Assistant Researcher - Spang Lab


Open date: November 16th, 2020

Next review date: Monday, Nov 30, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Friday, Dec 11, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The position of Assistant Researcher is 100 % time for employment starting January 1st, 2021 - December 31st, 2021. With a possibility of extension depending on funding.


The Professional Researcher develops and oversees their own independent, creative, and high-quality research program equivalent to that required for the Professor series. He/she takes major responsibility and leadership for his/her programs. Generally, the appointee is expected to secure funding as a Principal Investigator, but may be funded as a co-PI within a large center or collaborative program grant on which many independent investigators are working, as long as it is clear that the activities led by the professional researcher within the larger project constitute his/her own independent research program. Appointees do not have teaching responsibilities.



As a professional researcher in the Department of Food Science & Technology, the candidate will apply expertise in the analysis of organic waste material flows, composition of organic waste streams, advanced treatment of organic waste using conversion technologies (e.g. anaerobic digestion), and life-cycle assessment (LCA) of organic waste treatment options. The overarching goal of the candidate’s research is to inform the sustainable management of organic waste in California by limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, generating renewable biofuels, and increasing soil carbon storage.

Improving food waste treatment infrastructure systems is a key component of this position. For this reason, one overarching research goal will be to devise and conduct studies to efficiently assess the material and energy flows of organic and food waste systems to determine interventions and methods to reduce overall GHG emissions. Specifically, the candidate will carry out research on (i) correlating organic waste composition with biogas and energy production; (ii) assessing spatial-based greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste landscapes, including hauling food waste and food waste-derived coproducts for land application; and (iii) evaluating the environmental and economic impacts of organic waste treatment infrastructures deployed across a range of scales, including centralized and decentralized systems.

The candidate will design lab and field experiments and collect, analyze, and summarize data from experiments. The main outputs of the research will be peer-reviewed journal articles with the candidate as senior author, as well as recommendations to stakeholders on organic waste management practices and application of products for energy generation and utilization, soil treatment, and infrastructure development.

To acquire funding to support an independent research program the candidate will collaborate with senate faculty in departments including, but not limited to, Food Science and Technology, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and Civil & Environmental Engineering. The candidate will seek funding support from a variety of public agencies at the federal and state levels, as well as from private industry.

Other research duties may include:

  1. Managing research projects and budgets based on sound management principles;
  2. Supervising employees paid on sponsored projects;
  3. Writing and submitting progress reports to funding agencies;
  4. Training, consulting with, and advising graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with regard to experimental design and data analysis of studies conducted in his or her area of expertise.

Criteria for productivity will include quality of peer-reviewed research publications and presentations at national and international conferences, and funding from extramural sources.


The candidate will be a member and actively participate in the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE) and other professional societies as appropriate. The candidate will serve as a reviewer for research proposals and manuscripts. When appropriate, the candidate may be requested to coordinate seminars and laboratory meetings.


The candidate will engage in University service activities including committee service for the Food Science & Technology Department and the Food Loss and Waste Collaborative. Teaching full classroom courses is not an expectation of the position. The candidate will also engage in public outreach activities that include presenting scientific research results to the general public and providing relevant advice to individuals or public agencies.

Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in environmental engineering, agricultural engineering, biological systems engineering, or a related field, and experience with developing original life cycle assessment models (including familiarity with reference life cycle inventory databases), expertise in organic waste systems, experience collecting data in field and in lab.

Additional Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of anaerobic digestion and composting treatment methods for organic waste.
  • Experience with communicating with industry stakeholders, including but not limited to food processors, commodity groups, waste to energy professionals, and familiarity with California’s organic waste infrastructure is also desired.
  • Project management experience, including working with multidisciplinary teams.
  • Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience with spatial based modeling and assessment of food waste infrastructures.
  • Experience integrating systems required for development, installation, and operation of organic waste treatment systems.
  • Experience working with state, county, and city agencies to develop and submit documentation for permitting and interconnection agreements.


Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter (Optional)
  • Statement of Research (Optional)
  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.

Reference requirements

  • 3-5 letters of reference required


Original Article