Research Specialist (A. Thompson)

North Dakota State University   Fargo, ND   Full-time     Research
Posted on July 3, 2024
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The Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University is seeking a research specialist to support the potato breeding project in the development and adoption of improved potato cultivars for North Dakota and the Northern Plains. The research specialist will assist with daily activities of the potato breeding project in the field; greenhouse & laboratory, including planting, data collection, harvest, and quality assessments; greenhouse minituber production with an emphasis on micropropagation of germplasm and assistance with management & analysis of genomic and phenotypic data to permit rapid data-driven decisions about potato genotypes in the breeding pipe-line. Will also assist with disease testing of seed lots, tissue sampling/preparation/shipping for genotyping, marker assisted selection, & compliance with all safety regulations.

This position is critical to the development of new germplasm, release of improved potato cultivars, fast-tracking of promising advancing potato selections, and in leveraging data (old and new, genotypic and phenotypic data) in predicting potato performance potential using new analysis applications & data management tools. Hiring prior to the next greenhouse production cycle is desirable.

Duties will be performed with general guidance and will require coordination with the project leader and other potato breeding team members and cooperating research programs/departments.

Advertised Salary: $55,000+/year

Minimum Qualifications:
  • B .S. in Plant Breeding, Genetics, Agronomy, or related agricultural field or at least three years' experience in applied plant breeding or closely related field required.
  • Experience in designing & conducting research in the field, greenhouse, and laboratory.
  • Experience in data management using database and spreadsheet software; and statistical analysis using SAS,JMP, R or related software.
  • Experience in marker-based analysis and genomic data management.
  • Experience in using Microsoft Office products.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and to participate on teams.
  • Willingness and ability to work in a variety of environmental conditions indoors and outdoors for long hours during planting and harvesting.
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs.
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively as an interdisciplinary research team member.
  • Excellent work ethic, problem solving, organizational and leadership skills, passionate learner, with a desire to be innovative.
  • Valid US driver's license.
  • Must be comfortable with the handling of some hazardous chemicals.
Preferred Qualifications:
  • M.S. degree in plant breeding, genetics, agronomy, horticulture, or closely related field.
  • Experience in potato production, tissue culture, and pest (disease, insect, weed and nematode) management.
  • Experience in designing and conducting potato research in the field, greenhouse, and laboratory.
  • Experience in micropropagation.
  • Experience in certified seed potato production/testing skills desired.
  • Farm background or relevant farming experience in mechanized agriculture.
  • Operate and transport small to large-sized tractors, cultivators, harvesters, and implements, trucks, trailers and plot sprayers.
  • Certified Pesticide Applicator License.
  • Ability to work independently with graduate students and hourly undergraduate students.
Physical Demands:

Operate and transport small to large-sized tractors, cultivators, harvesters, and implements, trucks, trailers and plot sprayers. Physically able to perform field research, keeling, lifting up to 50 lbs bags.

Applicant Materials Required:

Applicants must submit: 1) a cover letter discussing how the stated qualifications are met; 2) a detailed resume; 3) contact information (i.e., names, phone numbers, institutional addresses, and email addresses) of three current references from the most recent positions held.


NDSU offers a comprehensive benefits package which includes single or family health insurance coverage with premiums paid for by the university - with an effective date for new employees the first of the month following date of hire. Other benefits include: wellness benefits, basic life insurance, retirement plan, tuition waiver, annual leave, EAP, sick leave and holiday pay. Optional benefits include: supplemental life, dental, vision, long-term care insurance, flexible spending account, and supplemental retirement plans.

About Us:

North Dakota State University is distinctive as a student focused, land-grant, research university. We educate leaders who solve national and global challenges by providing affordable access to an excellent education that combines teaching and research in a rich learning environment.

NDSU is in the highest Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, R1, granted to the top research institutions in the country.

NDSU has offices across the state of North Dakota, and the main campus is in Fargo, on the Minnesota border. Along with Moorhead, Minnesota, Fargo forms one of the largest metropolitan centers between Minneapolis and Seattle. The community is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live.

No Smoking Notice :

As an employer, the State of North Dakota prohibits smoking in all places of state employment in accordance with N.D.C.C. § 23-12-10.

EO/AA Statement:

North Dakota State University is an Equal Opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, gender expression/identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, participation in lawful off-campus activity, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, public assistance status, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, spousal relationship to current employee, or veteran status, as applicable.

Diversity Statement:

NDSU strives to be a community of belonging, recognizing unique differences as strengths of our university. We seek to recruit and retain a diverse workforce that supports a community in which diverse populations and perspectives will know and learn from one another. NDSU values candidates who are committed to our core values of respect, inclusivity, community, creativity, excellence, impact, innovation, integrity, resilience, responsiveness, and transformation. Successful candidates will be committed to and help advance our strategic goal to create and maintain an open and respectful environment to promote inclusivity and diversity as a cornerstone of education, research, and outreach.

Veteran's Preference Notice:

This position is subject to North Dakota Veteran's Preference requirements.

Reasonable Accommodation Information

North Dakota State University is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education, and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, please contact Human Resources at 701-231-8961 or .