Research Soil Scientist/Research Agronomist/Research Ecologist/Research Physical Scientist

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Employer
USAJobs
Location
Beltsville, Maryland
Posted
Nov 25, 2021
Closes
Dec 03, 2021
Function
Analyst, Research
Hours
Full Time
Duties

  • Assess and improve agroecosystem sustainability and resilience.
  • Establish methods for interpreting data from new and existing sensors to answer production and ecosystem questions, leveraging integrative modeling, machine learning and/or artificial intelligence approaches.
  • Uses high-resolution visual, thermal, lidar, and hyperspectral imagery collected by unmanned aerial systems to quantify surface conditions and plant physiological processes effecting the water, carbon, and nutrient cycles in agricultural ecosystems.
  • Incorporate this information into production tools used by farmers, producers, USDA action agencies, and other stakeholders and government agencies involved in making agricultural and/or land use decisions.


Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a US Citizen or US National.
  • Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt.
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution.
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/
  • Successful completion of a three year probationary period.
  • Federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of their duty location. If selected, you will be required to submit documentation of COVID-19 vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment, if after November 22.
  • The agency will provide additional information regarding what COVID-19 vaccination information or documentation will be needed and how you can request of the agency a legally required exception from this requirement.


Qualifications

Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

Additional Requirements

In addition to meeting the basic requirements, applicants must also meet additional qualification requirements as stated below.

GS-12: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service or possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or possess an equivalent combination of graduate level education and experience. Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped applicants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-12 level of this position are: Experience assessing and improving agroecosystem services using a variety of tools including remotely sensed data and the ability to integrate information from diverse disciplines; Experience completing research that results in peer-reviewed publications, scientific presentations at conferences, and oral reports.

GS-13: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-13 level of this position are: Experience assessing and improving agroecosystem services using a variety of tools including remotely sensed data and the ability to integrate information from diverse disciplines; Experience completing research that results in peer-reviewed publications, scientific presentations at conferences, and oral reports that impact the advancement of the field or are viewed as authoritative.

GS-14: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-14 level of this position are: Experience assessing and improving agroecosystem services using a variety of tools including remotely sensed data and the ability to integrate information from diverse disciplines; Experience collecting and interpreting agricultural implications of soil-, water-, or air-related observations; Experience producing publications as the primary author for those that impact the advancement of the field or are viewed as authoritative; Experience conceiving and formulating research ideas that advance the field of science or are used as a reference by other scientists.

GS-15: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-14 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-15 level of this position are: Experience assessing and improving agroecosystem services using a variety of tools including remotely sensed data and the ability to integrate information from diverse disciplines; Experience collecting and interpreting agricultural implications of soil-, water-, or air-related observations; Experience developing or refining soil, water, or air models as they influence agricultural practices; Experience producing publications as the primary author for those that impact the advancement of the field or are viewed as authoritative; Experience conceiving and formulating research ideas that advance the field of science or are used as a reference by other scientists; Experience participating in symposia that define the state of the discipline or introduce new areas in the field.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

To further support your qualifications, it is strongly recommended that you submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. Failure to do so could result in loss of your consideration/referral. Also, please submit a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons familiar with your stature, contributions, recognition; any honors or awards received; memberships in professional or honor societies; invitations to make presentations at scientific/technical meetings; scientific society office and committee assignments; presentations (other than invitation); and publications.
Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

Education

Basic Requirements

GS-0408 Series:
Degree: biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.

GS-0470 Series:
Degree: soil science or a closely related discipline that included 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, or earth science, with a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil fertility.
OR
Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in soil science or a related discipline that included at least 30 semester hours in the biological, physical, or earth sciences. At least 15 of these semester hours must have been in the areas specified in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

GS-0471 Series:
Degree: agronomy; or related discipline of science that included at least 30 semester hours of course work in the basic plant sciences, including at least 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, such as those dealing with plant breeding, crop production, and soil and crop management.
OR
Combination of education and experience: at least 30 semester hours in the basic plant sciences, including a minimum of 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

GS-1301 Series:
Degree: physical science, engineering, or mathematics that included 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science such as mechanics, dynamics, properties of materials, and electronics.
OR
Combination of education and experience -- education equivalent to one of the majors shown in A above that included at least 24 semester hours in physical science and/or related engineering science, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Additional information

This position requires the selectee to undergo a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. Any offer made is considered a tentative job offer pending the outcome of the pre-employment check. Retention in the position is based upon a favorable adjudication of the background investigation. The incumbent will be subject to periodic reinvestigations.
Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 71 out of a possible 100.
Recruitment or Relocation Incentive may be authorized. Final determination to pay an incentive will be made by the hiring official at time of job offer.

If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed.

This position may be eligible to telework up to four days per week, based upon the duties of the position. This position may also be eligible for flexible work arrangements as determined by agency policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

This is an interdisciplinary position and may be filled in any of the job series/position titles listed. In addition to the specialized experience requirements, applicants must submit proof that they meet the educational requirements for at least one of the series described in the announcement. Applicants may only be appointed to job series/position titles for which they meet all experience and educational requirements.

Research scientists have open-ended promotion potential. Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically. The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology. *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel.

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