Careers at Virginia Tech

Global Agricultural Productivity Initiative (GAP Initiative) Research Lead

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Work type: Administrative & Professional
Senior management: Agriculture & Life Sciences
Department: CALS Global
Location: Hybrid
Categories: Agriculture / Life Science, Research / Scientific

Job Description

The GAP Initiative at Virginia Tech educates, advocates, and collaborates to accelerate agricultural productivity (total factor productivity) growth at all scales of production to create returns to farmers, society, the economy, and the environment. The GAP Initiative brings together expertise from Virginia Tech and other universities, the private and public sectors, civil society organizations, and global research institutions to align efforts to accelerate agricultural productivity growth around the world. The GAP Initiative is financially supported by Virginia Tech and private and public sector partners and technically supported by our financial partners and organizations from the non-profit and public sectors that provide important contextualization to productivity-enhancing solutions and innovation through their work.

The annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report) is the heart of the GAP Initiative - a core pillar of CALS Global in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech. Founded in 2010, the GAP Report uses publicly available data to monitor global trends in agricultural total factor productivity - a measure of how efficiently agricultural resources and inputs are used to produce output.

The GAP Initiative Research Lead will be responsible for the production, research, and presentation of the annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report) and associated knowledge products, in support of the GAP Initiative.

Responsibilities will include:

• Manage timeline and editorial calendar for the production, distribution and presentation of the GAP Report®.
• Serve as lead author of the GAP Report®, writing original content and incorporating research and stories provided by others. Ensure that all content is reviewed by appropriate partners and experts and approved by the Managing and Executive Editors before publication.
• Obtain feedback on the themes and outline for the GAP Report® from partners
• Obtain updated agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) data from officials at the USDA Economic Research Service and collaborate with them on TFP analysis for the GAP Report®.
• Conduct original research related to global agricultural TFP growth and trends
• Search for and synthesize literature to highlight trends in global TFP growth to supplement information and data in the USDA-ERS global agricultural productivity dataset
• Act as liaison between the GAP Initiative and USDA-ERS for TFP-related issues
• Conduct tailored analysis, create talking points, and other supporting materials for partners and others to communicate critical TFP growth messages
• Work with CALS Global leadership to identify and invite panelists for the GAP Report® Launch event. Develop run-of show and prepare briefings for panelists.
• Co-create PowerPoint presentation of the findings.
• Develop additional analysis and thought pieces to support the GAP Initiative
• Increase awareness of the Report
• Collaborate with CALS Global leadership and CALS Advancement to deepen relationships with sponsors and identify new sponsors and other sources of support.
• Serve as key point of contact for internal and external inquiries about the GAP Report®.
• Identify opportunities to expand the reach of the GAP Initiative and Report to new audiences. Possible travel to attend events, build relationships with sponsors and partners, obtain research and stories for the report, and speak/present findings of the GAP Report.
• Collaborate with organizations, government officials and individuals working in agriculture, food and nutrition security, climate change and sustainability to increase the visibility and influence of the GAP Report®.
• Other duties as directed by the Associate Dean and Director of CALS Global

The base location for this position is Blacksburg, VA. Travel to Blacksburg on a routine basis will required. The position is opened to hybrid or remote; however, the remote location must be within a reasonable commuting distance (i.e. Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. area).

Required Qualifications

• Masters degree, including one degree in Agricultural Economics
• Outstanding interpersonal skills
• Impeccable English writing, editing, and speaking skills
• Relevant international experience and demonstrated interest in international development
• Working understanding of agricultural TFP

Preferred Qualifications

• PhD, including one degree in Agricultural Economics
• Experience writing and/or editing for a publication of similar scope.
• Project management experience

Appointment Type


Salary Information

$70,000 - 90,000; commensurate with experience

Review Date

November 9, 2023

Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

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 military 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. Thomas Thompson at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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