Agronomy & Plant Genetics President's Postdoctoral Fellowship

Date: June 2022
Classification & Title: 9546, postdoctoral associate
Working Title/Specialty: President's Postdoctoral Fellow
FLSA Status: Exempt, 100%
Type: Academic with the possibility of Tenure Track Faculty after two years upon successful progression determined by Department Head in collaboration with CFANS Dean
Reports to: Robert Stupar
College/Admin Unit: College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS)
Campus Location: St. Paul Campus
Job Opening ID: NA -- applicants will submit application through University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program website

College Overview
We acknowledge that the University of Minnesota Twin Cities is built within the traditional homelands of the Dakota people. It is important to acknowledge the peoples on whose land we live, learn, and work as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with our tribal nations.

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) is composed of 13 academic departments, 10 research and outreach centers across Minnesota, plus the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Bell Museum, and dozens of interdisciplinary centers that span the college, the university, and the globe. 

CFANS offers thirteen undergraduate majors and thirteen graduate majors, three pre-major/pre-professional programs and 23 minors for undergraduate students. Undergraduate enrollment in the college is about 2000 students. CFANS students are well-prepared for a diverse, multicultural workforce through the college’s emphasis on experiential, interdisciplinary, and intercultural learning; internships and global perspectives.

CFANS Commitment to the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP)
At CFANS, we aim to inspire minds, nourish people, and enhance the natural environment, and we believe that's only possible if everyone feels seen, heard and respected. Our College embraces equity and diversity and prioritizes purpose-driven scientific discovery in order for us to build a better tomorrow, together. We align with the University of Minnesota (UMN) in providing equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment 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. 

This is a two-year position starting with an initial, renewable 12-month appointment with the possibility of a tenure track position which could require a seminar or job talk the spring of your second year.  The University of Minnesota respects faculty governance and has incorporated such into the PPFP review process for a potential offer of a faculty tenure track position.  The Department Head and faculty will conduct an annual review of your progress in February of the first year.  In February of the second year, the Department Head, in conjunction with the PPFP supervisor and CFANS Dean, will complete a progress review.  If the review concludes that the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow is successful in the responsibilities described for the position, they will  be offered the opportunity to present a research and teaching seminar for review and evaluation by the department faculty, and upon agreement a tenure-track faculty position with the University of Minnesota.

Department Overview
The Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics has 24 faculty members with expertise in breeding, genetics/genomics, biotechnology, agronomy/agroecology, weed science and crop physiology. Faculty conduct basic and applied research that is translated to crop improvement and improved agronomic practices for upper Midwestern agriculture. Faculty in the department are members of the Applied Plant Science, and Plant and Microbial Biology graduate programs. The faculty teach in the Plant Science, and Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture interdepartmental undergraduate programs.

Position Overview
The Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota is seeking an agronomist, weed scientist, biochemist, biotechnologist, physiologist, geneticist/genomicist, breeder, or bioinformatician within the realm of climate smart agriculture.

The University seeks applicants whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in higher education and at the University of Minnesota. Our goal is to recruit diverse applicants who may be considered for tenure track positions at the University of Minnesota. The President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is interested in scholars with the potential to bring to their research and teaching the perspective that comes from their educational background or understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education. Post-Doctoral Associates conduct research and/or service that provides further development of career skills or allows them opportunities to learn new research techniques. They are trained by and work in conjunction with a faculty mentor who determines the training agenda. This position does require the PPFP recipient to be in residence in Minnesota. Participating departments in the PPFP program have a commitment to providing professional development and mentoring to the selected fellow which will include:

1. Mentoring plan
The department will have multiple tiers of support, mentoring, professional development and academic networking opportunities for the fellow including: a welcoming committee, mentoring committee, department head, personnel committee, and host laboratories. Our overall goal is to provide the type of mentoring, professional development and academic networking that will ensure success.

a. Welcoming committee. This committee will be composed of faculty members, a graduate student, staff member and postdoc. This committee will be primarily responsible for helping the fellow become comfortable with the basic workings (eg., grant submissions, seminar schedules, Minnesota Supercomputer Institute account, growth chamber, greenhouse and field rental, etc.) of the department, college and University. The welcoming committee will also host a department-wide coffee to introduce the fellow to the department.

b. Mentoring committee. This committee will meet with the fellow quarterly and discuss research progress and future plans. The Fellow will be asked to develop an Individual Development Plan that the mentoring committee can use to benchmark progress.

c. Personnel committee. This is a standing committee in the department that is tasked with evaluating faculty in the department. The fellow will be evaluated yearly by the personnel committee and feedback will be provided by the Head in an annual one-on-one meeting.

d. Head. The head will formally meet with the fellow twice per year (and more frequently if needed) to discuss research progress, issues, and answer questions. The head will also meet with the Fellow to provide a yearly evaluation.

e. Host labs. The fellow will be aligned with two host labs that share aspects of the fellow’s research area. The fellow will attend lab meetings. In addition, space in the host labs will also help integrate the fellow with other faculty labs on campus.

f. Seminar. In year 1, the fellow will be asked to present a seminar in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics seminar series, which will be accompanied by a reception. This will introduce the fellow to the larger plant sciences community and campus.

g. Networking. Networking opportunities exist within the department and campus including: (1) social activities; (2) seminars; (3) membership in campus institutes and initiatives (e.g., the Forever Green Initiative, or the Center for Precision Plant Genomics).

