Chief Scientist

Job title: Chief Scientist

Summary of Responsibilities: The Chief Scientist is responsible for administrating, facilitating and implementing research activities of Rodale Institute’s Strategic Solutions team, which includes members of the Research and Farm Operations Departments, in accordance with the Rodale Institute’s overall mission, in collaboration with staff and project collaborators. The Chief Scientist will be responsible for leading and expanding the Research team’s impact on a global stage.

Key responsibilities of this position include:
1) Lead research/project teams focused on the development, implementation and execution of research programs;
2) Support and facilitate the grant proposal and development processes in order to meet Rodale Institute research goals in accordance with the overall mission;
3) Coordinate with and actively assist Communications, Development and Operational teams to effectively communicate and facilitate information exchange; and
4) Work closely with the Executive Director using science as a catalyst for change, nationally and internationally. Administrative duties will include project implementation activities; monitoring, evaluation and reporting; staff assignments, monitoring, and supervision; and budget creation and management.

The mission of the Rodale Institute is to improve the health and well-being of people and the planet through organic leadership. The Research Department’s mission is to provide scientifically valid research data to demonstrate the benefits of transitioning to organic management systems and identify and provide tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions; increase nutrient and water use efficiencies; and improve soil and water quality, pollinator activity and food security. Primary research program areas include: 1) Helping to Grow Organic Agriculture; 2) Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change; and 3) Improving Human Health and Nutrition.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Plan and execute critical research projects related to the mission of the Rodale Institute and Research Department.
• Act as a liaison to the outside world regarding Rodale Institute research and mission.
• Build relationships with outside collaborators
• Support both development and communications teams through science based information
• Continue current regenerative/organic agriculture research focusing on three major research project areas: Farming Systems Trial (FST), Vegetable Systems Trial (VST), and Integrated Crop-Livestock Systems. Specific projects in these areas include research on organic production methods to improve soil health, organic pest management practices, mitigation and adaption to climate change, improvements to human health and nutrition, and water-friendly agricultural production methods.
• Expand current research base with new novel research focusing on areas of interest that impact Rodale Institute mission and vision statements.
• Assess current Research Department needs and direction and manage towards the annual budget.
• Review scientific literature and publications continually to keep abreast of current research, including current trends and questions.
• Evaluate protocols and indicators in terms of their potential to assess soil health.
• Oversee the collection, processing and analysis of data in a professional and timely manner. Support the interpretation and reporting of results in collaboration with the Communications team.
• Ensure that our commitments to partnerships and other grants are completed according to our contracts and agreements.

Staffing/Supervisory Responsibilities
• Lead project teams to achieve research/project goals.
• Support the Executive Director by preparing and presenting project updates and status reports to Rodale Institute’s Board of Directors and others.
• Ensure continuous performance improvement of staff and facilities.
• Improve and ensure the safety of research staff by complying with Rodale Institute Safety Committee policies and require research staff to be properly trained and educated on all research equipment, manuals and protocols.
• Adequately supervise research staff to ensure timely execution and completion of project goals, to include exemplary research planning and organization, execution of experiments, reporting, and assessment and publication of project results.
• Work with interdepartmental staff members in program monitoring/development, creation of publications, and education and outreach activities, and in linking the farmer networks.
• Work closely with Rodale Institute Farm Manager and communicate with Farm Operations staff on a regular basis about research-related field and laboratory activities to ensure coordination and completion of tasks in accordance with scientific protocols.
• Ensure adequate resources and sufficient technical guidance to achieve project success in keeping with Rodale Institute goals and objectives.
• Involve outside researchers and farmers as collaborators when possible in all aspects of the research.
• Participate in the hiring and training of project personnel.
• Foster a professional, creative, positive and enjoyable working environment that is sensible and enhances the synergies of the multicultural and diverse staff of the Institute.
• Establish and maintain excellent working relationships with representatives from diverse organizations.
• Report directly to Executive Director.

• Assist in disseminating information about our research project work to varied audiences including scientists, farmers, extension, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and the general public.
• Present scientific results from research trials at relevant conferences, workshops, field days and trade shows.
• Provide informational tours about our research programs to interested visitors as requested.
• Prepare and give invited oral presentations to scientific community, governmental decision-makers, private environmental groups and farmers on research topics as requested.
• Develop and assist with the publication of research papers, invited book chapters and interpretive publications to promote the Institute’s Mission.
• Publish in scientific journals and other general web and print publications. Publish at least 2 scientific papers per year.
• Develop research publications so that they can be utilized and cited by other scientists and research institutions
• Develop and teach entry-level Soil specific curriculum for a college accredited course for adult learners
• Make our research accessible to other scientists, farmers and the general public.

Grant Proposals/Reporting
• Research, develop and write grant proposals to support projects and to obtain funds for existing and future projects within the existing framework of the department’s mandate.
• Plan, monitor, and oversee specific project budgets and grants expenses.
• Formulate a budget that represents current projects and future objectives. Meet with the Director of Finance and Executive Director to review status of programs and proposals.
• Prepare weekly/quarterly/annual grant reports as required by the funding agencies.

• Ph.D. in a soil-related field.
• 10+ years’ experience in similar role which includes management experience.
• Strong leadership skills.
• Willingness and ability to travel.
• Demonstrated success in writing and receiving grant proposals for related programs and projects.
• Excellent presentation and interpersonal communication skills, with all audiences.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
• Proficiency in various computer software systems to facilitate all administrative and operational procedures.
• Proficiency in organic agricultural rules and regulations in accordance with the National Organic Program.

Travel: This position will require extensive travel.

Other Rodale Institute Expectations: To be trustful and respectful to all staff and visitors.

Position Type: Full Time: 40 + hours/week

To Apply: Please send a resume and cover letter to Elaine Macbeth, Director of Finance and Human Resources, at

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For over seventy years, the Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet. Learn more at

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