The Research Director is responsible for design, implement and communicate research activities at our new Davines Group – Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center with input from departmental staff and project collaborators.

Key responsibilities of this position will include designing and leading research/projects focused on advancing regenerative organic agriculture in the Southern EU region and similar regions around the world. Key responsibilities will include the publication of peer reviewed journal articles, outreach and education, relationship building and grant writing.  Administrative duties will include project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and staff supervision.

This position reports directly to the Chief Scientist of Rodale Institute, Main Campus in Kutztown, PA but will be stationed at the Davines Village in Parma, Italy.

Essential duties & responsibilities:

  • Research
    • Plan and execute critical research projects related to the Mission of Rodale Institute.
    • Organize a research base focusing on soil health and the links between soil health and human, and planetary health. This may include research related to regenerative organic crop production of regional crops analysis of ecosystem services, and concentrations of nutritional and chemical compounds from varying production methods.
    • Set up on-farm trials and demonstrations to address relevant, current, cutting-edge research topics and questions that will benefit regional farmers, researchers, extension agents and the greater scientific community.
    • Build professional relationships to advise, define, and foster the expansion of research priorities in the southern EU region.
    • Review scientific literature and publications of peers continually to keep current on research.
    • Evaluate trial protocols and indicators in terms of their potential facilitate the transition of farms and farmers to organic.
    • Collect, process and analyze data in a professional manner. Interpret and report results.
    • Ensure that our commitments to partnerships are completed according to our contracts and agreements.
    • Work closely with farm operations staff to ensure high quality field research.
    • Successfully write grants in partnership with Rodale Institutes grant office
    • Communicate regularly with departmental staff at Rodale Institute’s home office.

    Administrative Responsibilities

    • Lead project team to achieve research/project goals.
    • Prepare and present periodic updates and status reports to Rodale Institute’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and other project leaders on programs and projects.
    • Ensure continuous performance improvement.
    • Adequately supervise Regional Resource Center research staff to ensure timely execution and completion of project goals, to include exemplary research planning, execution of experiments, reporting, and assessment and publication of project results.
    • Work with related department staff members in program monitoring/development, creation of publications, and education and outreach activities, and in linking the farmer networks.
    • Ensure adequate resources and sufficient technical guidance to achieve project success in keeping with Rodale Institute goals and objectives.
    • Facilitate outside collaboration when possible in all aspects of the research.
    • Participate in the hiring and training of project personnel.
    • Foster a professional, creative, 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 Chief Scientist.


    • Assist in interpreting and 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 organic/sustainable agriculture industry conferences, workshops 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 soil health management and assessment and other 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.
    • Provide farmers, extension agents and compost producers with guidelines in print, web, video, webinar and field day/conference formats.
    • Maintain currency with scientific publications on soil health, regenerative and organic agriculture.
    • Ensure that Rodale Institute research publications are commonly cited by scientists and researchers.
    • Make our research accessible to 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.
    • While working with the Senior Development Director, submit at least 4 grant proposals per year to State, Federal, Foundational, or corporate funding sources
    • Plan, monitor, and oversee specific project budgets and grants expenses.
    • Formulate a budget that represents current projects and future objectives. Meet with the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Executive Officer quarterly to review status of programs and proposals.
    • Prepare weekly/quarterly/annual grant reports as required by funding partners.


  • Ph.D. in crop, soil, or weed science, horticulture, systems ecology, biology, microbiology or other related field.
  • 2+ years’ management experience.
  • Must be proficient in English and Italian.
  • Possess excellent oral and written communication skills in English and Italian.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Willingness and ability to travel regionally and internationally.
  • Demonstrated success in receiving grant proposals for related programs and projects.
  • Excellent presentation and interpersonal communication skills, with all audiences
  • This position will require periodic travel.

Additional information:

  • Position Type: Full time
  • Location: Davines Group – Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center, Parma, Italy
  • To apply: Please send a resume and cover letter to Director of Finance/HR Elaine Macbeth at
  • About Rodale Institute: Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. For 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.

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