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Assistant Specialist - VICELAB

Position overview

Position title: Assistant Specialist
Salary range: The posted UC salary scales set the minimum pay determined by rank and step at appointment. See Table 24B. The salary range for this position is $59,800-$62,999. “Off-scale salaries”, i.e. a salary that is higher than the published system-wide salary at the designated rank and step, are offered when necessary to meet competitive conditions.
Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: February 1, 2023
Position duration: 2 years (with opportunity for extension)

Application Window

Open date: January 20, 2023

Most recent review date: Friday, Feb 3, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Friday, Jan 19, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The VICELAB tackles society's most pressing challenges in sustainability by leveraging cutting-edge technologies. Current foci include agrifood technology, geospatial analysis, climate smart practices in food-energy-water systems, ecosystem service quantification, community resilience, and inclusive innovation.

The Assistant Specialist duties will include, but are not limited to, assisting in smart farm development and deployment that will include project coordination, data collection, research equipment inventory and maintenance, and developing decision products for lead researchers. Assistant Specialist will provide direct supervision and management of both lab and field activities, not limited to chemical safety, field safety, and data integrity/management. Directed data collection, curation, and analysis will require use and deployment of RTK DGPS survey equipment, use of ArcGIS/ENVI/QGIS and/or Pix4D softwares, and use of R, Python, MatLab, or other mathematical and statistical softwares. Support of smart farm planning and develop will require high level interpretation and coordination of environmental engineering approaches, including but not limited to: preparing/reviewing technical reports, preparing and conducting data collection efforts, expanded engagement in project management (e.g., budget, quality assurance, EH&S, FAA) and preparing and conducting feasibility reports. Additional duty includes responsibility as lead operator for uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) and uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) for research purposes, responsibility as lead lab technician for all UAV/UAS inventory, its maintenance and performance, and integration into broader outreach efforts (i.e., CITRIS Aviation, FLY CITRIS) and coordination with UAV safety officers. Supervisory activities are required, as future obtainment of FAA Section 107 certification for UAV/UAS piloting as recognized by UC EH&S Drone Safety Center, ability to operate campus vehicles under campus policy, as well as successful participation in other applied research training activities such as CPR, First Aid, and MOTC. The Assistant Specialist will supervise as needed undergraduate and graduate student researchers in lab and field settings, developing and maintaining field safety protocols and best practices. The candidate will also assist in project development, writing project reports, technical publications, and academic articles as well as participate in science communication and training, including conferences, workshops, and industry events. They will also test new technologies and software as needed, providing leadership and guidance on research & development.

This is an exempt position, occasionally requiring an alternative work schedule on weekends and holidays.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy: All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.


Basic qualifications

Applicants should have obtained a Master’s degree in Environmental Systems or a related field. Highly self-motivated individuals who have demonstrated the ability to conduct scientific research with strong written and verbal communication skills are encouraged to apply. Experience in lab and field settings, spatial data processing and proficiency in GIS software (ESRI or QGIS), and one or more coding language (MatLab, R, Python, etc.). Ability to operate campus vehicles under campus policy is required, as is occasional travel and/or alternative work schedules.

Additional qualifications

Successful applicants should be able to obtain certifications in FAA UAV piloting, First Aid, CPR/AED, and MOTC.

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

Reference requirements
  • 2 required (contact information only)

A list of two references with contact information including phone number and e-mail address; references requests will be submitted through the Recruit system.

Apply link:

Help contact:

Campus Information

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

UC Merced is a smoke & tobacco free campus (

Job location

Merced, CA