KernzaCAP Research Project Manager

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Green Lands Blue Waters seek to hire a Research Project Manager for an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research, education, and extension project. This is a 1.0 FTE term position with funding for 5 years with potential for extension. A single 1.0 FTE position is preferred but the position could be filled by two candidates working less than 1.0 FTE each. Candidates who can work in the Twin Cities are preferred. However, if working remotely, intermittent travel for COVID-safe team meetings may be required and regular travel will be expected post-COVID.

This position is funded by a USDA Coordinated Agricultural Project grant to integrate nation- wide activities to launch the enterprise of the world’s first large-scale perennial grain crop called Kernza®. This highly interdisciplinary project is based at the University of Minnesota and includes six other universities and numerous other organizations and individuals representing a broad range of stakeholder groups including nonprofits, farmers, businesses and policy makers. The project includes research, education, and outreach/extension activities that fall within six core objectives: 1) advance germplasm and trait evaluation, 2) enhance agronomic and on-farm knowledge, 3) improve environmental quality, 4) engage education, extension and policy, 5) develop supply chains and economic drivers, and 6) activate transformative change through intentional integration. Further information is available on the project website, The person in this position will lead and collaborate on central tasks necessary for the full project’s successful operation and will coordinate across all objectives and stakeholders. This position will be supervised by and will work closely with the management team on the following areas (with % time distributed approximately equally among them):

Project management – 20%

  • Design and launch project management tools, manage and promote active collaborator use of project infrastructure
  • Design and manage tracking for project-wide activities, milestones and progress
  • Lead project-wide grant reporting, supported by Objective Groups
  • Manage and track project budgets.

Network weaving (coordination of collaborators) – 20%

  • Coordinate and join regular Management Team and Coordination Team meetings
  • Support Objective Teams in coordinating grant activities
  • Support Advisory Committee meetings and new Subgroups as they develop – including the Race & Equity, Communications, and Data Management teams
  • Assist Objective Teams in catalyzing and tracking intentional integration: group- to-group collaboration and flow of information and resources between objective groups and with external stakeholders
  • Continually scan for points of intersection and leverage, as well as gaps and bottlenecks, across the project to catalyze higher-level integrative thinking
  • Understand KernzaCAP’s role in the context of Kernza and perennial cropping systems work beyond the scope of this grant, represent the project and connect dots across initiatives and networks

Internal and external team communications – 15%

  • Function as a primary point of contact for the project internally and externally
  • Produce basic project communication materials and regular updates internally and externally
  • Contribute to the dissemination of project results through publications and presentations

Research roles – 15%

  • Assist with and/or oversee data analysis from research trials
  • Synthesize data between and across objective teams
  • It is expected that the person in this position will be actively contributing to publications and will be lead or co-author on many publications resulting from this project.

Data management – 15%

  • Assist coordination team in developing and managing a platform for data collection, curation, and sharing across the project. Data products are wide ranging, including large genetics datasets, various models and model outputs, and surveys and evaluation synthesis products.
  • Coordinate the timely backup and curation of metadata and data products from project team members.
  • Help develop and support data sharing and ownership policies and publication and authorship agreements.

Evaluation and synthesis – 15%

  • Work closely with evaluation and integration teams to design and implement project evaluation.
  • Assist with capturing and synthesizing integrative learnings from this project into a model and publications documenting best practices for the development of future perennial crops.

BA/BS and 5 years of experience in agricultural systems
Proven track record working with interdisciplinary, cross-sector teams Experience with complex projects
Experience with holistic, high-level systems thinking

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS (seeking a person with at least some of the following):
PhD, or MA/MS with 5 years experience in a field related to agricultural systems
Demonstrated leadership success managing interdisciplinary teams and complex projects
Documented record of diversity work and an understanding of the barriers to success of minorities in the fields of higher education and agriculture
Record of scientific publications
Experience with USDA or other federal grants
Educational experience

Salary is in the $60-65,000 range (1.0 full time equivalent salary) and commensurate with experience and qualifications. Available benefits include University retirement; group life, medical, and dental insurance plans. Detailed benefits information is available at:

Apply online at 

Review of applications will begin December 1st, 2020 and continue until the position is filled. Direct inquiries to: Dr. Jacob Jungers,

The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.