The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks Visiting Senior Research Specialist

Posted on June 23, 2022
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks Visiting Senior Research Specialist
Position Title                                                                                                                         
Visiting Senior Research Specialist Soybean Innovation Laboratory- Department of Agricultural Consumer Economics
 WE TRANSFORM LIVES. Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people in the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.
The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) is comprised of world-renowned faculty whose research and outreach programs influence national and international policymaking on issues ranging from how producers, consumers, and agribusinesses manage risk and adapt to climate change to the impacts of new technologies, environmental regulations, federal laws on profitability and human well-being.
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Primary Position Function/Summary:
The primary function of the Senior Research Specialist is to conduct soybean research and manage day-to-day operations including, but not limited to, organizing team research, strategy and program design, financial and technical reporting, management duties, and communication support within SIL’s Managed Research Area 3 (MRA3).
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
Major Duties and Responsibilities:
Research Activities
  • Collaborate with partner institutions on SIL’s MRA3 agronomic SMART Farm trial design and implementation according to specific partner needs.
  • Collect and analyze agro-economic data to produce soybean innovation for partner institutions within associated budget requirements.
  • Collaborate with research project partners domestically and internationally to focus on improving soybean production practices and yield to reduce poverty and malnutrition.
  • Write reports for the project and USAID summarizing the outcomes of the research and provide recommendations for the next steps in advancing soybean research.
  •  Represent SIL in domestic and international meetings, workshops, and conferences.
Human Resources:
  • Manage 5-10 direct reports including Academic Professionals, Program Specialists, Program Coordinators, Visiting Scholars, Postdoctoral Research Associates, and Undergraduate Research Interns who collectively support the strategic and research goals of MRA3.
  • Manage short-term support staff including Contractors, Consultants, and other vendors who support MRA3 with various duties including survey enumeration, data collection, graphic design, website and app development, and service provision.
  • Set overall objectives and goals for staff, recruit and select new staff, and support career development, coaching, and mentoring in respective areas.
  • Lead proposal development for external funding opportunities to support MRA3 including narrative, budget, budget justification management and processing with SPA Proposal Coordinator team.
  • Oversee technical deliverable submissions tied to invoice payments from external and prime sponsors and management communication to sponsors with respect to financials.
  • Develop visual outreach and communication materials to effectively promote soybean agronomic and production guidance.
  • Lead conference calls, meetings, webinars, and other initiatives to expand the scope, scale, and impact of MRA3.
  • Develop, establish, and implement performance metrics to demonstrate effectiveness of MRA3.
Organizational Chart:
  • Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost
  • Dean, College of ACES
  • Head, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
  • Director of SIL
  • Associate Director, SIL
  • Senior Research Specialist
Position Requirements and Qualifications:
Required: Master’s degree in a relevant field such as soybean breeding, agronomy, or international development
Preferred: PhD degree in a relevant field such as soybean breeding, agronomy, or international development
Five years of experience in soybean research. Experience with international program development. Experience in program management, implantation, and evaluation with independent authority and decision-making ability. Experience working on multiple programs involving different timelines, budgets, deliverables and priorities. Experience with developing, implementing, and monitoring program budgets. Experience writing technical and non-technical pieces for internal and external reporting, marketing, promotion. Experience with monitoring and evaluation of programs and projects involving impact assessments and associated reporting.
Experience organizing and implementing events. Experience working in developing country contexts and/ or with developing country partners.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
 Excellent written communication skills. Excellent oral communication skills. Ability to implement and coordinate programs efficiently with a fast paced and dynamic organization. Strong organizational skills, ability to follow through, and strong work ethic. Knowledge of a second language is valued.
Salary and Appointment Details:
Salary is commensurate with experience. This is a 100%, full time, visiting 12-month academic professional position. This position may become non-visiting in the future dependent on funding and programmatic needs. The start date is as soon as possible after the close of the search.
To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by June 24, 2022.
To apply, please create a candidate profile at and upload a cover letter, a resume, and names and contact information for three references.
For additional information about the department see . For information about the position, please contact hiring manager Michelle da Fonseca Santos at
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