Market Opportunity Development Specialist





Job ID 327472

  POSITION: Market Opportunity Development Specialist

  REVIEW OF APPLICATIONS: Review will begin December 14, 2018; applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  

  LOCATION: This position will be located in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, on the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul, Minnesota.  

OVERVIEW: The Forever Green Initiative ( is working to establish an “accelerator” group of dedicated staff that will advance commercialization of selected continuous-living-cover crops for Midwest agriculture. These crops are intended to augment current crop production systems with additional economically viable crops that increase the extent and duration of productive vegetation cover in these production systems. These continuous-living-cover crops have high potential to provide major economic, social, and resource conservation benefits when integrated into current Midwest agricultural systems, and include perennial and winter-annual crops that are being developed by the Forever Green Initiative (FGI). The FGI Commercialization Accelerator group will advance commercialization of these crops; working collaboratively and proactively with a wide variety of partners beyond the University; to identify and develop end-use markets and associated supply chains, to define sustainable business models for these crops, and to implement IP strategies. The FGI Accelerator group will also help to identify research and development that is critical to advance commercialization, and help to obtain resources for that R&D. Overall, the FGI Accelerator group will closely collaborate with other members of the FGI network to provide the cohesion, strategic focus, and adaptive capacity needed to successfully commercialize these crops, thereby bringing large economic, environmental, and social benefits to Midwest agriculture, rural communities, and society in general. The Market Opportunity Development Specialist position is a temporary (two-year) full-time position within the FGI Accelerator Group. The Specialist will work closely with a Supply Chain Development Specialist in the Accelerator Group, and with other FGI staff and associates.  

RESPONSIBILITIES: The Market Opportunity Development Specialist will have three primary areas of responsibility. First, the Specialist will conduct a rapid assessment of all current FGI crops to identify the most promising market opportunities for these crops related to multiple end uses, including human food, livestock feed, energy, fiber, and bio-based industrial products (30% FTE.) Second, the Specialist will develop and report more extensive market opportunity assessments for crops where promising near-term market opportunities are found to coincide with good near-term opportunities to develop viable supply chains. This job duty will involve extensive engagement with end-use firms and other relevant parties to proactively explore market opportunities with such firms. Relevant crops are likely to include the following: intermediate wheatgrass, winter camelina, pennycress, winter barley, winter pea, hybrid hazelnut, alfalfa; additional FGI crops may be addressed as resources permit. Market opportunity reports will: a) identify viable products that contain or could contain the crop or its co-products; b) estimate potential market size, scope, and time frame for product development; and c) identify and characterize activities of companies, if any, that are already working with that crop (or its processed products). Reports will highlight the most promising near-term opportunities for each crop (40% FTE.) Third, the Specialist will collaborate with the Supply Chain Development Specialist and other FGI network members to organize and implement cross-institution and cross-sector collaborations for advancing commercialization of highest-priority FGI crops by coordinated market and supply-chain development (30% FTE.)   

Required:  BS/BA degree with at least 6 years of relevant experience required. Academic training and work experience in relevant fields such as marketing, market research, or business administration. 

Desired: Relevant advance academic training including but not restricted to MBA, M.S. Strong analytical skills, entrepreneurial ability, ability to communicate with a wide range of sectors and stakeholders, and excellent written communication skills.

SALARY: Competitive, commensurate with background and level of experience.

APPLICATION: Apply through the University of Minnesota online employment system, responding to Job ID 327472 (classification Business Dev Spec 1), and include (as a single PDF) a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information for three professional references.   

For more information about the position, please contact Dr. Nick Jordan by email ( or phone (612-625-3754). For assistance in the online application process, please contact Ms. Jeanne Davy at, or 612-625-1937.

NOTE: The University provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs and facilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. People from groups that are underrepresented in agronomy are strongly encouraged to apply.