Researcher, Environmental Plant Physiology

  • Location: US - Watsonville, California
  • Job Family: Research & Development
  • Time Type: Full time
  • Job Requisition ID: R0004291
  • Experience Years: 3-5 Years of Experience
  • Employee Type: Regular

About the Opportunity

The Researcher, Environmental Plant Physiology will lead and carry out research programs to address current environmental challenges faced by cultivated berries and for the optimization of plant management practices related to new genetics, with a specific focus on obtaining high-flavor, high-quality fruit. Other research priorities may include but are not limited to the development of plant growth models to aid breeding selection, the optimization of plant propagation methods, plant nutrient acquisition, root biology, canopy training systems, and the use of image analysis and remote sensing technologies to optimize fruit quality and yields. The researcher will identify and drive research priorities that will better respond to global business needs, develop training programs for others in the organization, and lead collaboration projects on controlled environment research on behalf of Driscoll’s. The plant physiology researcher will integrate into the Global R&D Plant Physiology Team and report to the Director of Global Plant Research. The researcher may be involved in short-term assignments (up to several months) in other business units of the enterprise to support other Teams and ensure the establishment, execution, and data collection of experimental trials. This position requires the ability to manage multiple initiatives, facilitate positive and solution-oriented discussions with key stakeholders, and a comprehensive understanding of plant physiology, particularly plant source-sink relationships, as well as agronomic systems. The selected candidate will be part of a multidisciplinary team including plant breeders, postharvest physiologists, plant pathologists, and entomologists, and will have access to research field sites, greenhouse, and laboratories. We are looking for somebody curious, inquisitive, humble, and thriving in team work and collaborations.


•    Develop and manage business-driven environmental physiology research programs on fruit production, fruit flavor components, and growing practices.
•    Lead and carry out internal and external research efforts on the performance of berry plants in different growing regions. 
•    Ensure the establishment, execution, and data collection on experimental trials with short-term assignments in other business units of the enterprise. The expected length of the period abroad will depend on the type of research priority assigned.
•    Develop relevant genetic screening assays for fruit characteristics for improving breeding efficiency across Driscoll’s breeding programs.
•    Develop the relevant mentoring or training programs to deploy innovation and implementation of key findings across the organization as needed.
•    Lead collaboration on plant physiology research across R&D departments and Driscoll’s business units.
•    Develops talent, both through formal as well as through informal relationships and organizational structures across the Enterprise.
•    Maintains a deep understanding of Driscoll’s breeding programs, production systems, and production environments.
•    Develops strategies to provide foundational knowledge to regional nurseries.
•    Ensures the security of Driscoll’s confidential and proprietary information and materials.

Candidate Profile

•    Ph.D. degree in plant physiology, plant ecophysiology, plant biology, horticulture, or related field required.
•    3+ years of post-degree work experience, preferably with both academia and industry-relevant background.
•    Experience in projects comparing locations/climates preferred.
•    Experience in berry crop production, propagation, or fruit production preferred.
•    Robust understanding of plant environmental physiology.
•    Experience in leading research programs with relevant outcomes and impacts in the fruit industry.
•    Understanding of the role of GxExM component as the foundation for plant performance, and the ability to design genetic screening assays for fruit flavor traits.  
•    Proficiency in developing both basic as well as applied research trials.
•    Courageous, creative and conceptual thinker with practical planning skills.
•    Notably humble and passionate about plants.
•    Ability to work with others at a high and collaborative level.
•    Ability to manage multiple projects across the enterprise.
•    Travel required up to 30-40% and ability to relocate for several months.
•    A valid passport and the ability to travel internationally without restrictions are also required. 

About Driscolls

Driscoll's is the global market leader for fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. With more than 100 years of farming heritage and hundreds of independent growers around the world, Driscoll's is passionate about growing fresh, beautiful and delicious berries. Our values of humility, passion and trustworthiness have guided our mission to delight consumers around the world.

Driscoll's exclusive patented berry varieties are developed through years of research using only natural breeding methods – meaning, no GMOs. From farm-to-table, we focus on delivering a high quality, premium berry experience with our many supply chain partners.

Driscoll's is the trusted brand for Only the Finest Berries™.

Driscoll's es el proveedor líder en la comercialización de Fresas, Frambuesas, Zarzamoras y Arándanos Azules en el mundo. Con más de 100 años de herencia en agricultura y cientos de productores independiente alrededor del mundo, Driscoll's es una compañía apasionada por cultivar Berries frescas, hermosas y deliciosas. Nuestros valores de humildad, pasión y confianza han guiado nuestra misión de deleitar a los consumidores en el mundo.

Las variedades exclusivas de Driscoll's han sido desarrolladas a través de años de investigación usando sólo métodos de mejoramiento natural. De la granja a la mesa, nos enfocamos en ofrecer una experiencia de alta calidad con apoyo de nuestros socios de la cadena de suministro.

Driscoll's es la marca de confianza de sólo las mejores Berries.