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Postdoctoral Scholar in Inclusive Innovation for Climate Smart Food Systems

Position overview

Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar
Salary range: See Table 23 for the salary range for this position. A reasonable estimate for this position is $60,000 - $ 71,952.
Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: June 1, 2023
Position duration: 2 years

Application Window

Open date: March 23, 2023

Next review date: Wednesday, Dec 13, 2023 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, Mar 22, 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

We are seeking a highly skilled and motivated candidate for a two-year postdoctoral position to lead VISTA F3 research in Inclusive Innovation for Climate Smart Food Systems. VISTA F3, an emerging research center at UC Merced, is advancing the Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge for the San Joaquin Valley under F3 – Farms Food Future – initiative to advance inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship in university-led research and development in climate smart food systems. We believe that inclusive innovation emphasizes engaging diverse stakeholders in translational research and development, fostering more effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions to societal and environmental challenges. By addressing the needs of marginalized or underrepresented groups, we feel that this approach to innovation ensures broader benefit distribution and leaves no one behind. Inclusive innovation leads to adaptable, user-friendly technologies, products, and services, contributing to social equity, environmental sustainability, and overall well-being.

As such we seek a candidate that will have a strong background in innovation, management, economic and community development. Educational training in any allied field, such as economics, geography, management, political science, sociology, or systems engineering is desired, as is an understanding of agriculture, climate, environment, technology and their nexus with food systems broadly. A key research and development activity will be the advancement of transdisciplinary research that works with community advisors and industry partners in use-inspired research and economic and community development with a specific focus on inclusive innovation in the emerging agrifood technology and engineering sector.

The scholar will play a crucial role in the development of a strategic vision in advancing inclusive innovation, workforce development, access to technology and climate resilience to benefit a diverse ecosystem of food producers, processors, and related communities of the San Joaquin Valley region. As such, the scholar will come with experience and interest in economic and community development, climate smart agriculture, climate action, access and availability to technology, inclusive adoption of technologies, co-production of knowledge, social entrepreneurship, and/or related subdisciplines. This is a unique post-doctoral opportunity at the intersection of productive research and economic and community development actions while working with a vast network of partners.

Responsibilities of the position will include conducting original research that integrates social, economic, technical, and environmental aspects of inclusive innovation in climate smart food systems. This will require the ability to survey human subjects with confidentiality, use data analysis software collaboratively, and publish findings in high-quality journals and outreach publications. The successful candidate will be expected to work closely with community advisors from various backgrounds, including community leaders, policymakers, and technical experts.

Additional responsibilities include:
• Develop a strategic vision for pathways to prosperity and work with local community advisors to implement this vision;
• Conduct cutting-edge research and develop programs to promote inclusive innovation and workforce development in agrifood technology;
• Utilize quantitative and qualitative methods and skills, combined with expertise in climate resilience and agriculture, to analyze data and develop strategies to support the commercialization of innovative agrifood technologies;
• Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams of researchers, industry partners, and community organizations to promote sustainable economic growth and climate resilience in underserved communities;
• Apply human subjects research and social science techniques to understand the needs and perspectives of underserved communities, and use applied statistics to analyze data and inform decision-making;
• Participate in the training and development of the next generation of agrifood technology leaders;
• Collaborate with regional industrial cluster alliance to support the commercialization of innovative agrifood technologies; and
• Contribute to the field by publishing high-quality research in top-tier academic journals.

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

• Terminal degree (i.e., Ph.D., J.D.) in a relevant field such as anthropology, data science, economics, entrepreneurship, geography, law, management, political science, public health, social science, systems engineering, or other related disciplines;
• Strong background in applied statistics, computation, and/or data science;
• Proven knowledge of and proficiency in climate change issues and agricultural transformation; and
• Proven knowledge of and proficiency in human subjects research.

Preferred qualifications

• Ability to think critically and creatively, and to communicate complex ideas effectively in writing;
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to work effectively in a team environment;
• Experience working with underserved communities and a commitment to promoting social justice and equity; and
• Commitment to promoting social justice and equity through inclusive innovation.

Application Requirements

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

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research

  • Statement on Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion - Statement on your contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion. Please review the UC Merced Diversity Statement Guidelines and UC’s Commitment to Diversity

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)
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About UC Merced

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 is committed to interdisciplinary excellence in research and teaching as well as to diversity, equity and inclusion. Ranked as one of the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, 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 (

The University of California, Merced is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements. This includes the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs:

Job location

Merced, CA