Job description


  • Entry level
  • No Education
  • Salary to negotiate
  • Chicago


College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (Soybean Innovation Lab, SIL) is the United States Agency for International Development’s only comprehensive program dedicated to soybean research for development and has a current funding portfolio of $16M. The Soybean Innovation Lab is building a foundation for soybean production in Africa by developing the knowledge, innovation, and technologies to enable successful soybean production. As part of the Feed the Future initiative, the Soybean Innovation Lab works to reduce global poverty and hunger by accelerating growth in the agriculture sector through improvements in agricultural productivity among smallholder farmers. SIL has research partnerships with multiple government and private agencies globally.

The Soybean Innovation Lab “SIL” seeks a Visiting Research Specialist to conduct and manage research efforts and track the project’s performance. Actively participate in research meetings along with the three core partner institutions, manage internal and external communications with research partners in the U.S. and Africa, and support the project’s research communication efforts.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

Major Duties and Responsibilities Include:

Research management including data collection, analysis, reporting

- Network, follow-up, and enter into teaming agreements/partnerships with research and development partners capable of scaling mechanization technology and connecting fabricators and buyers
- Develop, maintain, and utilize a database of research partner data including trained mechanization fabricators and private- and public-sector mechanization partners (both current & future)
- Develop, maintain, and utilize a database of performance, engineering, and economic mechanization data sourced from global network of partners, ensuring consistent methodology in data collection
- Update, maintain, and utilize a database of country-specific mechanization fabrication costs, ensuring consistent methodology in data collection
- Collect monitoring & evaluation data related to the Soybean Innovation Lab’s mechanization program
- Develop research materials (reports, databases, case studies, network lists) and support dissemination of research information through SIL’s research information portal and other communication platforms
- Support in-country research partners to develop and publish end-user mechanization operations & maintenance manual through print and video formats
- Support PIs and in-country research partners in responding to research inquiries regarding mechanization design (performance, engineering, and economics)
- Support rollout of updated fabrication patterns and manuals and support in-country partners in developing streamlined production processes to speed up manufacturing
- Update, maintain, and utilize country-specific mechanization fabrication cost database by identifying new suppliers of crucial parts by country/region and supporting in-country partners to connect them with fabrication network
- Maintain consistent and regular communication with in-country partners through a variety of mediums
- Support the development and implementation of mechanization trainings with in-country research partners, serving as primary research contact and reporting on all aspects post-training
- Write research related performance and progress reports based on progress towards research goals

New Research Project Development, Management, Administration and Communication including:

- Engage with research partners to develop new initiatives to advance SIL goals and objectives
- Support development of internal and external research communications including print and web-based media (newsletter articles, blog posts, webpage development, etc.)
- Manage administrative tasks of research grant execution to comply with University and funding agency guidelines, deadlines, and regulations; including but not limited to the Scopes of Work, reporting, subaward and purchase order management, and budget management
- Expand, both in scale and in time, the project through by working on proposal writing and other methods of acquisition of additional funding
- Occasional supervision of student hourly employees as needed
- Engage in outreach and extension activities and demonstrations in order to manage the timely dissemination of research results about the project for SIL stakeholders
- Organize and participate in quarterly meetings to review data collection and perform an analysis of data

Other duties as assigned

Position Requirements and Qualifications:


Required: Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Management, or Related Field.

Preferred: Master’s degree in Agriculture, Management, or Related Field.


Required: Experience is required in an agricultural field, international development, research program management, or related field.

Preferred: Direct Agriculture Experience. Research Communications. Budget management. Report writing. Website management. Print Publications. Experience managing/coordinating other projects. Proficiency in information and communication technologies.

Knowledge Requirements

Required: Ability to act independently and use sound judgment in responding on behalf of project. Self-starter. Efficient worker. Excellent analytical skills and abilities. Excellent English writing and communications skills. Strong interpersonal and teamwork skills

Salary/Appointment: Commensurate with education and experience. The proposed starting date will be as soon as possible. This position is a 100% twelve-month professional appointment.

All application materials (resume, cover letter, and references) must be submitted by November 22, 2019. To view the full description, qualifications and to submit an application, please visit: For any questions, please contact Melissa Warmbier at

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

College Name or Administrative Unit:ACES Category:6-Research Title:Visiting Research Specialist SIL - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (124303) Open Date:11/08/2019 Close Date:11/22/2019 Organization Name:Agr and Consumer Economics

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