Assistant Specialist

University of California-Davis
Posted on

Application Deadline


Research assistant / technician



The Department of Viticulture and Enology seek a full time technician to assist field research activities in a variety of multidisciplinary projects in biometeorology, crop sensing technologies, and plant ecophysiology. This position will be housed in a USDA lab at UC Davis, will support research activities at sites across the Central Valley and other wine growing regions of California, and will include work on grapevines, almonds, and walnuts.

The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation and research equipment or with social science research methods) in the planning and execution of a research project. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. Within this defined area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to supply input into the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception and/or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below.


I.RESEARCH IN SPECIALIZED AREAS (90% EFFORT) The researcher will perform seasonal and periodic maintenance of micro-meteorological instrumentation at about numerous field sites. Maintenance and campaigns are conducted using different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on phenology, agricultural management, and current field conditions. The Specialist is expected to lead research activities and manage all data. Responsibilities include:

  • Install and maintain eddy covariance towers and sampling of field experiments on working farms.
  • Prepare field supplies and maintain field instrumentation.
  • Perform field assignments in a variety of conditions (e.g., weather, terrain, etc.).
  • Record activities and completed work according to Field Operations protocol.
  • Collaborate on the design of research methodology with PI and other project team members and reports issues with the implementation of procedures and coordinates resolution with the manager.
  • Supports data management and analysis.
  • Work with mixed-methods and interdisciplinary project teams by providing training to field personnel.
  • Prepares data set summaries for reports, outreach documents, and scientific manuscripts. Contribute significantly to the preparation of manuscripts including leading portions of the writing as appropriate based on technical expertise.

II.PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE AND ACTIVITY (5% EFFORT) A. Participate in appropriate professional/technical societies or groups and other educational and research organizations. B. Review research proposals, journal manuscripts, and publications related to area of expertise.

III.UNIVERSITY AND PUBLIC SERVICE (5% EFFORT) A. May maintain liaison and respond to the needs of various industry organizations, state and federal agencies, and other external groups on issues related to area of expertise. B. May participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate.

Requirements/Desired Skills

  • Masters Degree in Horticulture, Agronomy, Biometeorology, Viticulture, and/or Plant Ecophysiology.
  • Knowledge of best practices for accurate and repeatable field and laboratory measurements across multiple scientific disciplines. Complex and variable systems require good judgement and independent decision-making abilities.
  • Technical skills using best practices in the field and ability to identify issues with field sensor instrumentation.
  • Willing and able to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of their primary responsibility.
  • Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 4 hours from the domain office. Overnight travel is typical throughout the summer season.
  • Ability and willingness to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings and weekends.
  • Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Fieldwork may require some exposure to ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
  • Proficiency with MS Office Suite (e.g., Excel, Word).
  • Experience in writing scientific manuscripts including date of presentation.
  • Ideally some coding skills (e.g. R+, Phyton, Matlab).
  • Ideally some experience with dataloggers and/or prototyping boards (e.g. Arduino, Raspberry Pi)
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Strong work ethic and enthusiasm.


More Information

Posted on

Application Deadline


Research assistant / technician


Davis , United States