Project Manager
University of California Davis
United States

Assistant / Associate Specialist / Project Manager in Imperial Valley

Job #JPF03621
  • Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - PLANT SCIENCES

Recruitment Period

Open date: June 29th, 2020

Next review date: Friday, Jul 24, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Monday, Jun 21, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


Project name:

Alternatives to chlorpyrifos for sugarbeet pest management in the Imperial Valley
Dates: August 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023.
Job Title: Assistant Specialist/Project Manager
This position will be 50-100% time.

Project description:

The primary focus of this project is to identify less toxic substitutes for chlorpyrifos in sugarbeet production in the Imperial Valley, and improved IPM practices for insect control generally. Chlorpyrifos is a known neurotoxin and affects both humans and other animal and fish species. It can be hazardous to applicators and workers and accumulated in the Salton Sea, arriving via drainage water from surface runoff and tile drains in farm fields. It has been restricted in California. Low risk strategies will emphasize IPM practices including pre-irrigation, planting dates, seed treatments and the use of biologicals and natural controls.

Two complementary experiments will be carried out at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center and four growers’ fields each year for two years. Seed treatments using clothianidan (a neonicotinid, a reduced toxicity standard), will be common to all experiments. Data collected will include seedling emergence rates and amounts and post-emergence-losses, season-long estimates of insect pest abundance and damage, yield and root quality, and comparative costs of differing treatments. Harvests at DREC will use a two-row plot harvester or be carried out by hand. In growers’ fields, 4 or 6 row strips will be collected at harvest sufficient to fill a truck and the area measured (~ ½ acre/rep). Each truckload will be weighed and sampled for quality at the sugar factory. Individual treatment costs will be compared. Trials at the DREC will contrast IPM practices (planting dates and irrigation practices), and their interaction with differing insect controls, and evaluate selected insecticides not yet registered on sugarbeets. The practices preferred by each grower will comprise the control at field sites, and seed treatments plus modest levels of post emergence control until harvest will be a second treatment. The third contrast will depend on choices growers and their PCAs make. Common monitoring methods for insect damage will be established among researchers and cooperating PCAs for both fall and late spring monitoring periods.

Position description:

Under the direction and with the help of the project PI (Dr. Stephen Kaffka), the Project manager/research scientist will:

  • Help implement and direct experiments at the UC DREC and in growers’ fields,
  • Collect data, supervise and manage data collection by cooperators, and report all data,
  • Coordinate and lead work with all co-PIs, cooperating Pest Management Advisors, growers, and station personnel at the UC DREC research site,
  • Complete quarterly and yearly reports to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in a timely manner,
  • Help manage the project budget,
  • Participate in field days, industry events, growers’ meetings and other outreach activities,
  • Publish results in peer review journals.

Basic Qualifications:

  • MS degree in applied entomology or pest management or related field.
  • Research experience in applied entomology and integrated pest management.
  • Familiarity with Excel, MS Word, and other relevant and useful software.
  • Experience with data analysis and graphical presentation of data.
  • Experience with technical writing and professional publication.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Some experience or familiarity with commercial crop production is desirable.
  • Knowledge of a broad range of pest management materials and application methods.
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of integrated pest management.
  • Some experience with cooperative extension and outreach activities.
  • Evidence of scientific publication.

Salary:Commensurate with experience. Benefits: medical, dental and vision coverage for the incumbent and immediate family.

Apply on Recruit by submitting your CV, and 3 non UC Davis References.


The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise in the execution, management and planning of a research project. Under the direction of the project PI, the Specialist will help lead the execution of a large-scale regional IPM project focused on rationalizing insect pest management in sugarbeet production in the Imperial Valley. This will involve developing a work group of extension advisors, PCAs, and university researchers to carry out an integrated network of on-farm and on-station research trials focused on reduced risk management of sugarbeet pests. The Specialist will coordinate and participate in data collection across the network, help development monitoring and assessment techniques, manage all data collected, and create quarterly reports to the sponsoring agency. The Specialist will identify research and management issues as they arise and contribute to their solution. As opportunity presents, the Specialist will also present results to the local grower community through extension formats, and help analyze results and create publications with the assistance of the project PI and co-PIs. The Specialist will be evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below.



A. Collaborate with other research and extension personnel affiliated with research activities involving insect pest monitoring, data collection, on-farm management practices and on-station research projects. Evaluation of performance in research or in outreach activities as deemed applicable to the individual project in specialized areas, as documented by any of the following:

  1. Publications that acknowledge the Specialist's significant and meaningful contribution to the work.
  2. Publications on which the Specialist is an author.
  3. Other evidence (e.g., letters from collaborators or principal investigators) that work done by the Specialist contributed to publishable research.
  4. Actively disseminate information within the sugarbeet industry in the Imperial Valley in cooperation with the project PI and co-PIs through informal instruction, presentations, or other means stemming from the Specialist's research accomplishments.
  5. Other evidence of recognized expertise may include formal documentation of intellectual effort and participation in publishable research activities, co-authorship on publications, and presentation of research at regional meetings. B. Serve as a coordinator for the IPM research network under the direction of the project PI and co-PIs. The Specialist is responsible for ensuring uninterrupted communication among all project participants, for data management and preparation of quarterly and annual reports to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the funding agency, under the supervision of the project PI.


Participate in appropriate professional/technical societies or groups and other educational and research organizations like CAPCA and AAIE.


Maintain liaison and respond to the needs of the sugarbeet industry in the Imperial Valley and other external groups on issues related to area of expertise. The Specialist will help organize and maintain a network of UC extension advisors, PCA cooperators, and farmers participating in the project. Active communication within this group is a key to the successful operation and completion of the project.

Job location

Imperial Valley


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter (Optional)
  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.
  • (Optional)
Reference requirements
  • 3-5 letters of reference required

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