This position is located in the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, in Beltsville, MD.
The incumbent will work with supervisor and a wide array of scientists on research and service-oriented projects to support ex situ and in situ conservation of plant genetic resources.
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- Execute projects about genetic diversity of crop plants and their wild relatives using a broad range of taxonomic, systematic, ecological, geographic, and PGR characterization data and approaches.
- Assist with management of the USDA-ARS plant exploration and exchange program, including collecting germplasm of cultivated plants and their wild relatives.
- Work with internal and external stakeholders to identify populations of crop wild relatives on public or private lands, assess their conservation status, and initiate programs for their long-term complementary conservation (in situ and ex situ).
- Analyze data in order to locate potential sites for plant exploration globally.
- Prepare reports and articles on plant genetic resources and their conservation.
- Develop priorities for acquiring germplasm of selected crops based on economic values of crops, and other ex situ collections of genetic diversity, conservation status of species comprising the genepools, urgency and extent of crop vulnerabilities.
- Use information management systems and relational databases used to curate scientific collections; use GRIN-Global and presentation software to prepare a variety of reports.
- Serve as an organizational contact for national and international agencies on a wide range of issues related to the conservation and exchange of global plant genetic resources.
- Develop agreements to support collaborative projects, especially for plant explorations, and serve as the ARS Principal Investigator on most.
- Develop and negotiate non-monetary benefit sharing projects that facilitate access to plant genetic resources.
Occasional travel – You may be expected to travel for this position.
Conditions of Employment
- You must be a US Citizen or US National
- Males born after 12/31/1959 must be Selective Service registered or exempt
- Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check
- Successful completion of one-year probationary period, unless previously served.
- Direct Deposit ? Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution
- Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify at https://www.e-verify.gov/
- Must be able to obtain and maintain a driver?s license.
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including specialized experience and/or education, as defined below.
Degree: botany; or basic plant science that included at least 24 semester hours in botany.
Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in botany or basic plant science that included at least 24 semester hours in botany, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
For positions dealing with the study of fungi, or with basic mycological relationships, the course work in botany must have included at least 6 semester hours in mycology.
Evaluation of Education: Courses in basic botany, plant anatomy or morphology, cytology, histology, genetics, taxonomy or systematics, algology, mycology, ethnobotany, and those dealing with specific problems of a botanical nature or with specific groups of plants are qualifying. The courses required for mycologists are specific and must have been in mycology.
Specialized Experience : Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. Specialized experience must be described for each grade level advertised. The specialized experience requirements for this position are:
At The GS-12:
Qualifying experience for GS-12 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-11 which is directly related to the work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. For this position, specialized experience is experience: Collecting plant germplasm in a field environment; develop reports on plant genetic resources; and working with internal and external stakeholders related to plant germplasm research.
At The GS-13:
Qualifying experience for GS-13 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-12 which is directly related to the work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. For this position, specialized experience is experience: Leading and developing projects to collect plant germplasm in a field environment; publishing research findings on plant genetic resources or plant germplasm; working with internal and external stakeholders related to plant germplasm research; and presenting research findings.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
Physical Demands: The work is a combination of sedentary office work and physically demanding field work. In the office, some degree of manual dexterity needed for routine keyboard entry and updating of data, and periods of light physical exertion such as standing and carrying heavy books are required. Field work is required and often extremely rigorous for plant explorations in the U.S. or other countries, or to evaluate sites for in situ conservation. The work requires travel to remote locations (both U.S. or foreign countries), long hikes in inclement weather over rough terrain, and exposure to parasites and pathogens.
Work Environment: The work is performed mostly in an office environment, but up to several weeks a year may be spent working on field projects outdoors in the U.S. and/ or foreign countries.
Please see above for education qualification requirement information.
Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
The incumbent will use scientific methods to establish priorities and opportunities for PGR conservation, enacting cooperative agreements or other appropriate funding mechanisms between the ARS and collaborators to support approved projects, and advising participants and collaborators on technical matters related to germplasm collection and exchange.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures and USDA policy using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran’s preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants’ quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:
- Administration and Management
- Applies Technology to Tasks
Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.
Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.
Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the “Apply” button to the right.
To view the application form, visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/11010735
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk
Trust determination process
The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
- Resume that includes:1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) other qualifications.
- If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application if it includes your name and the necessary course information; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit the NACES website. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
- If claiming veteran’s preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions.If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment.Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
- If claiming 10-point veteran’s preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans’ preference visit FEDSHIREVETS
- Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.