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Environmental Horticulture Program Manager (Ornamental)

Employer
North Carolina State University
Location
Mccullers, North Carolina, US
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
Jun 20, 2024

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Sector
Academic / Research
Field
Conservation science
Discipline
Other
Salary Type
Salary
Employment Type
Full time
The IR-4 Project is a national Federal/State partnership research program to assist farmers of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, ornamentals, and other specialty crops by facilitating registration of safe and effective chemical and bio-based pest management products. The IR-4 Project is needed because the crop protection industry focuses their research efforts on major crops such as corn, soybean, and cotton that provide the companies adequate return on their development investment. Without IR-4, farmers of specialty crops would only have access to a few crop protection products to protect their crops. IR-4 Project Headquarters provides national leadership, coordination and regulatory compliance for the IR-4 Project research activities performed by approx. 120 scientists at over 20 public sector research farms and four analytical laboratories throughout the United States.

Essential Job Duties

The IR-4 Project Environmental Horticulture Program (EHP) Manager position will be tasked to coordinate research and pesticide (bio-based and chemical) registration activities on non-food, ornamental plant species within the IR-4 Project. Specifically, this position will direct:

* The establishment of research priorities via a biennial stakeholder priority-setting workshop.
* Oversee the establishment of the annual research program including development of research protocols, working with Regional Field Coordinators to identify research cooperators; and assisting research cooperators and other stakeholders with questions involving research.
* Interface with representatives from registrants, trade associations, and regulatory agencies.
* Critically review results of field trials, and assess if there is adequate data to support regulatory actions and/or use recommendations. Summarize outcomes and transmit findings to cooperating registrants, other stakeholders, and IR-4 Management.

This position is aligned with the IR-4 Project mission to facilitate regulatory approval of sustainable pest management technology for specialty crops including ornamental crops and other environmental horticulture uses. Reporting to the Executive Director, the key duties of this position include, but are not limited to:

Environmental Horticulture Registration Support Research (40%): Working with the IR-4 Regional Field Coordinators, IR-4 Project Biologists and others, develop a robust field research program that develops efficacy and/or phytotoxicity data to support the registration of pesticides (bio-based, chemicals or emerging technologies) to answer stakeholder driven priority research projects.

* Draft research protocols involving consultation with registrants, research scientists, and stakeholders.
* Based on input from stakeholders, finalize protocols and transmit them to researchers and IR-4 Regional Offices well in advance of target dates for research.
* Be available to assist by answering inquiries from researchers and IR-4 Regional Field Coordinators. Assist by providing expertise and knowledge of horticultural crops of interest, major issues, pests of concern, and product rates to test.
* Working with Regional Offices, maintaining real-time status of research projects, including knowledge of when critical phases of research are planned/performed and when research reports are received. Communicate with IR-4 management and stakeholders about the progress of research.
* Critically review and scientifically assess data reports associated with the projects in a timely manner to ensure that the research was performed appropriately and according to protocol. Communicate any issues identified during research to Regional Field Coordinators and researchers. When appropriate, modify protocols to add new products, and remove products that do not produce effective control of target pests and/or result in unacceptable phytotoxicity.
* Write a brief synopsis for each trial and enter information into the EHP database. Update the database as needed for new studies and trials.
* Write comparative data summaries to submit to the industry and post to the IR-4 Project website.

Research Priority Setting (15%): Working with the IR-4 Regional Field Coordinators, IR-4 Project Biologists, IR-4 Operations team and others manage the priority setting process and establish research priorities for the Environmental Horticulture Program. Activities include:

* Establish and solicit feedback from ornamental growers and public sector researchers on the most important pest management needs.
* Coordinate the IR-4 Environmental Horticulture Priority Setting Workshop. This includes:
* Prepare comparative product tables related to relevant potential projects for use at the Workshop.
* Collaborate with IR-4 Headquarters and Regional personnel to facilitate research priority discussions at the Workshop.

Pesticide company interactions (15%):

* Routinely meet with representatives from the crop protection industry to involve appropriate company products in IR-4 research.
* Share information on ongoing IR-4 Project research activities and solicit updates on the status of registrant technology, including new products in a particular registrant portfolio.
* Track company submission targets to ensure that IR-4 data is included in company submissions.
* Solicit additional funding to support the expansion of IR-4 research and communicate all requests and commitments to IR-4 management in a timely manner.

Communication/Outreach Support (10%):

* Represent IR-4 at various regional, national, and international meetings and conferences regarding IR-4 activities to manage pests and provide solutions to stakeholders. This includes commodity meetings and trade conventions. Attend the relevant scientific meeting(s) and participate on relevant committees. Field questions from stakeholders on IR-4 activities with pesticides by serving as a resource.
* Collaborate with the IR-4 National Information and Communications Officer and team to write articles and other pieces of literature highlighting the EH Program activities.

Continued Enhancement of Electronic and Data Systems (10%):

* In association with IR-4 Project's Path Forward 2.0, cooperate with the IR-4 Technology Team and others in the design and implementation of appropriate processes and systems to increase efficiency and/or thru-put in the Environmental Horticulture Program including priority setting, research, reporting, and sharing of data to support registrations. This includes:
* Development of a publically available, user-centric database that allows stakeholders easy access to up-to-date information on Environmental Horticulture Program research and other activities.
* Implement systems that provide "real-time" information about research, including the status of field trials and test plants used in research.
* Modernize data collection systems to facilitate electronic capturing and transferring of data from field sites to IR-4 research coordinators/managers.

Other Responsibilities

Other responsibilities as assigned include, but are not limited to (10%):

* Work in a cooperative manner with other individuals at Headquarters and elsewhere.
* This includes coordinating activities with IR-4 Project Integrated Solutions platform activities.

* Promptly provide accurate accountability information for grants and other reports to IR-4 Management.
* Willing to travel, including IR-4 meetings throughout the United States as well as international meetings.
* Other responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications

Minimum Education and Experience

* Ph.D. in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, weed science or related area, with at least 5 years of experience with managing research or regulatory programs in the crop protection sciences with considerable knowledge and/or experience with ornamental horticulture crops.
* OR Master of Science degree in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, weed science, or related area, with 8+ years of alternative or equivalent professional training and experience may be substituted for the Ph.D. degree on an exceptional basis.
* All degrees must be received from appropriate accredited institutions.

Other Required Qualifications

* Ability to maintain attention to detail and prioritize and meet deadlines.
* Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal skills.
* Ability to work well in both team and independent environments.
* Committed to excellence in customer service relations with internal (IR-4 Management, peers, Regional Field Coordinators, researchers) and external (producers, commodity/trade associations, registrants, EPA) stakeholders.
* Willingness to assist others when needed.
* Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced work environment.

Preferred Qualifications

* Three years of experience with Ornamental Horticulture crops.

Required License(s) or Certification(s)

* Valid NC Driver's License or the ability to obtain within 60 days of start.

Valid NC Driver's License required Yes Commercial Driver's License required No

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