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Jobs …

Current and recent job openings for iSEE research centers and projects.

MARCH 2022: Illinois hiring ecophysiology, agronomy postdocs for SCAPES

Agrivoltaics (AVs), the co-located production of solar energy and crops, is an emerging technology that can reduce competition for land and provide climate-smart solutions to improve land use efficiency (combined crop and electricity yield), crop water-use efficiency, profitability, and the economic resilience of farmers. Two postdoctoral positions are available in the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as part the Sustainably Colocating Agricultural and Photovoltaic Electricity Systems (SCAPES) project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The goal of SCAPES is to provide the interdisciplinary research, outreach, and educational opportunities that will optimize the design of sustainable AV technologies for diverse crop species (row crops, forage, and specialty crops) acrossthree biophysically diverse regions in the U.S.: Illinois, Colorado and Arizona.

The ecophysiology postdoc will focus on measuring photosynthesis, photoinhibition, conductance, plant water relations of select C3 and C4 crops growing in different configurations under commercial and experimental photovoltaic solar arrays. In addition, the postdoc will characterize the dynamic atmospheric and soil microenvironment between andunder solar arrays. The agronomy postdoc will quantify crop development and patterns of biomass allocation, including root growth, of crops growing under the treatments described above. It is expected that both postdoctoral associateshave experience conducting field research, under sometimes adverse weather conditions, and will contribute to a highly collaborative work environment where they will coordinate research activities with a large team of collaborators, supervise technicians and undergraduates, and write manuscripts. Field work will be conducted on solar farms inChampaign County, Ill.

The ecophysiology postdoc will work primarily under the guidance of Carl Bernacchi, Evan DeLucia, and Nuria Gomez-Casanovas, and the agronomy postdoc will work primarily under the guidance of DoKyong Lee and Bruce Branham. The postdocs will be expected to collaborate with economists, ecosystem modelers, and others in the SCAPES project.

Required Qualifications:

  • A D. or the equivalent in plant physiology, ecophysiology, agronomy, or related field
  • Experience with laboratory and field work
  • Strong English writing and oral communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environment
  • Ability to travel frequently to research sites in Illinois
  • A valid driver’s license

Strong candidates will also possess the following attributes:

  • A strong publication record from their Ph.D. (papers published, in press, or submitted)
  • Experience with gas exchange and micrometeorology measurements, and above- and belowground plant sampling, and soil coring
  • Knowledge of soil temperature and moisture monitoring equipment
  • Creativity, independence, and the desire to learn new things

All candidates must have received a Ph.D. in a relevant field within the past five years. The position is available for two years, with possible extension further; however, annual renewal is dependent on funding and progress made by the individual. This position includes a competitive salary and full benefits.

Application review will begin Jan. 31, 2022, and will continue until the position is filled. The start date is flexible, but ideally on April 1, 2022. Applications should include a brief cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the names and contactinformation for three professional references. Please put the specific postdoctoral position for which you would like to be considered in the subject line of your email to Basia Latawiec, Research Program Coordinator, at

For further information about the position, please contact Bernacchi at, DeLucia at, Gomez-Casanovas  at, Lee at, or Branham

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

University of Illinois faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordancewith applicable University processes.

University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment.


Grant and Other Opportunities for Illinois Scholars ...

Current and recent calls for proposals from major funding agencies, as well as speaking opportunities and other announcements for Illinois faculty-level scholars.

Nov. 14 Research Networking Event! Sign up by Nov. 2

A message on behalf of iSEE Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest:

iSEE is hosting a researcher networking event on the topics of bioeconomy/bioplastics and sustainable/regenerative agriculture from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in the ACES Library Heritage Room.

The event will feature an update from Lewis-Burke about upcoming grant opportunities in these areas — and the chance for iSEE Sustainable Ag and Global Climate Change Scholars to share a one-slide overview of their research interests/projects in either of these areas.

