The incumbent serves as a Supervisory Research Soil Scientist/Agricultural Engineer (Research Leader) for the Cropping Systems and Water Quality Research Unit (CSWQRU) in Columbia, MO. As a Research Leader, provides overall leadership to the multidisciplinary Unit research program, including identifying and quantifying effects of agricultural practices on soil and water quality, developing improved agronomic and watershed management practices to reduce adverse environmental impacts.
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- Providing vision, establishing an advisory stakeholder base and developing research programs to address stakeholder priorities.
- Exercising leadership and supervising personnel assigned to the unit.
- Maximizing the creativity and productivity of the unit.
- Hiring personnel and managing the human, fiscal and physical resources assigned to the unit.
- Serving as the Unit fundholder.
- Providing technical information and consultation both internal and external to Agricultural Research Service.
- Ensuring the proper interpretation and reporting of scientific research results.
- Assesses the sustainability of agroecosystems by quantifying water and soil quality impacts of agricultural systems through measurement, analysis and simulation.
- Enhances crop resilience through development and evaluation of practices that address temporal and within-field spatial variability using G(genetics) x E(environment) x M(management) or similar holistic approaches.
- Develops sustainable irrigation systems for the lower Mississippi River basin that account for spatial variability in soils and crop water demand.
- Contributes to the research activities of the Long-term Agroecosystems Research (LTAR) network and Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP).
Occasional travel – Occasional domestic and international travel is required to attend scientific meetings and conferences.
0470 Soil Science
0890 Agricultural Engineering
- Scientists, Soil
- Soil Scientists
Conditions of Employment
- You must be a US Citizen or US National
- Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt
- Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check
- Subject to one-year supervisory/managerial probationary period unless prior service is creditable. New USDA supervisors must successfully complete all components of the required training program before the end of their probationary period.
- Direct Deposit ? Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution.
- Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/.
- Successful completion of a three year probationary period.
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.
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.
Minimum qualification requirements are found in the OPM Qualification Standards Operating Manual for General Schedule Positions. Qualification requirements must be identified for each grade level advertised.
Soil Science Series, 0470
1. Degree: soil science or a closely related discipline that included 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, or earth science, with a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics and soil fertility.
2. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in soil science or a related discipline that included at least 30 semester hours in the biological, physical, or earth sciences. At least 15 of these semester hours must have been in the areas specified in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
Agricultural Engineer series, 0890
A. Degree: Engineering. To be acceptable, the program must: (1) lead to a bachelor’s degree in a school of engineering with at least one program accredited by ABET; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (a) statics, dynamics; (b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships); (c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics; (d) thermodynamics; (e) electrical fields and circuits; (f) nature and properties of materials (relating particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.
B. Combination of education and experience college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:
1. Professional registration or licensure Current registration as an Engineer Intern (EI), Engineer in Training (EIT), or licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico. Absent other means of qualifying under this standard, those applicants who achieved such registration by means other than written test (e.g., State grandfather or eminence provisions) are eligible only for positions that are within or closely related to the specialty field of their registration. For example, an applicant who attains registration through a State Board’s eminence provision as a manufacturing engineer typically would be rated eligible only for manufacturing engineering positions.
2. Written Test Evidence of having successfully passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination or any other written test required for professional registration by an engineering licensure board in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
3. Specified academic courses Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and that included the courses specified in the basic requirements under paragraph A. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program as described in paragraph A.
4. Related curriculum Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate scientific field, e.g., engineering technology, physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of a bachelor’s degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance. Ordinarily there should be either an established plan of intensive training to develop professional engineering competence, or several years of prior professional engineering-type experience, e.g., in interdisciplinary positions. (The above examples of related curricula are not all-inclusive.)
For more information about EI and EIT registration requirements, please visit the National Society of Professional Engineers website at: http://www.nspe.org.
The FE examination is not administered by the U. S. Office of Personnel Management. For more information, please visit: http://www.nspe.org/Licensure/HowtoGetLicensed/index.html.
In addition to meeting the basic requirements for one of the series described above, applicants must also meet the additional qualifications requirements as stated below.
GS-14: Applicants must have 1 year of specialized experience (defined below) equivalent to at least the GS-13 grade level in the Federal Service.
– Planning and conducting independent research related to management systems that improve water and nutrient use efficiency, decrease potential for water contamination and improve crop production and profitability;
– Developing and maintaining relationships with commodity groups or stakeholders;
– Managing human, fiscal and physical resources to accomplish research goals; and
– Publishing independent research results related to management systems that improve water and nutrient use efficiency, decrease potential for water contamination, and improve crop production and profitability in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
GS-15: Applicants must have 1 year of specialized experience (defined below) equivalent to at least the GS-14 grade level in the Federal Service.
– Leading a multidisciplinary team conducting research related to management systems that improve water and nutrient use efficiency, decrease potential for water contamination and improve crop production and profitability;
– Developing and maintaining relationships with commodity groups and stakeholders; Managing human, fiscal and physical resources to accomplish research goals;
– Identifying and protecting intellectual property and successfully transferring information and technologies to end-users; and
– Publishing independent research results related to management systems that improve water and nutrient use efficiency, decrease potential for water contamination and improve crop production and profitability in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
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.
Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.
Please see above for education qualification requirement information.
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.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
You will be evaluated in accordance with the category rating procedure as defined in the USDA Demonstration Project Plan. Applicants who meet the basic minimum qualification requirements established for the position will be placed in the Eligible category. Eligible applicants will be further evaluated against criteria for placement in the Quality category. This evaluation is based on the level of your experience, education, and/or training as determined by your responses to the Assessment Questionnaire. Applicants with veterans’ preference are listed ahead of applicants who do not have veterans’ preference within each category.
Supervisory/Managerial Competencies – the following KSAs will also be used to evaluate candidates in the interview and selection process:1. Ability to lead and accomplish work through others (i.e. team building, conflict management, cultural awareness, strategic thinking, technology management, and political savvy.)2. Ability to communicate with individuals or groups from diverse backgrounds in a variety of situations.
Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.
Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the “Apply” button to the right.
To view the application form, visit:https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/10897242
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
Position sensitivity and risk
Moderate Risk (MR)
Trust determination process
The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
- Resume that includes:1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications.
- If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application if it includes your name and the necessary course information; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit the NACES website. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
- If claiming veteran’s preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
- If claiming 10-point veteran’s preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans’ preference visit FEDSHIREVETS
- Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.
- 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.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.