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Assistant Director - Agroecosystem Sust. Ctr, Postdoctoral Research Associate/Postdoctoral Students

University of Illinois
Champaign, Illinois
Salary commensurate with skills and experience as relates to the project.
Closing date
Jan 2, 2022
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Assistant Director of Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC)

Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC) is a new research center aiming to be a world-leading innovation powerhouse in advanced monitoring and modeling of agroecosystems for improving sustainability under climate change. ASC is jointly funded by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE), the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI). ASC gathers leading researchers from across the UIUC campus in the subject areas of biophysical and biochemical research in agroecosystems, primarily focusing on whole-plant and landscape-level studies to regional and global applications. The research is driven by co-founding and affiliated faculty members, professional staff scientists, postdocs, and graduate students to advance science goals and technological innovations, with clear motivation to generate real-world solutions and impacts. ASC also has plans to work closely with industry partners and bring truly interdisciplinary educational opportunities for aspiring students at UIUC.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

PRIMARY POSITION FUNCTION: The ASC Assistant Director will work primarily with ASC leaders, researchers, and project teams to help them advance the center goals, which may include applying for large research grants, engaging in partnerships with industry and government and farmer communities based on their research.



  • Overall administrative management of the center operations; report to the ASC Center Director.
  • Facilitate the creation of goals and timelines for assigned teams and track project execution during the lifetime of the team’s project.
  • Ensure submission of high-quality research proposals by supporting proposal development and will help manage science team expenses and reporting. Facilitate proposal preparation, review, and submission.
  • Coordinate and monitor the ASC objectives. Provide project management support for research activities. Monitor progress toward science objectives of the funded/awarded research projects. Identify and mitigate various project risks. Ensure all Center PIs meet project objectives on budget and on schedule.
  • Support communication among the project scientists at Illinois and partner institutions, administer and support the ASC research processes, and assist with dissemination of ASC research outputs.
  • Manage and prepare annual center budget and research projects’ budgets and review monthly account statements of the ASC spending and research awards.
  • Assist Center Director with and oversee the preparation and submission of all technical reports of the awarded projects, presentations, and intellectual property filings.
  • Coordinate purchase of equipment, services, and supplies.


  • Lead ASC communication and branding efforts, including creating and maintaining websites for ASC research teams and projects, creating and maintaining social media presence, creating new letters, and maintaining contact lists for potential stakeholders.
  • Coordinate compliance with campus and governmental regulatory requirements governing sponsor requirements for projects awarded to the ASC Center.
  • Facilitate interactions across science teams at UIUC and partner campuses, communities, and industry partners.
  • Make introductions and connections as needed to advance team goals for collaboration.
  • Work with science teams to plan and execute activities.
  • Coordinate and manage events such as retreats, scientific meetings, workshops, symposia, and lectures.
  • Coordinate and facilitate meetings with the ASC members. Disseminate meeting notes and action items. Coordinate regular meetings to assess progress and follow up with task assignments.
  • Perform other related duties and participate in special projects as needed.


Education  Required: Bachelor’s degree in biological, chemical, or engineering or a field related to the position.

Preferred: Master’s degree in biological, chemical, or engineering discipline.

Experience  Required: Two years of research administration experience which includes project management in an academic, private, or public/non-profit environment. Supervisory experience. Demonstrated scientific and grant writing experience.

Preferred: Five years of experience in administrative management of research projects. Experience in budget and project management. Experience with scientific and grant writing. Familiarity with academic research and/or industry research and development. Exceptional oral, written, interpersonal, and organizational skills.  Experience supporting STEM and/or biological/chemical/engineering-related research strongly preferred. Experience with supporting interdisciplinary teams and team science strongly preferred. Experience working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, across institutions, and across disciplines. 

Preferred: Project Management Professional Certification

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:  Excellent organizational and time management skills.  Excellent written and verbal communication skills.  Ability to multitask with a high degree of accuracy to meet tight deadlines.  Ability to work productively and efficiently with a diverse community of scientists.


This is a full-time Civil Service Program Coordinator position appointed on a 12-month service basis.  The expected start date is as soon as possible after the close of the search. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

To Apply:  Applications must be received by January 2, 2022. Apply for this position using the “Apply for Position” button below.  If you have not applied before, you must create your candidate profile at  If you already have a profile, you will be redirected to that existing profile via email notification.  To complete the application process:

Step 1) Submit the Staff Vacancy Application.

Step 2) Submit the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability forms.