Please sign up by Nov. 2 to join us for the event! >>>

October 2022: DOE seed investments in fundamental physical sciences research

A message from iSEE Acting Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest:

An update from Lewis-Burke about DOE's recent open call to seed investments in fundamental research in the physical sciences.
Agency/Foundation: Department of Energy
RFP/FOA topic: FY 2023 Continuation of Solicitation for the Office of Science Financial Assistant Program (DE-FOA-0002844)
Proposal Deadlines (estimated*): Between Oct. 1, 2022 and Sept. 20, 2023. However, applicants are encouraged to apply soon (earlier in the fiscal year).
Pre-application: Pre-applications are optional/encouraged
Funding (total): Average amounts are $200,000 to $1 million per year for Principal Investigators and from $2 million to $4 million per year for multi-institution teams
Duration: 6 months to 5 years
Brief Overview: DOE is seeking applications in research areas not covered by more specific, topical funding opportunity announcements that are issued throughout the fiscal year and awards from the open funding call often serve as seed funding for larger-scale research programs in the future based on community interest and demand. This can include new, renewal, and supplemental applications. These opportunities are through the Office of Science (SC) of the Department of Energy (DOE) to support work in the following program areas: 
- Advanced Scientific Computing Research;
- Basic Energy Sciences
- Biological and Environmental Research;
- Fusion Energy Sciences;
- High Energy Physics;
- Nuclear Physics;
- Isotope R&D and Production;
- Accelerator R&D and Production.
If researchers are interested and pursuing this opportunity, have an interdisciplinary team (at least two campus units), and iSEE can support this endeavor (including helping bring an interdisciplinary team together, business office support, etc.), please let me know at

Best of luck!
August 2022: DOE

A message from iSEE Acting Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest:

A recent summary from Lewis-Burke about anticipated funding opportunities from the DOE: Some of these opportunities are expected to be in the $1M-5M range, while others may be larger ($10M+). If you anticipate pursuing any of these funding opportunities, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. iSEE is also glad to support any multidisciplinary teams (teams that include researchers from more than one campus unit) in proposal development.
Some highlights from the attached document:
1. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies in Support of Hydrogen Shot; 
Topic 1) HydroGEN: Solar Fuels from Photoelectrochemical and Solar Thermochemical Water Splitting
Topic 2) Development and Validation of Sensor Technology for Monitoring and Measuring Hydrogen Losses
Topic 3) Materials-based H2 Storage Demonstrations
Topic 4) M2FCT: High Performing, Durable, and Low-PGM Catalysts/Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEAs) for Medium- and Heavy-duty Applications
Topic 5) University Research Consortium on Grid Resilience

3. Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization;
The six industry topic areas will likely include: 
Topic 1) Decarbonizing Chemicals: This topic will focus on unit operations, including advanced separations and advanced reactors, and alternative production and process heating technologies to reduce carbon impacts from the production of high-volume chemicals. 

Topic 2) Decarbonizing Iron and Steel: This topic will focus on advancements that enable decarbonization in ore-based or scrap-based iron and steelmaking operations, and that convert other existing iron and steelmaking ancillary and thermal processes to use clean fuels or electricity. 
Topic 3) Decarbonizing Food and Beverage Products: This topic will focus on innovative technologies that decarbonize process heating operations within the food and beverage sector. 
Topic 4) Decarbonizing Cement and Concrete: This topic will focus on next generation cement formulations and process routes, utilization of low carbon fuels, and carbon capture technologies. 
Topic 5) Decarbonizing Paper and Forest Products: This topic will focus on novel paper and wood drying technologies, and innovative pulping and paper forming technologies. 
Topic 6) Cross-sector Decarbonization Technologies: This topic will focus on innovations in low temperature waste heat to power, thermal energy storage, and industrial heat pump technologies.” 

4. Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs; (see link to the notice of intent on right side of page under "Documentation")

DOE plans to fund 4 regional DAC Hubs that must: 
▪ facilitate the deployment of direct air capture projects; 
▪ has the capacity to capture and sequester, utilize, or sequester and utilize at least 1,000,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually from a single unit or multiple interconnected units; 
▪ demonstrate the capture, processing, delivery, and sequestration or end use of captured carbon; and 
▪ could be developed into a regional or interregional carbon network to facilitate sequestration or carbon utilization. 
Key technologies and approaches DOE plans to support include: 
▪ chemical direct air capture technologies, 
▪ biomass carbon removal and storage, 
▪ ocean-based carbon removal (Direct Ocean Capture), and 
▪ enhanced mineralization. 

Best of luck!
August 2022: USDA NIFA

A message from iSEE Acting Associate Director for Research Jeremy Guest:

Please find relevant funding opportunities with the USDA below (and additional opportunities in this PDF). If researchers are interested in pursuing any of these opportunities and iSEE can support this endeavor (including helping bring an interdisciplinary team together, business office support, etc.), please let me know as soon as possible.


Agency: USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
RFA topic: Sustainable Bioeconomy through Biobased Products
Full Proposal Deadline (estimated*): Sept. 1, 2022, 4 PM Central
Funding (total): $1M
Duration: 4 years
Location in RFA: Page 56 of the PDF.

Description: This program area priority focuses on developing biomass systems, and producing biobased products or biomass generated power to enable the bioeconomy, and in a manner, which reduces adverse impacts to the environment. The sustainable bioeconomy encompasses the development of bio-based products that promote human health, economic prosperity, energy security, ecosystem resources, and mitigation of climate change. The development of bio-based products can complement existing agricultural production systems and industrialized processes by creating opportunities to improve overall system profitability and productivity. 


Agency: USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
RFA topic: Data Science for Food and Agricultural Systems (DSFAS)
Full Proposal Deadline (estimated*): Nov. 17, 2022, 4 PM Central
Funding (total): $650K-$3M
Duration: 3-5 years
Location in RFA: Page 85 of the PDF.
Description: This program area priority focuses on intersections between data science/artificial intelligence (AI) and agricultural areas in order to enable systems and communities to effectively utilize data, improve resource management, and integrate new technologies and approaches to further U.S. food and agriculture enterprises. The program encourages university-based research as well as public and private partnerships. Applications for research and integrated research projects must address one of the six AFRI priority areas. We especially encourage proposals in the areas of climate-smart agriculture and forestry, nutrition security, economic revitalization, and justice; projects that focus on intersections between one or more of these areas are also strongly encouraged. The data science/AI aspects of proposals should clearly relate to advancements in the U.S. AI priorities and strategic pillars. The most competitive proposals will be equally well grounded in agricultural sciences and in data science/AI; in addition, competitive proposals will clearly communicate the relevance and novelty of the proposed research in both areas. 


Agency: USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture
RFA topic: Regional Innovation and Demonstration of Climate-smart Agriculture for Future Farms (CAFF)
Full Proposal Deadline (estimated*): Oct. 6, 2022, 4 PM Central
Funding (total): $4M
Duration: 4 years
Location in RFA: Page 104 of the PDF.
Description: The purpose of this program area priority is to establish a demonstration farm and testbed for applied research, education, and extension on animal, plant or combined animal and plant production systems that employ smart technologies and management practices to ensure sustainable CSAF production practices. Use of precision technologies such as digital agriculture, automation, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet-of-things (IoT), unmanned-aerial systems (UAS), advanced genomics and phenotyping, in combination with animal or plant production systems, is required. While a holistic systems approach is expected, projects must be accomplished within the scope of program resources. Applicants are encouraged to develop and deliver methods and practices that can be scaled to various production systems and transferred across regions to facilitate adoption of CSAF practices and mitigate emission of GHG while also ensuring profitability for farmers and ranchers. 


*Deadlines are estimates. Please look closely for yourself to ensure you submit on time.


August 2022: NOAA