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Assistant Professor - Engineering for Sustainable Energy Transitions

Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
Closing date
Jan 7, 2024

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Atmospheric Sciences, Global Environmental Change
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Assistant Professor - Tenure-track

Cohort Hire: Creating a Climate-Resilient Future

Focus: Engineering for Sustainable Energy Transitions

Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University


Location: Ithaca, NY. The academic home for this position is the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, housed on the Ithaca campus of Cornell University.


The Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University is seeking a highly collaborative scholar to contribute to the development of innovative solutions for sustainable energy transition. Our new colleague will join a Cohort Faculty Hire in Creating a Climate-Resilient Future.


The CALS Roadmap to 2050 identified Transdisciplinary Moonshots - opportunities for the CALS community to collaborate on future-focused, cross-disciplinary scientific breakthroughs and to align research, education, and extension programs for greater impact and stronger connectivity. The Moonshot areas build upon core strengths in CALS, spanning the agricultural, life, environmental and social sciences, with the goal of recruiting 27 faculty into the college over the next three years.


This hiring cohort will advance the CALS Transdisciplinary Moonshot in Creating a Climate Resilient Future. Research in the cohort will unite existing transdisciplinary strengths at Cornell with critical new competencies to help navigate transitions to climate-resilient futures in three interdependent domains: renewable energy, sustainable cities, and agri-food systems. For this position, we are seeking applications for a 9-month, full-time tenure-track position at the assistant professor level to focus on sustainable and environmentally just energy transitions. Sustainable energy development will require innovative engineering to minimize land-use competition, foster co-location opportunities, assess socioecological impacts, and promote novel, holistic design strategies. The ideal candidate will bolster industrial ecology and/or sustainability engineering expertise in BEE to analyze and synthesize sustainable engineering solutions to the energy transition that minimize environmental impacts, promote circular economies, and explore the potential synergies between the landscape and proposed renewable energy technologies. In addition to this advertised hire, the cohort will include a geospatial analyst, socioecologist, a risk communication scholar, and a landscape architect within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.


Outstanding research scholarship is expected, as is excellence in and commitment to teaching, translation of knowledge, and advising and inclusive mentoring of students. We seek a colleague with an outstanding record demonstrating success and promise across all these areas, and who will be supported by and contribute to a vibrant culture of inclusive excellence at Cornell. As such, candidates are expected to engage in service and leadership activities within their department, the college and university, and relevant professional societies. We welcome candidates who understand the barriers facing women and other marginalized identities who are underrepresented in the classroom and higher education careers (as evidenced by life experiences and educational background) and who have experience in equity and inclusion concerning teaching, mentoring, research, outreach, life experiences, or service towards building an equitable and diverse scholarly environment.

The successful candidate will become a part of the inclusive and diverse culture at Cornell. They will have the opportunity to join multiple graduate fields across the university, including the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, and interdisciplinary institutes such as the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability and the Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture.


Position Responsibilities:

This position has a balanced effort between research (50%) and teaching (50%) on a 9-month academic year basis.


Research (50%): The successful candidate will be expected to conduct an internationally recognized and externally funded research program to understand the holistic impacts of sustainable energy technologies and develop new cross-disciplinary approaches to reducing negative environmental impact. Topics of interest include but are not limited to cradle-to-grave life cycle analysis of sustainable energy technologies; sociological impacts of sustainable energy technologies; development of new technologies for materials recycling and mining; holistic design strategies for sustainable energy technologies and their supply chains; and exploration of synergies between the landscape and proposed renewable energy technologies.


Teaching (50%): The successful candidate will contribute to undergraduate and graduate teaching in the department. They will contribute to our Environmental Engineering undergraduate program and may also participate in the cross-college Environment and Sustainability program. Teaching responsibilities will include two courses, with one focusing specifically on the undergraduate level. The second course will be negotiated with the candidate upon arriving at Cornell. Advising undergraduate students and mentoring graduate students and postdocs is also expected.


Department Affiliation: The successful candidate will be a tenure-line faculty member of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and will be based in the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering. A mentoring program for new faculty provides guidance and assistance.


Qualifications: The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in engineering, or a B.S. in engineering and a Ph.D. in a related field, with a strong commitment to developing multidisciplinary, team-based research and teaching. A strong background in renewable energy is preferred.


Applications and Starting Date: The anticipated starting date is July 2024 or as negotiated. Qualified applicants should submit 1) a cover letter briefly summarizing background, qualifications, and interest in the position; 2) a Curriculum Vitae; 3) a research statement outlining experience, interests, and goals; 4) a teaching statement outlining experience, interests, and goals; 5) a statement supporting diverse communities (this can be a stand-alone document (preferred) or the information can be embedded in other parts of the application materials) outlining how, through research, teaching, service, mentoring, extension, and/or outreach, the candidate has and will contribute to support Cornell’s historical mission of “any person … any study”; 6) copies of four relevant publications; and 7) names and contact information for four references. Materials should be submitted online to:


Applications received by December 31, 2023 will be given full consideration. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please forward questions to the search chair (Buz Barstow, or the search administrator (Nicole Albright,


CALS hiring range for this position is:

Assistant Professor: $79,400 - $135,000


Cornell University offers a competitive salary and benefits package. Support for start-up costs will be available. Salary is commensurate with experience.


The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and Cornell University’s second largest college. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education, and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: We believe that achieving next-generation scientific breakthroughs requires an understanding of the world’s complex, interlocking systems. We believe that access to nutritious food and a healthy environment is a fundamental human right. We believe that ensuring a prosperous global future depends on the ability to support local people and communities everywhere. By working in and across multiple scientific areas, CALS can address challenges and opportunities of the greatest relevance, here in New York, across the nation, and around the world.


Cornell University seeks to meet the needs of dual career couples, has a Dual Career program, and is a member of the Upstate New York Higher Education Recruitment Consortium to assist with dual career searches including positions available in higher education in the upstate New York area.


Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League and Land-grant university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.


Cornell’s regional and global presence includes state-wide Cornell Cooperative Extension programs and offices in all counties and boroughs, global partnerships with institutions and communities engaged in life-changing research and education, the medical college’s campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, and the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.


Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, and we do not tolerate discrimination based on any protected characteristic, including race, ethnic or national origin, citizenship and immigration status, color, sex/gender, pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, age, creed, religion, actual or perceived disability (including persons associated with such a person), arrest and/or conviction record, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender expression and/or identity, an individual’s genetic information, domestic violence victim status, familial status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations in accordance with applicable law.


Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff to all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.


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