Scientist, Plant Substrates and Nutrition

  • Anywhere

Company :
Upward Farms

Location :
Brooklyn, New York

Expiry Date :
Tue, 06 Jul 2021 23:59:59 GMT

Apply Job :
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Description :
Upward Farms designs and operates complete ecosystems of plants and fish in vertical farms, supplying these organic products to local grocers. We recently opened a new cutting-edge, fully automated facility in Brooklyn. More and larger farms are in the works. Our mission is to heal the broken food system and reconnect eaters with flavorful and nutritious local food.

In this role, you will join the Agriculture and Manufacturing R&D (AMRD) team and collaborate with colleagues from across Engineering, Operations, Aquaculture, and Quality Assurance. You will lead the development and execution of Upward Farms soilless substrate and mineral nutrition research agenda as well as collaborate on cross-disciplinary research in horticulture, microbiology, and aquaculture. You will be tasked with identifying and optimizing soilless substrates as well as crop mineral nutrition by conducting experiments to verify the economic, crop health, and production benefits, as well as summarizing findings and making recommendations to the AMRD and Farm Operations teams. As a member of AMRD, you will pursue science and technology-enabled solutions for ecological production systems so that Upward Farms can advance crop, ecology, and manufacturing outcomes.


Your objective is to provide vision and technical leadership on blank page questions, embrace the complexity of biological systems, and deliver research-enabled solutions that have commercial value. Success in this role will be measured through research questions and outcomes that expand our toolkit to improve yields, quality, safety, and cost.

You are encouraged to build bridges, do what it takes to solve the right problems, and co-create our design and research culture. This is a brand new role on our team and comes with the opportunity and flexibility to shape it to make it your own.


* Lead and conduct research on soilless substrates and plant mineral nutrition across multiple cultivars and environmental conditions.
* In collaboration with Operations and Engineering colleagues, contribute research findings to the continued improvement of plant outcomes and production efficiency.
* Design, perform, and document research to aid in designing future farms and to enhance crop production recipes.
* Characterize soilless substrates and link characteristics to crop outcomes.
* Communicate research findings and advise actionable insights.
* Work collaboratively with research and development teams to support plant production and aquaculture research.
* Take a systems approach to identify research questions.
* Communicate with internal and external stakeholders, adapting communications to diverse audiences and representing Upward Farms effectively and professionally.
* Develop, refine, and/or execute experimental procedures and SOPs.
* Contribute to SOPs on assessing quality assurance of substrates and organic mineral amendments.
* Remain current in relevant scientific fields and bring new research ideas into the research pipeline.


* PhD in Substrate Science, Horticulture, Plant Science, Crop Science, Soil Science, or a related field.
* Deep understanding of rhizosphere dynamics and plant mineral nutrition.
* Experience in relevant laboratory techniques.
* Experience characterizing physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil and/or soilless substrates.
* Excellent written and oral communication skills to a wide range of technical backgrounds.
* Question-driven, curious, open minded.

Preferred Skills + Experience

* Post-PhD research and/or industry experience.
* Experience or education in soil microbiology.
* Project management experience.
* Experience developing new protocols and SOPs.


We offer a dynamic work environment and benefits that include:

* Aetna Medical, Aetna and MetLife Dental, and Aetna Vision insurance; FSA/HSA plans; and HIPAA-compliant health advocates. Upward Farms contributes 78-100% of the premium for Medical benefits for employees and their families.
* Unlimited paid sick time. For extended illness, we offer short-term disability.
* Up to 20 days paid time off per year, depending on experience, in addition to paid holidays.
* For new parents, an extension of New York States paid family leave for up to 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave. This leave is in addition to Disability leave available to pregnant and postpartum mothers.
* 401(k).
* Commuter benefits, discounted gym memberships, and other perks.
* Fresh salad, and lots of it!

Working Here

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our needs are unique and varied so we value colleagues with diverse backgrounds. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and/or protected veteran status.

Please note we do not provide immigration sponsorship for this position; applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.