manage grants and/or contracts to see them through a successful conclusion
  • Coordinating and managing cross-functional scientific or project team meetings
  • Develop and manage budgets and expenses
  • Managing priority setting processes and relationships among diverse scientific and administrative partners from different sectors (government, nonprofits, academia, and/or private industry)

The ideal candidates possess:

  • Deep familiarity with research and scientific issues in FFAR challenge areas, particularly agroecology and sustainable agriculture
  • A graduate degree in a relevant agricultural or related field (doctoral degree preferred)
  • Familiarity with research and grants administration
  • Experience working with the academic, private sectors, and/or the agriculture stakeholder community
  • An ability to discover and cultivate professional relationships and networks to further development of public, private partnerships. 
  • Ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a team.
  • Ability to multitask, including working across multiple complex projects in different agricultural research areas;
  • Ability to learn quickly, and make difficult decisions independently to meet tight deadlines;
  • Attention to detail and strong analytical and organizational skills;
  • Ability to demonstrate tact, diplomacy and initiative when working with others;
  • Ability to communicate complex business and scientific issues succinctly and effectively
  • Highest levels of personal and professional integrity, along with a sense of humor.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs