For more than a century, the people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) have transformed crops into products that serve the vital needs of a growing world. Today, we’re one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers, with approximately 40,000 employees serving customers in hundreds of countries. With a global value chain that includes approximately 450 crop procurement locations, more than 330 food and feed ingredient manufacturing facilities, 62 innovation centers and the world’s premier crop transportation network, we connect the harvest to the home, making products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. Learn more at

Director of Protein Research – Decatur, IL
ADM Research
This is a full time, exempt position

The Role Summary

The successful candidate will be an engaged thought leader who will champion a science-based approach to develop plant-based protein ingredients and solutions. Fundamental and applied knowledge in plant proteins from different botanical origins is essential for this role. This role requires an in-depth knowledge of protein fractionation/ concentration techniques and protein functionalization methods that are applied in industry. He/she will have a demonstrated track-record of incorporating new ingredients into new emerging food and nutritional product concepts, including non-meat protein alternatives as well as main-stream conventional food and beverage products. The position will require deep understanding of protein ingredients and will apply structure-function characterization approach to understand functionality in end-use applications, such as meats/ processed meats, alternative meats, texturized vegetable foods, dairy, confections, snacks, convenience foods and health & wellness food categories.

He/she will have a successful track record of developing new products in the alternative protein space and creating intellectual property for the company. This key leadership position will collaborate with cross functional teams from business, marketing, sales, and operations to deliver on business goals. He/she will champion a positive, results-driven culture in R&D that is supported by high performing teams, engaged colleagues and leadership.
He/she will ensure execution of protein research programs in-line with the business strategy by building a pipeline of next generation of ingredients for the alternative protein space. The successful candidate will coordinate a cross-functional and cross-regional collaboration of teams consisting of food ingredient scientists & chemists, nutritionists, process engineers, and technical service experts. Prospective applicants will have extensive knowledge of food ingredients as well as packaged foods, beverages and nutritional products, including functional foods and dietary supplements.

The applicants will be an accomplished leader with technical and business acumen to manage and optimize innovation pipeline according to business goals and market trends. The candidate will be drive research projects from ideation-to-launch backed with science and data-driven decision making. He/she will champion customer engagement and will demonstrate passion to accelerate development of new products.

The successful candidate will lead a team of ingredient developers and food scientists. This position will report to the VP of Food Research.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Lead food scientists and process chemists/engineers to deliver on active projects.
  • Manage and supervise teams in a matrixed type organization to deliver results.
  • Engage internal and external technical expertise to ideate on new ingredient, concepts/ technologies for new product and process discovery, or for improving existing products/processes.

  • Work with regional and global food ingredients teams to identify new growth opportunities, define-and-refine project scope & objective, understand project needs, assign core team to projects, and manage project timelines and deliverables.
  • Coordinate transformation of new product/technology from research to operations team and ensure- (1) successful scale-up, (2) meeting product costs, functionality and quality as predicted; (3) delivering on timelines and customer needs.
  • Responsible for maintaining a world class, industry leading lab instrumentation and structure-function characterization capability to understand ingredients chemistry, and predict functionality in end-use applications.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally with food research leaders and business stakeholders.
  • Support external communications while working with technical and marketing colleagues.
  • Support trade shows, web-based technical seminars/presentation, and white paper publications to promote ADM ingredients and ingredient solutions.
  • Identify and develop network of external partnerships with universities and other third party technology partners.
  • Build high performing culture in R&D organization
  • Manage talent by ensuring career development and advancement opportunities are available for the colleagues and ensure longer term retention of employees.

Required Competencies

  • Lead and champion a safety mindset in the organization.
  • Collaborate with project managers on new project kick-off to ensure technical plan and resources are aligned to deliver as per the agreed goals.
  • Monitor project progress on to assess overall feasibility, budget and timeline.
  • Coordinate and understand advanced research methods, lab proof-of-concept work and product scale-up.
  • Lead technical teams and communicate effectively within a matrixed team environment, including research, operations, marketing and commercial leadership.
  • Ability to draw valid scientific conclusions based on data and established facts.
  • Strong ability to oversee development of intellectual property related to new technologies, products and services.
  • Overseeing technical knowledge management by recording and documenting the technical know-how on new and existing products and processes.
  • Collaborate with peers and team members and deal effectively and persuasively with the cross functional teams.
  • Understand quality management systems, production plant procedure documentation, product specifications and corrective and preventative actions related to complaint resolution/customer feedback.
  • Knowledge of regulatory guidance for food ingredients as per governmental agencies (FDA, EFSA, etc.,)
  • Understand nutrition facts and food labelling requirements as per government regulations. Must understand food safety guidelines, HACCP, GMP and FSMA requirements.

Education and Industry Experience Requirements

  • PhD in Meat, Dairy or Grain Science is preferred. An equivalent degree with a major in material science, nutrition, biochemistry, chemistry or chemical engineering will also qualify.
  • 10+ years of experience in a technical leadership role in an R&D organization specializing in food ingredients, packaged food and beverages, or nutritional/ functional foods.
  • Experience in directly managing technical teams and interacting with peers and senior management of the organization.
  • Extensive knowledge and experience within the categories of foods, beverages and nutritional/ functional food products.

    Relocation assistance is available with this position.

    This position offers a complete benefit package, including 401K/ESOP, pension, health, life, vision, and dental insurance.

    ADM requires the successful completion of a pre-employment drug screen and a background check.

    ADM is an EOE for minorities, females, protected veterans and individuals with a disability.

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