Temporary Job: Organic Researcher on SCOAR OFRF Project

SCOAR is a collaboration of producers and scientists whose mission is to plan and promote research and information exchange for understanding and improving organic agricultural systems.

Temporary Position Opening: Organic Farming Research Foundation Lead Researcher for a project documenting the many potential benefits of organic agriculture

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) seeks a Lead Researcher to conduct a comprehensive review of U.S., Canadian, and European scientific literature on the environmental and social impacts of organic agriculture, including economic impacts on farms and society as a whole (“multifunctionality”). The Lead Researcher will produce an approximately 40-page report on the potential multiple benefits of organic agriculture in North America with specific policy and research recommendations and an annotated bibliography. Applications are due to OFRF June 18. The position will begin July 1. Project completion is expected to be March 2011.


OFRF is posing the question of organic agriculture, as the European Union did of all agriculture in the 1990s, “What are its functions and which functions merit public support?” Demonstrable environmental, economic, and social functions of agriculture that are beneficial may include significant levels of carbon sequestration, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved soil and water quality, wildlife and biodiversity conservation, greater farm profitability, and more rural employment opportunities. Analysis of these services, or the lack of them, will also include a quantification of the economic impacts on farms and society as a whole.

Lead Researcher responsibilities include:

Develop a timeline for research and report completion within project budget and overall project timeline

Hire and direct research assistants to help compile the bibliography

Assess the quality of available literature and select the most rigorous citations to use in the analysis

Analyze the content of published literature to generate an assessment of the environmental, social, and economic impacts of organic agriculture

Use this analysis to draft research and policy recommendations

Incorporate comments from reviewers into final document as appropriate

Identify areas where there are gaps in the published data and recommend areas of future research

The successful candidate for the Lead Researcher position will work with OFRF staff and an advisory committee comprised of scientists and communications specialists throughout the project. Specialists identified by the advisory committee, staff, and the Lead Researcher will review preliminary drafts of the report.

Qualifications sought include:

Demonstrated experience in conducting academic research and analysis

Excellent writing and other communication skills

Familiarity with organic agriculture and concepts related to “multifunctionality” such as ecosystem services, assessing externalized costs of production, agricultural life cycle analyses

Experience managing support staff

Experience working with a team

Demonstrated ability to work within tight timelines and stay on schedule

Openness to external review and critique of one’s work

The Lead Researcher will have the opportunity to present a draft version of the report at the Tri Societies Annual Conference in early November 2010.

This will be a contracted position with compensation for completion being $21,000. An additional budget of $9,000 is available to support research assistants. The project may be managed from a location other than Santa Cruz if necessary.

Applications will be due to OFRF June 18, 2010. The position will begin July 1. Project completion is expected to be March 2011.

To apply

Interested and qualified candidates should submit a cover letter, résumé, curriculum vitae, and writing samples relevant to the qualifications outlined above.  Please send applications via email by June 18, 2010, to Maureen Wilmot, maureen@ofrf.org. For confidential related inquiries or additional information, phone Maureen Wilmot at 831-426-6606.

OFRF is committed to providing equal opportunity employment opportunities to candidates and employees without regard to race, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, or national origin citizenship. OFRF encourages women and minorities to apply for employment opportunities with our organization. For more information on OFRF please visit our website at ofrf.org

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