PhD Research Assistantship: Nitrogen in Horticultural Crops, Virginia Tech / USDA-ARS

Virginia Tech is seeking a PhD graduate research assistant in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences to carry out a ≤3.5-year research project focused on nitrogen use in horticultural crops. Research will investigate increasing nitrogen use efficiency from controlled-release fertilizers via a fundamental understanding of transport and fate in containerized crops grown with soilless substrates.  This research is expected to identify needed changes in horticultural crop production methods. Applicants must have BS or MS (preferred) in crop, soil, horticultural, or environmental science, or a similar field.

The student will receive a 12-month stipend that includes tuition.  The student will complete coursework on the main campus in Blacksburg, VA typically in 2-3 semesters. All or the majority of research will be conducted at Virginia Tech Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Virginia Beach where the student will reside for the remainder of their program. There will be additional opportunities to visit and utilize the USDA-ARS Application Technology Research Unit laboratory in Wooster, Ohio.

Applicants should be hard workers who enjoy science, can get along well with his or her peers, and have demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills.  A strong background in whole-crop response and/or clearly demonstrated laboratory skills in mineral nutrition including analysis with techniques such as ion chromatography, colorimetry via flow injection analysis, or Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy is preferred.

If interested, please contact Jim Owen ( with a statement of purpose, current CV, GRE/TOEFL scores, unofficial copies of transcripts, sample of technical writing, and contact information for three references. Screening of applications will start immediately. The position will be filled by Spring 2019.

Virginia Tech is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. Anyone having questions concerning discrimination or accessibility should contact the Office for Equity and Accessibility.