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USDA-ARS Postdoctoral Fellowship in Agricultural/Electrical Engineering: Hawaii

Job Description


Agency
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Location
Hilo, Hawaii
Job Category
Post Doctoral Appointments
Salary
TBD
Last Date to Apply
07/07/2023
Website
https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/USDA-ARS-PW-2023-0129
Description
*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis. ARS Office/Lab and Location: A postdoctoral research opportunity is available with the Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research Unit within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) located in Hilo, Hawaii. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nationís agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence. The mission of the Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research Unit in Hilo, Hawaii is to develop pre and postharvest technologies and management strategies for invasive pests, and to open and maintain market access and improved quality of tropical fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops grown in the Pacific Basin. The long-term goals of our research program are to develop and protect U.S export markets for fresh tropical commodities. An emphasis is placed on expanding and diversifying agriculture and agricultural exports in Hawaii and other states by providing environmentally sound, economically viable systems, treatments, or processes that control quarantine pests, ensure product quality, and increase product value while safeguarding the agriculture of other states. Research Project: Accurately tracking insect movement has tremendous impact on our understanding of both agricultural pests and beneficial insects, providing critical information on their behavior and ecology, which contributes to the successful control of invasions and infestations. However, existing methodologies are labor intensive and provide only a snapshot of insect behavior, leading to significant gaps in our understanding and development of protocols to control these pests. Leveraging advancements in computation and predictive modeling requires accurate data sets that reveal the in-situ behavior of target insects and not the limitations associated with current mark and recapture strategies. Harmonic radar (HR) is a methodology, which detects insect movement by manually sweeping a transmitted radio signal that is returned at a unique frequency from a passive transponder (i.e., does not require power) attached to the insect of interest. While this technique has been used over the past few decades with some success, it has only been effective with larger insects (e.g., wasps, bees, hornets, etc.) that can carry heavier transponders, thus itís often limited to insects flying at low altitude and over flat terrain. In Hawaii, ARS and its predecessor agencies have extensive research experience with fruit flies, which are enormously important economic pests. We and our collaborators have developed significantly smaller tags that can be carried by fruit flies without impeding their flight abilities. However, smaller transponders reduce tracking distances and manual sweeping of a radio transmitter profoundly limit the success of tracking tagged insects. The limitations of transponder size, transmitter/receiver efficiency, and complex terrains have been a consistent hurdle for researchers to adopt HR technology to its full potential. The participant is expected to be involved in all engineering design phases for developing a HR system that consists of an optimized transponder (in terms of materials and sizes) for small insects such as fruit flies, and a transmitter/receiver system that can be carried by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Specific activities will include designing, prototyping, and field testing. Learning Objectives: Outcomes from this project will have a tremendous impact on current methodologies for pest surveillance and integrated pest management programs, and on our understanding in insect biology and ecology. The participant will have the opportunity to interact with our commercial and academic collaborators and present their research to a wide range of audiences in multiple engineering, biology, and entomology disciplines. Mentor: The mentor for this opportunity is Peishih Liang (peishih.liang@usda.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor. Anticipated Appointment Start Date: June 2023. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors. Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds. Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time. Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation. ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process, please email ORISE.ARS.PacificWest@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.
Qualifications
The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before starting appointment. Degree must have been received within the past five years. Preferred Skills include: 1. Experience in electrical engineering 2. Experience in radio technology 3. Experience with UAV systems 4. Excellent written and oral communication
Contact Person
ORISE.ARS.PacificWest@orau.org

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