Step 3) Upload the following documents:

  • cover letter
  • resume (months and years of employment must be included)
  • academic credentials (unofficial transcripts or copy of diploma may be acceptable) for all degrees attained. Academic credentials will be verified before hire.
  • names/contact information for three references

In order to be considered as a transfer candidate, you must apply for this position using the “Apply for Position” button below. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, contact  Erica Hanson, HR Coordinator, at  For questions about the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

University of Illinois faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordance with applicable University processes.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. Other pre-employment assessments may be required, depending on the classification of Civil Service employment.

As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment


PhD and Postdoc Positions at University of Illinois on

Ecosystem Modeling and Remote Sensing

We are recruiting multiple PhD students and Postdoctoral Researchers through Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) and National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Funding up to five years is guaranteed for PhD students through fellowship, research-assistant, and/or teaching-assistant. The postdoctoral position is full-time, 1-year duration, with possibility of annual extension, contingent upon performance and funding.

Summary: The successful candidates will work on a few recently funded research projects of developing a “system of systems” solution to quantify field-scale carbon credit over the U.S. agroecosystem. Carbon sequestration through adaptive management practices over the cropland may have a great potential to mitigate climate change, improve soil health and sustain crop productivity. However, we are currently lacking scalable and accurate solutions to quantify the changes of soil organic carbon and greenhouse gas emissions at individual field levels. The successful candidates will use extensive ground observations, multi-source satellite remote sensing and airborne hyperspectral data, advanced process-based modeling, deep learning, and systematic model-data fusion to build such a first-of-its-kind solution. Candidates will directly work with an interdisciplinary team from multiple U.S. institutes and DOE national labs. The research projects are led by Dr. Kaiyu Guan (ecosystem modeling and remote sensing), Dr. Evan DeLucia (ecosystem biogeochemistry), and Dr. Jian Peng (artificial intelligence), with close collaborations with Dr. Jinyun Tang (ecosystem modeling) and Dr. Zhenong Jin (physics-guided machine learning).

Specific responsibilities:

Ecosystem Modelers: improving process-based ecosystem models by developing new biogeochemical/hydrological modules, efficient calibration methods, and advanced model-data fusion; building operational systems for agricultural monitoring and modeling over the U.S. agroecosystems and beyond.

Remote Sensing Scientists: designing and implementing automatic computing pipelines for satellite/airborne-related remote sensing algorithms for monitoring soil organic carbon, soil moisture, management practices, crop growth condition, water use and productivity at a high spatial resolution and over large areas.

Common responsibility: preparing peer-reviewed publications and education materials; managing projects and reporting; and communicating research at professional meetings; postdocs will also mentor graduate and undergraduate students.

Qualifications for PhD student positions: The project will involve intense data processing/analysis, large-scale model simulation, and possibly field work. Strong quantitative and programing skills are required for successful PhD student candidates. Proficiency in spoken/written English is mandatory. All applicants should meet the minimum requirements of GPA and GRE by the graduate admission ( Information for applying to NRES can be found here: International students should also meet the minimum requirements of TOEFL (the same link above). Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact Xin Lin ( first to share potential research projects and opportunities before applying. When contacting by email, please include the following items: unofficial transcripts, curriculum vitae, GRE score, names and contact information of three references, and a brief personal statement that highlights skills relevant to the above directions. Starting Date: We accept students at any time of a year, not confined to only fall semester. Therefore, the enrollment time is flexible.

Qualifications for Postdoc positions: Applicants should have a Ph.D. on earth and environmental science, hydrology, remote sensing, environmental engineering, meteorology, geography, mathematics, or a closely related field. Prior research experiences in ecosystem modeling and remote sensing are highly preferred. Strong programming skills (e.g., Python, C/C++, and/or Fortran in the Linux environment) and prior experience in supercomputing or big data analytical systems is required, as the applicant will be working routinely in the supercomputer environment. Candidates will be considered if graduation with a Ph.D. is expected by the targeted starting date. Proficiency in spoken/written English is mandatory. The appointment is renewed annually, contingent upon the performance. Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience in relevant research. Starting Date: Ideal starting window ranges from January 1, 2022, through May 31, 2022, and prefer to start as soon as possible. The position is open until filled.

Application Process for Postdoctoral Research Associates and PhD students: To ensure full consideration, qualified candidates must send a cover letter, CV, and contact information of three references via email to All requested information must be submitted to the above email in order for your application to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Qualified applicants will be immediately reviewed upon receiving the application while the search may continue until the position is filled. We will only give feedback to those candidates that we plan to interview. For further information, please contact: Ms. Xin Lin (

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC): UIUC is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs. UIUC ranks top worldwide in Environmental Science, Computer Science, and Agricultural Science. The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. The administration, faculty, and staff embrace diversity and are committed to attracting qualified candidates who also embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. Visit

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

A PDF version of this recruiting flyer can be found at We appreciate your help spreading this recruiting information to potential candidates.


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