Careers at Virginia Tech

Assistant Professor - Food Traceability

Apply now Job no: 515635
Work type: Teaching & Research Faculty
Senior management: Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department: Virginia Seafood AREC
Location: Other - Virginia
Categories: Agriculture / Life Science

Job Description

Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is seeking applicants for a tenure track faculty position in Food Traceability as part of its Phase II SmartFarm Innovation Network™ faculty cluster hire. Phase II includes a total of seven (7) faculty positions to be filled within several academic units and Agricultural Research and Extension Centers. Collaborations of cluster hires and existing faculty will enhance interdisciplinary flagship programs at the nexus of digital, biological, social, and physical sciences and engineering with application to agriculture, food, and natural resources. The cluster hire will be affiliated with the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture for enhancing the interdisciplinary networking. This ambitious vision will create a statewide network of interconnected faculty, partners, and resources for scientific discovery and developing and deploying and extending new technologies. The goal is to increase overall efficiency, resiliency, sustainability, and economic value of food, agriculture production systems, and natural resources and expand Virginia Tech’s global influence in this rapidly evolving domain.

The Food Traceability position will be located at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center (VSAREC), (, Hampton, Virginia, with tenure home in the Department of Food Science and Technology Department of Food Science & Technology | Food Science & Technology | Virginia Tech (, at the Virginia Tech main campus in Blacksburg.  This is a 9-month tenure-track position with a  joint Research and Extension appointment.

The successful candidate shall develop and establish a nationally and internationally recognized integrated research and extension program in food traceability, focused on development and implementation of rapid detection/traceability and big data management across agricultural commodity sectors, with an emphasis on fisheries, aquaculture, and their products. The Extension program will focus on assisting seafood harvesters and producers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, and retail establishments to improve the quality, safety, reliability, traceability, value, and regulatory compliance of their products. Furthermore, outreach and educational programs will be developed and conducted for producers, educators, processors, consumers, regulatory agencies and other decision makers. The individual will be expected to obtain extramural funding from a variety of funding sources with emphasis on competitive and industry funding. Potential areas of research may include (but are not limited to) Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, blockchain, bio-based markers, novel smart packaging, whole genome sequencing, portable vibrational spectroscopy, lab-on-a-chip, and smartphone-based analysis.

The individual is expected to contribute to graduate education. Qualified candidates will demonstrate the ability to recruit and mentor graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) and undergraduate students, and be committed to service on AREC, department, college and university committees, as well as appropriate professional organizations. Global engagement is important as the incumbent’s career advances, and will contribute to the expansion of Virginia Tech’s reputation in this domain.

This position is part of the CALS SmartFarm Innovation Network Initiative Cluster, and aligns with the Global Systems Science as well as the Data and Decisions, and Sustainable Food Production destination areas of Virginia Tech and the agricultural profitability and environmental sustainability areas of CALS. Collaborations/linkages with faculty located in various departments on the main campus in Blacksburg and with a number of Agricultural Research and Extension Centers located across the Commonwealth are highly encouraged.

Required Qualifications

Ph.D. in Food Science, Food Engineering, Material Science, Chemical Engineering, Biological/Agricultural Engineering, Computer Science, Information Systems, or related fields, with experience in big data, bioinformatics, food systems, and food safety.
Demonstrated ability to obtain extramural funding is highly desired. The candidate must have excellent oral and written communication skills, demonstrated ability for, and commitment to, quality graduate student education, demonstrated publication record, and demonstrated ability to develop and conduct scholarly research, both independently and collaboratively. The individual shall create an environment that fosters collegiality and diversity with appropriate stakeholders and the university.

Preferred Qualifications

A strong background in seafood traceability is desirable, along with expertise in food safety, FSMA, food regulations, and food engineering, among others. Additional experience in food supply chains, tracking and ID of fresh/processed/packaged products, molecular biology, and vibrational spectroscopy is also desirable. Experience on national teams addressing seafood quality, safety, and security issues is helpful, as is demonstrated experience with interdisciplinary Extension and/or research in areas that align with Virginia Tech’s university-wide, multi-disciplinary focus on Virginia Tech’s Global Systems Science Destination area as well as the new CALS SmartFarm Innovation Network Faculty Cluster.

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with Qualifications

Review Date

June 1, 2021

Additional Information

The successful Candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check

Review of applications will begin June 1, 2021 and continue until the position is filled.  The anticipated position start date is August 10, 2021.  Inquiries concerning the position or application process should be directed to search committee chair, Dr. Michael Schwarz ( ).

Application Procedure: 

Qualified persons are requested to submit all application materials electronically to:

  • Letter of application summarizing qualifications relevant to the position description
  • Resume, including a complete list of publications with citations
  • Research and Extension interests, goals and vision
  • List of 4 references with contact information

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Dr. Michael Schwarz at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Applications close:

Back to search results Apply now Refer a friend

Share this:

| More