Director of Plant R&D

The Role
We're looking for an outstanding Director of Plant R&D who combines superb technical, research, and analytical capabilities with a demonstrated ability to get the right things done quickly and effectively. An ability to embrace uncertainty and continued learning is vital to this role.  We’re looking for people who innovate and love solving hard problems! This person will be building and leading a team that will define plant-driven product and systems innovation. They will help define the goals for Plant R&D while overseeing experiment execution and analysis to improve crop quality in our indoor farming systems. The ideal candidate will have a background in horticulture research, plant biology, or plant physiology, with preference towards experience with controlled environments. 

  • Develop a comprehensive Plant R&D roadmap to convert the Plant R&D vision into reality and guide the efforts of a cross-disciplinary team
  • Oversee execution of roadmap, determining project priorities, and allocating resources accordingly
  • Represent R&D priorities and needs and align with departmental goals
  • Translate results into short-term and long-term product and strategic recommendations
  • Oversee experiments with a cross-functional team including mechanical engineers, software engineers, electrical engineers, and industrial designers
  • Explore new technologies and approaches and assess their applicability while remaining up-to-date on developments in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and in related areas of plant biology
  • Strategize with leadership on new directions for R&D
  • Report findings internally and communicate to external stakeholders
  • Possibly contribute to patent applications
  • Manage daily activities of the laboratory 

  • 8+ years of research experience in areas of plant science and/or biological science, controlled environment agriculture, or environmental horticulture science
  • MS or PhD (preferred) in Horticulture, Plant Sciences, or Plant Physiology
  • 4+ years managerial, mentoring, and development skills supervising technical teams or individuals, with the ability to lead and interact with cross-functional teams
  • Experience managing and overseeing multiple on-going initiatives simultaneously
  • 2+ years of experience in new product formulation/development with a startup or direct-to-consumer environment
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience with operating controlled environment agriculture systems
  • Strong communication skills that facilitate clear, confident interactions and knowledge exchange with technical and non-technical teams
  • Passion for plants

Preferred Qualifications: 
  • Experience growing hydroponic leafy greens, herbs, and microgreens
  • Preferred experience with fruiting crops 
  • An entrepreneurial mindset and spirit
  • Experience working/partnering with mechanical engineers, biologists, and industrial designers to design indoor farming hardware and solutions
  • Experience doing research for product development
  • Basic food safety experience and understanding of FDA and USDA regulations, ++ experience with Organic and Kosher foods

You are:
  • A decisive decision-maker -- able to prioritize and make the tough-calls when needed
  • A self starter. Highly self motivated to act independently in a small start-up environment, ready to drive product explorations, empowered to call meetings, and has the intuition to escalate issues when appropriate
  • Naturally curious and empathetic -- able to project yourself into other people's shoes and see the world through their eyes
  • Passionate about the intersection of plant, product, technology, and experience
  • Able to quickly understand, internalize, and communicate complex or technical concepts
  • A strategic, big-picture thinker with an eye for detail and obsession with getting things right
  • Well-versed in CEA, horticulture, or plant science, with curiosity, or experience in distributed agriculture, hardware, and product development
  • Very organized, thorough, and generally on top of things at all times
  • Capable of collaborating with and leading a diverse team of scientists, designers, engineers to achieve a product vision

Farmshelf is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer – Minority / Female / Disability / Veteran / Gender Identity / Sexual Orientation /

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