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Human Capital Services

Research Assistant Professor

Apply now Department: 3670010090 Horticulture Natural Resources
Job no: 507051
Work type: Academic / Faculty - 12 month
Location: Olathe, Kansas
Categories: Agriculture, Research / Scientific / Grants, Horticulture, Food Safety, Food Science, Food Systems
Pay Grade: 001

About This Role:

The Food Science Institute within Kansas State University’s College of Agriculture is seeking applicants for a full-time 12-month non-tenure track research assistant professor position to be located at our Olathe campus (Kansas City metropolitan area). As an essential Food Science Institute team member, the successful individual will develop a nationally-recognized, stakeholder-informed research program in produce safety that will include characterizing and assessing the risks posed by microbial hazards and identifying and evaluating the efficacy of pre- and post-harvest controls.  This new program is expected to be complementary and build upon existing food science and horticulture research and extension programs at Kansas State University, including the Manhattan and Olathe campuses and the Olathe Horticulture Center. The successful candidate will develop and maintain an innovative, successful, and externally funded research program that directly addresses the needs of Kansas producers, especially small-scale, diversified produce and mixed crop and animal farms.  The program is expected to attract graduate students, post docs, industry collaborations, and other strategic partners. The successful candidate will work closely with faculty at the Manhattan and Olathe campuses and at the Olathe Horticulture Center, broadening the expertise and capabilities of Kansas State University in addressing produce industry food safety challenges and delivering practical solutions across the region.

Major responsibilities


  • Develop a well-recognized produce safety research program that addresses the needs of the produce and related industries in the greater Kansas City area, as well as the region
  • Establish and maintain a competitive, extramurally-funded research program focused on produce safety and that is complimentary to and builds upon activities in the Food Science Institute, Horticulture and Natural Resources, and other related departments
  • Develop strong relationships with production, processing, and marketing segments of the produce industry in the greater Kansas City area and throughout Kansas, with a focus on small-scale, diversified produce and mixed crop and animal farms
  • Lead and be a productive team member of collaborative research and extension/outreach projects with Food Science Institute scientists and other faculty members from related departments located across K-State, including the K-State Olathe Horticulture Center and the main campus in Manhattan, KS
  • Participate in all facets of graduate education by chairing and serving on graduate committees, supervising thesis and dissertation research, and publishing the results with graduate students
  • Create an environment that fosters diversity, collegiality and ability to work in a multicultural setting



  • Provide guest lectures for the College and relevant K-State courses
  • Provide support for other educational and outreach activities related to FSMA, microbial risk assessment, food microbiology, and food safety
  • Participate in and provide service to professional societies, commodity groups, or other related organizations and agencies
  • Contribute to college and university committees and working groups
  • Participate in professional development activities

Why Join Us:

The Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources originated in 1871 making it one of the first and oldest departments at Kansas State University.  Today, as our mission statement underscores, we are committed to educating outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, contributing significant research results to solve problems associated with our disciplines, and providing our constituencies across the state, region and national with excellent extension programs.

Our diverse department conducts its activities at a variety of locations with facilities on the main campus in Manhattan and outlying research and education centers.

We Support Diversity and Inclusion:

Kansas State University embraces diversity and promotes inclusion.  The University actively seeks individuals who foster a collegial environment and cooperative interactions with coworkers, students, and others.  The University is dedicated to promoting the Principles of Community.

What You’ll Need to Succeed:

Minimum Requirements:

  • Ph.D. in food science, food microbiology, horticulture, or a closely related field
  • Qualified for membership in the Kansas State University (K-State) Graduate Faculty
  • Demonstrated excellence in independent and/or team research
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work as a member of multidisciplinary teams, including external stakeholders and collaborating institutions
  • Experience in produce safety research, experimental design, and statistical analysis
  • Knowledge of, or demonstrated expertise in microbial risk assessment
  • Knowledge of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), particularly the Produce Safety Rule
  • Grant writing experience and a demonstrated record of peer-reviewed publications of original research
  • Desire and ability to advance the university’s commitment to collegiality, diversity, and inclusivity

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Established research record in the area of produce safety
  • Experience in applying microbial risk assessment for improving produce safety
  • Research experience advancing our knowledge of the fate and transmission of microbial hazards in produce production and/or processing environments
  • Knowledge of, or demonstrated expertise in microbial ecology and/or microbiome studies, especially related to produce production and/or processing environments
  • Two-year minimum postdoctoral position, previous academic appointment, or equivalent professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to attract research funding, particularly in produce safety
  • Record of effective mentorship

Other Requirements:

  • Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States at the time of employment

How to Apply:

Please submit the following documents:

  1. Cover letter to include an explanation of how your research experience and expertise aligns with the position
  2. Curriculum Vita
  3. List and contact information for 3 references

Review of Applications Begins:

July 19, 2019

Equal Employment Opportunity:

Kansas State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans and actively seeks diversity among its employees.

Background Screening Statement:

In connection with your application for employment, Kansas State University will procure a Background Screen on you as part of the process of considering your candidacy as an employee.

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