Assistant Professor of Animal Data Sciences

Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia
Commensurate with Experience
April 27 2021
Organization Type
Job Type

Assistant Professor of Animal Data Sciences
SmartFarm Innovation Network Faculty Cluster Hire (PHASE II)

Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences

Description: Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is seeking applicants for a tenure track faculty position in Animal Data Sciences as part of its Phase II SmartFarm Innovation Network™ faculty cluster hire. Phase II includes a total of seven (7) faculty positions to be filled within several academic units and Agricultural Research and Extension Centers. Collaborations of cluster hires with existing faculty will enhance interdisciplinary flagship programs at the nexus of digital, biological, social, and physical sciences and engineering with application to agriculture, food, and natural resources. The cluster hires will be affiliated with the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture for enhancing interdisciplinary networking. This ambitious vision will create a statewide network of interconnected faculty, partners, and resources for scientific discovery and developing, deploying, and extending new technologies. The goal is to increase overall efficiency, resiliency, sustainability, and economic value of food, agriculture production systems, and natural resources and expand Virginia Tech’s global influence in this rapidly evolving domain.

The Animal Data Sciences position will be located at the Virginia Tech main campus in Blacksburg, with a tenure home in the Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences. This is an academic year tenure-track position with a primary appointment in research and secondary appointment in teaching.

The successful candidate will develop a nationally and internationally recognized research program in digital technologies for livestock, focused on development and implementation of automated phenotyping and monitoring of animals to assist precision livestock farming. Research themes may include developing tools and methodologies for automated high-throughput phenotyping of animal morphological traits, continuous monitoring of animal behaviors, or animal tracking. The candidate is expected to engage in collaborations with faculty in relevant animal science areas where high-throughput data processing can contribute to data-based decision-making to advance precision livestock farming. Global engagement is important as the incumbent’s career advances, and will contribute to the expansion of Virginia Tech’s reputation in this domain.

Significant scholarly outputs are expected, such as peer-reviewed research publications, review articles, etc. Furthermore, substantial contribution to undergraduate education and advising is required as is graduate student and postdoctoral mentoring. The appointee will have access to a wide-range of animal and infrastructure resources across campus, the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and the 11 outlying Agricultural Research and Extension Centers. The Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences will provide a rich application environment for the incumbent, with a collaboration-centric culture and application opportunities stemming across animal species, production systems, and levels of biological organization.

This position is part of the CALS SmartFarm Innovation Network™ Initiative Cluster, and aligns with the Global Systems Science and the Data and Decisions destination areas of Virginia Tech and the agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability areas of CALS.

Required Qualifications: Ph.D. in Animal Sciences, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Information Systems, Statistics, or related fields. Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications: Demonstrated experience in one or more of the following: image processing, big data, data science, machine learning, and the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) to precision livestock farming tools. Previous experience in 1) analyzing image data from depth, thermal, multispectral, or hyperspectral cameras or 2) processing high-dimensional sensor data is desirable. The incumbent should also demonstrate capacity to obtain extramural funding in support of their program, mentor graduate and undergraduate students, and have significant scholarly activities appropriate to the discipline.

Application Process: For full consideration, candidates should apply and submit application materials by June 18, 2021. The position will remain open until a viable applicant pool is determined. Applications should be submitted online at, job number 515800. Applicants are required to upload the following: a cover letter, curricula vitae, statements of research and teaching interests, and the contact information for at least three professional references.

Correspondence should be addressed to:
Dr. Gota Morota, Search Committee Chair
368 Litton Reaves Hall
175 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA  24061-0306
Phone: 540-231-4732

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.