Research Specialist Principal, Food Systems

Job Description

The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems is seeking a Senior Food Systems Research Specialist with a background in climate change and Life Cycle Analysis expertise to join our team to support our research and education efforts to meet the challenges facing our food system. In this position, the selected candidate will take on various duties in research, education and outreach to build on our Center priorities and objectives. Currently the Center is focusing on strengthening the knowledge and understanding of organic or regenerative agriculture in meeting the challenges of climate change, innovations in agriculture and food to feed the planet, and methodologies such as true cost accounting that help decisionmakers across the food system. 

Job Family

Research & Laboratory

Department Name

Swette Ctr Sust Food Systems



VP Code


Scope of Search


Grant Funded Position

This is not a grant funded position and is not contingent on future grant funding.

Salary Range

$55,000 - $70,000 per year; DOE

Close Date




Essential Duties

  • Under general supervision, provides expertise in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)  and other data analysis for climate change, agriculture and food policy, food systems in accordance with its established goals and assignments of the Swette Center.
  • Coordinates, researches and develops resource materials to meet the needs of the Executive Director for presentations and research proposals and/or papers.
  • Collects and analyzes research data and other literature and drafts research materials as part of the research team for the Swette Center’s food policy related research activities - currently regenerative livestock operations, true cost accounting of food production and organic agriculture but may evolve over time.
  • Acts as liaison on behalf of the Center staff with the community, students, faculty, and staff in facilitating the Center’s programs.
  • May assist in developing grant proposals, budgets, performance indicators, and accountability reports for new activities.
  • Advises students, staff and others to provide technical knowledge, problem solving assistance.

Minimum Qualifications

Master's degree in a field appropriate to the area of assignment AND four years related research experience; OR, Doctorate degree in a field appropriate to the area of assignment AND three years of related research experience; OR, Any equivalent combination of experience and/or education from which comparable knowledge, skills and abilities have been achieved.

Desired Qualifications

  • Evidence in demonstrating a strong record of, or potential for, scholarly research.
  • Evidence of a master’s degree relating to Life Cycle Analysis, climate change, sustainable food systems, sustainability, food policy, environmental studies, or an affiliated field.
  • Evidence in having an interest in the field and a willingness to mentor our students.
  • Evidence in having a commitment to the core principles of sustainable economic, environmental and social justice for present and future generations.

Working Environment

ASU is a diverse enterprise with a wide variety of work and learning modes, locations, and a commitment to sustainability, innovation, and employee work-life balance. We are determined to maintain our position as an employer of choice in a competitive labor market.

Flexible work options
  • Alternative work schedules can include four, 10-hour workdays in a workweek; a nine-day, 80-hour schedule over two workweeks for exempt employees only; and staggered start and stop times.
  • Hybrid work is an arrangement where employees spend a minimum of 60% of their regular workweek at their primary ASU work location. Dean or vice president-level approval is required.
  • Remote work is an arrangement where the employee spends less than 60% of their regular workweek at a regularly assigned ASU work location. Executive vice president-level approval is required.
Standard Working Environment
  • Activities are primarily performed in a regular, climate-controlled office setting subject to extended stationary positions.
  • Daily use of desktop or laptop computer is required.
  • Ability to clearly communicate to perform essential duties.
  • Ability to interpret complex sponsor regulations. 
  • Expected to be responsive to incoming requests, engaged in work production, resourceful, flexible, and respectful of others.
  • Regular review of completed tasks.

Department Statement

Achieving sustainable food systems requires problem-solving teams who are infused with a diversity of expertise, eager collaboration, and innovative spirit. Established in 2017, the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University develops innovative ideas and solutions to the many challenges of current food systems. The Swette Center takes a holistic approach in research and policy design, encompassing water and energy use, carbon footprint and nutrition, innovations in food policy, and the well-being and livelihood of farmers and others working in food systems. The Center will educate the next generation of changemakers through innovative degrees and executive programs in sustainable food systems. Swette Center food system experts come from every corner of the university, including from the pool of more than 550 sustainability scientists and scholars who are dedicated to pursuing solutions, engagement, education and research for a sustainable future. Under the leadership of Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, former US Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the USDA and internationally renowned expert on food systems and sustainability, we work on cutting edge science and policy.

ASU Statement

Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, entrepreneurial energy and broad access. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses positively impacting the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 100,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation's fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations across the globe.

ASU is a tobacco-free university. For details visit

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.

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Employment Verification Statement

ASU conducts pre-employment screening which may include verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses, and certifications.

Background Check Statement

ASU conducts pre-employment screening for all positions which includes a criminal background check, verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses, and certifications. Employment is contingent upon successful passing of the background check.

Instructions to Apply

Application deadline is 3:00PM Arizona time on the date indicated.

Please include all employment information in month/year format (e.g., 6/88 to 8/94), job title, job duties and name of employer for each position.

Resume should clearly illustrate how prior knowledge and experience meets the Minimum and Desired qualifications of this position.

ASU does not pay for travel expenses associated with interviews, unless otherwise indicated.

Only electronic applications are accepted for this position.

IMPORTANT NOTE: What is the meaning of “equivalent combination” in the minimum qualifications? It means one year of higher education or 24 credit hours, is equal to one year of experience. For example, a four year Bachelor’s degree is equal to four years of experience.

Read more / apply
  • Application deadline: Mar 13, 2023
  • Arizona State University
  • Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems
  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Academic Positions
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