BFI-UCANR Project Scientist

County Location: Fresno County
Date Posted: August 27, 2021
Closing Date: October 12, 2021

The Position is located in Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

The Berkeley Food Institute-UCANR Cooperative Extension Project Scientist will conduct an extension-based applied research program addressing policy and economic barriers, motivations, and opportunities that influence agricultural producers’ transition to economically viable, environmentally sustainable, regenerative, and equitable practices. The Project Scientist will work to develop effective ways to meet the needs of producers (who have diverse scales and resource capacities) and help them overcome economic and policy-related challenges as they transition to practices based on agroecological principles and disseminate findings on policy and economic solutions that benefit farmers, farmworkers, communities, and society more broadly.

Specific responsibilities include:

Undertake and support applied research on economic and policy aspects of on-farm transitions to agroecological systems. Collaborate with BFI faculty leadership and other UC colleagues to operationalize a research program that reflects BFI’s public service role.

Collaborate with producers, businesses, policymakers, government agencies, and extension and research colleagues on relevant research and outreach projects.

Provide and coordinate outreach and assistance to producers and producer organizations, commodity groups, food businesses, and community organizations, to provide information on economic incentives and opportunities of innovative sustainable agriculture methods, with attention to socially disadvantaged producers, locations, groups and businesses.

Develop tools and resources (in languages used by target communities, when possible) that support education and assistance for farmers, farmworkers, and those that serve them, on strategic opportunities, including but not limited to innovative financing, value-added certification programs (e.g. organic, sustainable, or fair trade programs, etc.), values-based procurement, direct-to-consumer marketing, partnerships with the charitable food system, land access policies, etc.

Document, publish, and share project work and accomplishments in peer-reviewed journals and through other publications that are relevant to and will reach key audiences.

Develop and submit funding proposals, fulfill project objectives, and write grant reports, which includes evaluation of outcomes.

Support BFI’s research-to-policy outreach projects and policy program, working closely with the Executive Director, Faculty Director(s), and staff.
Expand outreach and communications about BFI’s policy-relevant research and connections to ANR in sustainable agriculture and food systems, and with stakeholder groups, including UC-SAREP, the Organic Institute, and others.

Reporting Relationship: The Project Scientist will be integrated into a collaborative team of BFI-associated faculty researchers with strong disciplinary connections and ongoing projects in this area guided by a stakeholder advisory panel.

The Project Scientist will be expected to work with this research team and advisory panel to develop complementary projects that expand on ongoing themes. They will also be administratively responsible to the ANR Associate Vice President.

Qualifications and Skills Required
Required Qualifications:
Ph.D. in relevant field, including community and economic development, agricultural economics, political economy, development economics, or food/agriculture policy.

At least two years of experience working professionally in extension and/or applied research or policy in the agriculture and/or food or agriculture sector (food production, distribution and/or processing, and food business, communities or farmworkers), or related context. This may include relevant experience as a PhD student or postdoctoral researcher.

Demonstrated ability to think and act creatively in providing education and/or outreach.

Available to travel occasionally throughout the state and within the US; possession of a valid, current state driver’s license required.

Understanding of and commitment to equal opportunity and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Desired Qualifications:

Demonstrated program and project leadership and management skills.
Successful experience in grant writing and fundraising for research projects or fellowships.

Fluency in Spanish (or other strategic language for California food systems economic development) is strongly preferred.

Cultural competencies, including humility, to effectively work with different population groups.

Salary & Benefits
SALARY: Beginning salary will be in the Assistant-to-Associate Project Scientist Rank. The salary range for this position is $65,700 to $93,100 annually. Placement within either rank/step will depend on experience and qualifications. Please refer to:

The Assistant-Associate Project Scientist position is a non-career track position. The position is a one year renewable term appointment (up to 4 years total) with a merit cycle every two years. The performance in the position will be evaluated annually. Continuation beyond the initial four years is contingent upon a review of continuing need and the availability of funding.

Benefits: The University of California offers comprehensive benefits including two days per month paid vacation, one day per month paid sick leave, and approximately thirteen paid holidays per year. ANR is part of UC’s Family-Friendly Policies. For more information, refer to the UC Benefits website at:

If interested in this position, please visit: and choose “applicants” (refer to position #20-12)

Closing Date: To assure full consideration, completed packets must be received by October 12, 2021. Applications received after October 12th may be considered if the position has not yet been filled (open until filled).

Contact Tatiana Avoce; email:

More information on this position:

The BFI Project Scientist position will be guided by a Stakeholder Advisory Group and integrated into a collaborative Research Team of BFI-associated faculty with strong disciplinary connections and active agroecological research and extension programs. We hope this will jump start the Project Scientist and catalyze his or her research. The Project Scientist will be expected to work with this research team and advisory group to develop complementary projects that expand on ongoing themes. While this position will be administratively responsible to the ANR Associate Vice President, these additional elements are intended to facilitate and expedite the orientation and project development process.

Research Team – Project Support and Collaboration
Since the Project Scientist will not be entering an individual PI’s lab per se, but rather independently based out of the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Fresno, CA., we have created this Research Team to support and offer collaboration to the Project Scientist. This group of scholars will welcome the Project Scientist and support them with research mentorship, professional advice, and collaboration where appropriate. If desired and as the project demands, the Project Scientist could also seek support from BFI Affiliated Faculty, who represent our partner schools and disciplines on the Berkeley campus. The Research Team currently consists of:

  1. Houston Wilson, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist, UC Riverside, Director of UC Organic Agriculture Institute, based at the UC Kearney Agricultural REC.
  2. Timothy Bowles, Assistant Professor of Agroecology, Berkeley Food Institute Co-Associate Faculty Director, UC Berkeley
  3. Aidee Guzman, Post-Doctoral Researcher, UC Irvine
  4. Becca Jablonski, Assistant Professor/Food Systems Extension Economist, Colorado State University

Stakeholder Advisory Group – Project Needs, Relevance and Prioritization
As this position includes a 50% extension appointment, and we expect for their research to be accountable to and in communication with local stakeholders, this group of external stakeholders have agreed to consult occasionally with the BFI Project Scientist. The objective of this relationship is to hear farmer voices, respond to local economic and climate conditions with the highest research integrity, and increase extension effectiveness through clear communications. Each will be given an honorarium for their annual participation, where allowable. This list is still being formed.