Reports to: COO
Location: Clapham Common and Waltham Cross
Employment type: Permanent full-time
Start date: June 2021
Company Profile & Role
Zero Carbon Farms (ZCF) is a data-driven, fresh produce company that supplies the wholesale, retail and foodservice markets with salads and herbs. Utilising the latest technologies, ZCF grows products in highly optimised controlled environments.
We are looking to recruit a talented Plant Scientist to work within our research and development department. The role will suit a candidate who is passionate about sustainability, AgTech, and the food industry. The ideal candidate will thrive in a fast-moving start-up environment and will be instrumental in bringing the business to scale while remaining at the forefront of innovation within the industry. Note that the growing cycle achievable in the ZCF system also allows multiple short cycles of research experimentation and thus accelerated progress compared to traditional plant-raising models. This allows for rapid data generation and systems improvement, creating a vibrant R&D environment.
The Plant Scientist will design, document, and cost the annual R&D plan, liaising with the Operations and Sales teams, and will gain approval for this plan from ZCF management. He or she will then be responsible for driving research projects forward, overseeing ZCF’s R&D facility and for ensuring its continuous operation. Research is primarily focused on yield improvement, on enhancement of crops’ nutritional profile and on sustainable growing techniques within a controlled environment, multi-level growing system.
The role will require the application of existing knowledge and experience in agronomy and plant science to conduct and monitor trials and develop new growing techniques that will keep Zero Carbon Farms at the forefront of innovation within the AgTech industry, to ensure continual optimisation of ZCF’s growing techniques and product range diversification. The candidate will also participate in the product development process, including the generation of new crop development and ongoing product optimisation.
- Integrate crop physiology methods and horticultural practices into existing ZCF’s product and new product development strategies
- Design and carry out crop & controlled environment improvements and innovation trials, with specific focus on yield enhancement, improved nutritional composition, and product quality
- Record, analyse and report on trial results to generate models for plant growth, development and yield
- Provide discrete research outcome summaries for the management and Board, as necessary
- Produce quarterly R&D updates and an Annual R&D Review, explaining results against R&D milestones, costs versus budget and setting out recommendations for next steps in the programme
- Develop and present recommendations to the Grow Team
- Carry out and further develop R&D facility policies and procedures to ensure uninterrupted operation
- Develop and present proposals on R&D facility improvements
- Seek out grant funding opportunities, and propose, write and submit funding applications
- Ensure compliance of R&D facilities with law
- A graduate with sufficient industry R&D experience in relevant life science, agriculture, horticulture or food science business, either a full-time position or from a series of internships or placement roles (exceptional graduates straight from university may be considered)
- Experience in design and execution of greenhouse experiments, commercial horticulture or hydroponics operation
- Understanding of a stage gate R&D process and ability to implement for ZCF
- Ability to translate research & development findings into actionable and repeatable standard operating procedures, at scale, in the ZCF business
- Experience in computational statistics (e.g. Python, R)
Supervises: Research interns
The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic, reliable, persistent and calm under pressure, with a strong interest in sustainability and food. Desirable qualities in relation to working style and personal skillset include:
- Integrity and intellectual honesty
- Prioritises well and a strong multi-tasker
- Ability to work independently and create own areas of research
- Strong observational skills
- Diligence in record keeping and data reporting
- Capability to work in a fluid start-up environment
- Great communication skills and a natural team player
- Results-oriented self-starter
- Proficient in Microsoft Office and Google docs
- Passion for our Mission
Responsibilities are not limited to the above and can include additional duties as the business requires.
Salary commensurate with experience. Potential flexible working conditions. Employee pension, and cycle to work scheme available.
We’re an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.
Those wishing to apply should send a copy of their CV and a cover letter to:
1A Carpenter’s Place, Clapham. London SW4 7TD