The Research Director is responsible for facilitating and implementing research and educational activities at Rodale Institute-Midwest Organic Center with input from departmental staff, the center advisory committee, stakeholders, and project collaborators.

Key responsibilities of this position will include designing and leading impactful and innovative research projects focused on advancing regenerative organic agriculture in the Midwest region with emphasis on crop diversity, food quality, and soil health. Administrative duties will include project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, budget development and management, and staff monitoring and supervision. Additional key responsibilities will include external grant acquisition from private and public sources, prepare and submit peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed publications, support Rodale Institute’s outreach, education and consulting programs, build relationship with external entities and stakeholders.

This position reports directly to the Chief Scientist of Rodale Institute, Main Campus.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

Research

  • Plan and execute critical research projects related to Rodale Institute’s Mission.
  •  Organize a research base with research focusing on soil health and/or the links between soil health and human health. This could include any or all of the following: side by side comparisons of organic and conventional production, cover crop systems experiments, nutrient quality analysis of grains/vegetables, milk quality analysis, weed management, compost and compost extracts, and the integration of livestock/grazing and cash crop systems.
  • Set up on-farm trials 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 Midwest.
  • Review scientific literature and publications of peers continually to keep current on research.
  • Evaluate trial protocols and indicators in terms of their potential to 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.
  • 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 leadership.
  • Ensure continuous performance improvement.
  • Supervise Regional Resource Center 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 Rodale Institute.
  • Establish and maintain excellent working relationships with representatives from diverse organizations.

Publications/Outreach

  • Assist in interpreting/disseminating information about our research project work to varied audiences including scientists, farmers, extension, entrepreneurs, policymakers, 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 the 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 monthly/quarterly/annual grant reports as required by funding partners.

Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in crop science, soil science, agronomy, weed science, horticulture, systems ecology, or other closely related fields.
  • Demonstrated success in developing research programs.
  • Direct experience with research and production of industrial hemp and vegetables is a plus.
  • 2+ years’ management experience.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong leadership skills.
  • Willingness and ability to travel regionally and nationally.
  • Demonstrated success in receiving grant proposals for related programs and projects.
  • Excellent presentation and interpersonal communication skills, with all audiences.

Additional information:

  • Position Type: Full time
  • Location: Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center, Iowa
  • Travel: This position will require periodic travel.
  • Additional Expectations: Be honest, respectful and take ownership of our work and mission.
  • To apply: Please send a resume and cover letter to Director of Finance/HR, Elaine Macbeth, at Resumes@RodaleInstitute.org.
  • Priority Application Deadline: January 30, 2022 (position will remain open until a suitable candidate is selected).
  • 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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