Research Agricultural Engineer

Employment Type

: Full-Time

Industry

: Engineering



Summary

Incumbent serves as a Research Engineer (Agricultural/Chemical/Biological) and conducts basic and applied research in the Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research Unit (SPIERU) at the Center for Grain and Animal Health Research (CGAHR), in Manhattan, Kansas.

Learn more about this agency

Responsibilities

  • Develop economical, effective, and ecologically sound methods for managing insect pests of grain and processed commodities, improve post-harvest management practices, and develop methods to rapidly evaluate grain quality.
  • Develop instruments and procedures to rapidly and non-destructively detect attributes that relate to end-use functionality of grain such as fungal damage, transgenic seeds, protein quality, toxins, and insect infestations.
  • Conduct research leading to fundamental information and commercial production of instrumentation for objective automated determination of grain class, uniformity, grade, functionality, kernel morphology and other properties.
  • Develop technology for rapidly detecting insect characteristics that will lead to improved control of pest insects, mycotoxins and reductions in pesticide usage.
  • Develop technology for detecting toxins that will help breeders select kernels to rapidly develop lines resistant to pathogens.
  • Integrate information from the fields of engineering, genetics, chemistry, plant science, entomology, physics, and biology to solve complex problems.
  • 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.
  • Travel Required

    Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

    Supervisory status

    Yes

    Promotion Potential

    15

    Requirements

    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
  • 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.
  • Qualifications

    Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.

    Basic Requirements
    Degree: Engineering. To be acceptable, the program must: (1) lead to a bachelor's degree in a school on 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 of 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 of physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

    OR

    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 much 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 examples, an applicant who attains registration though 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 processional 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 above. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of an engineering program as described above.
    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 applicants 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.)

    Additional Requirements
    In addition to meeting the basic requirements described above, applicants must also meet additional qualification requirements as stated below.

    GS-12: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 grade level in the Federal service or possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or possess an equivalent combination of graduate level education and experience. Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped applicants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-12 level of this position is performing at least 4 of the 6 tasks below:
  • Experience conducting research, independently or as part of a team, on solving agricultural engineering problems, material characterization, or process measurement and control;
  • Experience using commercial instruments related to quality measurements pertaining to agricultural products;
  • Experience conceiving and developing original electronics, image or signal processing methods, mechanical engineered devices, or analysis methods for grain/plant/biological systems;
  • Experience using non-destructive sensing methods for biological or engineering materials;
  • Experience applying statistical models used for predictive analysis pertaining to agricultural engineering; or
  • Publishing papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and working in cooperative research teams in the field of agricultural engineering.

  • GS-13: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 grade level in the Federal service. Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for the GS-13 level of this position is performing at least 4 of the 6 tasks below:
  • Experience conceiving, planning, and conducting research related to engineering problems in processing, measurement, or controls, or new technologies to improve product quality, process efficiency, or sustainability;
  • Experience using complex commercial instruments related to grain or plant quality and health measurement;
  • Experience with leadership in the conception and development of original electronics, image or signal processing methods or mechanical engineered devices for grain/plant/biological systems;
  • Experience developing or adapting and original use of non-destructive sensing methods for biological or engineering materials;
  • Experience with the development of sophisticated statistical models used for predictive analysis; or
  • Experience publishing papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presenting findings at scientific meetings.
  • 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 situationsExperience 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.

    To be considered for this position, you must submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. Also, 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 .

    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.

    Education

    Please see above for education qualification requirement information.

    Additional information

    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.


    Recruitment or Relocation Incentive may be authorized. Final determination to pay an incentive will be made by the hiring official at time of job offer.

    Research scientists have open-ended promotion potential. Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically. The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology. *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel. Read more

    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.


    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/10801437 Read more

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Other

    Drug test required

    No

    Position sensitivity and risk

    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process

    Suitability/Fitness

    Required Documents

    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.
  • Benefits

    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.

    * The salary listed in the header is an estimate based on salary data for similar jobs in the same area. Salary or compensation data found in the job description is accurate.

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