2. Teaching and research plan and expectations
a. Teaching plan and expectations. In year one, the PPF will participate in at least one University workshop focused on teaching and in year two will co-teach, with a senior faculty member, a graduate level course in their area of expertise. Thus, the Fellow will receive mentoring and instruction during the first year and then teach with an experienced faculty member in year two. With the goal to improve the Fellow’s teaching, a peer review will be conducted by two faculty in the department and feedback provided to the Fellow.

b. Research plan and expectations. The PPF will develop an individual research plan focused on agronomy, weed science, biochemistry, biotechnology, plant physiology, plant genetics/genomics, plant breeding, or bioinformatics applied to climate smart agriculture. The mentoring committee and Head will evaluate the individual research plan, provide feedback and use it to benchmark progress. The PPF will be encouraged to develop collaborations with faculty on campus and at other Universities and Institutes. The PPF will work in a host lab that shares the PPF’s research interests, attend lab meetings, and be encouraged to develop collaborations with faculty members in the department, on campus and at other Universities and Institutes.

Note: These are not positions to which permanent residency can be granted for international appointees, however all applicants are encouraged to apply, regardless of their citizenship status.

CFANS is committed to the University of California mentoring mission of the postdoctoral fellowship program, The identified mentor will be named after final candidate selection.  While applying through the University of California portal, applicants for this position are asked to use Brian Buhr ([email protected]) where a template letter of support from the college will be provided.  After interview and selection, our finalist will receive a single letter of support from their identified University of Minnesota faculty mentor.

The PPF will develop a research program with a focus on climate smart agriculture for upper midwestern landscapes. The PPF will participate in professional development activities to improve their teaching and co-teach a graduate level course.

Required Qualifications:
●    Ph.D. in agronomy, weed science, biochemistry, biotechnology, plant physiology, plant genetics/genomics, plant breeding, bioinformatics or a related discipline.
●    Demonstrated commitment to advancing and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion including the ability to work respectfully and effectively with individuals with diverse identities and underrepresented groups.
●    Demonstrated research emphasis in agronomy, weed science, biochemistry, biotechnology, plant physiology, plant genetics/genomics, plant breeding, bioinformatics or a related discipline

Preferred Qualifications:
●    Strong publication record in disciplines related to the position
●    Evidence of potential to initiate and sustain extramurally funded research
●    Evidence of ability to teach undergraduate and graduate level courses

A competitive salary will be offered.

The University of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package for postdoctoral associates including:
•    Competitive wages, paid holidays
•    Low cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
•    Health care and dependent daycare flexible spending accounts
•    Wellbeing program with reduced insurance premiums
•    Tuition reimbursement opportunities covering 75% of eligible tuition
•    Opportunities for growth and promotion
•    Employee Assistance Program

For more information regarding benefits, see Summary of Benefits.

How to Apply
Applications for the President’s and Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs must be submitted via the online application.

The online application for the next award cycle is available each year from September through November. The application deadline is November 30. 

Applicants may apply to multiple participating institutions with the same application provided they submit separate mentor letters and research proposals.  For consideration of this opportunity, please select the University of Minnesota and the subdivision Agronomy for application consideration.  Mentor letters for CFANS PPFP applicants should list Brian Buhr ([email protected]) to receive a general letter of support from the College.  Final selected candidates will then have an identified mentor, and receive a letter of support after the selection process has concluded.

Required application materials
The application deadline is November 30, 2022.  Your application is not complete until all required documents have been received by the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs.  Please review the application requirements PDF before beginning the online application.

Be prepared to provide the following required documents in PDF:

  • Thesis abstract – one page
  • Research Proposal – 700-1,000 words (not including references and citations)
  • Education and Background Statement – 500-700 words describing your personal background and contributions to diversity and equal opportunity through your academic career
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Writing sample – sample publication or unpublished paper, please limit to 35 pages (not including references and citations)

The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment 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. To learn more about diversity at the U:

Employer Requirements
Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to report complete vaccination against COVID-19 or submit documentation requesting a medical or religious exemption on their first day of employment. To learn more, please visit the University's COVID-19 Response webpage.