Agricultural Research Service Research Ecologist / Research Entomologist in Brookings, South Dakota
Summary This position is located with the Agricultural Research Service, Integrated Cropping Systems Research Unit in Brookings, SD. The incumbent contributes expertise in entomology and ecology pertaining to invertebrate biology and the development of IPM and sustainable cropping systems based upon sound ecological principles. Responsibilities Develop fundamental knowledge of soil invertebrate communities and their interactions within ecosystems of the Northern Plains. Determine how soil invertebrate communities influence plant health and crop production in the Northern Plains. Determine the influence of agricultural practices in the Northern Plains, such as use of cover crops, no-till, alternative crops, and organic production, on the structure and function of soil communities. Quantify exposures and responses of non-target soil-dwelling organisms to pesticides in agricultural systems of the Northern Plains. Prepare written work products based on research to be reviewed and/or published in professional articles, publications, and trade journals. Requirements Conditions of Employment Qualifications Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below. Basic Requirements 408 (Ecology) Series: Degree: biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences. 414 (Entomology) Series: Degree: entomology; or a related discipline of the biological or physical sciences that included at least 16 semester hours in entomology. OR Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major that included course work as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Evaluation of Education: Applicants with major fields of study in biology, zoology, or invertebrate zoology may fully meet the basic educational requirements if their academic preparation included substantive instruction (including appropriate laboratory and field work) in basic general entomology, taxonomy, physiology, ecology, general and organic chemistry, general physics, and mathematics or statistics that provided some training in the analysis of variables. Additional Requirements In addition to meeting the basic requirements described above, applicants must also meet additional qualification requirements as stated below. GS-12: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service or possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or possess an equivalent combination of graduate level education and experience. Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped applicants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-12 level of this position are: Producing scientific publications as the primary author or contributor that fill in gaps in the field of invertebrate biology, ecology, and management; conditions that affect invertebrate communities in soil; and/or the impact of soil invertebrate communities on plant health. Experience planning, conducting, and reporting research to identify and quantify key factors influencing the biology of soil invertebrate communities in cropped or non-cropped areas, including but not limited to quantifying exposures and/or responses to exogenous compounds. Being recognized through citation as a contributor to projects, or peer-reviewed publications in the identified fields of research. GS-13: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-13 level of this position are: Experience leading research in soil invertebrate biology, ecology, and management; Performing advanced data analysis and statistics; Serving as primary authorship of peer-reviewed journal articles that advance the science of soil invertebrate biology or ecology; Experience collaborating with multiple organizations and interacting with stakeholders; Being invited to present information to professional societies within and outside the organization. Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. To further support your qualifications, it is strongly recommended that you submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. Failure to do so could result in loss of your consideration/referral. Also, please submit a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons familiar with your stature, contributions, recognition; any honors or awards received; memberships in professional or honor societies; invitations to make presentations at scientific/technical meetings; scientific society office and committee assignments; presentations (other than invitation); and publications. Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Education Please see above for education qualification requirement information. This is an interdisciplinary position and may be filled in any of the job series/position titles listed. In addition to the specialized experience requirements, applicants must submit proof that they meet the educational requirements for at least one of the series described in the announcement. Applicants may only be appointed to job series/position titles for which they meet all experience and educational requirements. Additional Information Research scientists have open-ended promotion potential. Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically. The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology. *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel. This position requires the selectee to undergo a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. Any offer made is considered a tentative job offer pending the outcome of the pre-employment check. Retention in the position is based upon a favorable adjudication of the background investigation. The incumbent will be subject to periodic reinvestigations. CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE REPORT: Federal employees are subject to prohibitions against officially dealing with outside organizations in which they have a financial interest. If hired for this position, you may be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of the effective date of your appointment and annually thereafter. Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 71 out of a possible 100. Recruitment or Relocation Incentive may be authorized. Final determination to pay an incentive will be made by the hiring official at time of job offer. This position may be eligible to telework up to four days per week, based upon the duties of the position. This position may also be eligible for flexible work arrangements as determined by agency policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreements.