Executive Director

AIFARMS Institute

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) advances discovery and innovation through extreme-scale computing, science-enabling software, and the skills of our expert staff. The center is part of the flagship University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement—and is located in a micro-urban community that combines cultural vibrancy with affordability and quality of life.

For more than 30 years, NCSA has partnered with visionaries to discover solutions to grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. Our advanced digital resources and world-class staff push research beyond the unimaginable. Can you imagine? We can.

NCSA is seeking a talented, highly-motivated individual to provide leadership of the Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management, and Sustainability (AIFARMS) Institute. The Executive Director (ED) will provide operational management of activities and strategic initiatives of AIFARMS. As a member of the leadership team, the ED will participate in project leadership activities, meetings with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and collaborate with the Principal Investigators (PIs). The ED will participate in strategic planning efforts and serve as an ex officio member of the various governance groups for AIFARMS. The ED will represent AIFARMS at various local, regional, and national meetings and events. As directed by the AIFARMS Director, the ED will supervise AIFARMS staff, including the Assistant Director of Education and Outreach, administrative staff, and research staff.

NCSA is committed to increasing the diversity of the campus community. Candidates who have experience working with a diverse range of faculty, staff, and students, and who can contribute to the climate of inclusivity are encouraged to apply.

Key responsibilities

  • Provide operational leadership of AIFARMS:
    • Set direction for all staff and facilitate the accomplishment of goals and objectives. Direct, supervise, and advise AIFARMS staff in the proper implementation of policy and procedures, including delegating project tasks and conducting staff performance evaluations.
    • Manage expenditures within the available project funding for AIFARMS and make financial decisions to assure timely and effective financial management. Identify, analyze, and solve problems regarding the operation of AIFARMS (e.g., budgetary, personnel, scheduling).
    • Manage the production of quarterly and annual reports for NIFA and annual updates for AIFARMS governance and advisory groups.
    • Organize an annual, public AIFARMS conference, including planning, execution, coordination with University facilities and logistics, and development of high quality content and delivery.
    • Coordinate with and support AIFARMS team members in the planning and organization of internal and external workshops, retreats, summer schools, and webinars.
    • Formulate and supervise an effective external and internal communication plan, including website updates, newsletters, social media, media interactions, and regular updates for the AIFARMS team on projects, events, and progress.
    • Represent AIFARMS at regional and national meetings and workshops. Prepare and/or deliver presentations, briefings, and reports regarding AIFARMS activities. Stand in for AIFARMS leadership in selected public events and media interviews.
  • Provide management and oversight of AIFARMS:
    • Develop, implement, and manage AIFARMS programs, policies, and objectives, and establish and maintain program status summaries and metrics.
    • Contribute to the development of the AIFARMS strategic plan and participate in the development and implementation of supportive programs, objectives, and long-range planning.
    • Work with AIFARMS leadership to identify strategic partners and develop new partnerships across academia, industry, government, foundations, and NGOs.
    • Ensure the appropriate levels of project governance to address risks, issues, ethics requirements, and critical dependencies.
    • Support financial planning, development and submission of proposals across all sectors and funding agencies.

Required education and experience

  • Bachelor's degree in a discipline related to digital agriculture. Alternative degree fields will be considered if accompanied by equivalent experience (depending on nature and depth of experience as it relates to current NCSA and AIFARMS business and technology needs).
  • Five or more years of experience leading and overseeing projects with multidisciplinary teams across multiple university sites.
  • Experience in managing complex budgets for multiple programs and constituencies.
  • Experience working with data-intensive research communities and interdisciplinary projects.
  • Experience in managing grant resources and writing reports to agencies.

Preferred experience

  • Ph.D. in a discipline related to digital agriculture. Alternative degree fields will be considered/accepted if accompanied by equivalent experience (depending on nature and depth of experience as it relates to current NCSA and AIFARMS business and technology needs).
  • Strong research experience in the areas of AI and/or digital agriculture.
  • Demonstrated track record in developing successful large funding proposals.
  • Experience in working with officials of federal agencies, preferably NIFA and NSF.
  • Experience in developing and executing long-range and short-range plans and schedules.
  • Experience organizing substantial conferences or workshops with external funding.

Key skills/knowledge

  • Strong written and oral communication skills.

This is a regular academic professional position at NCSA and is an annually renewable, 12/12, 100%-time appointment with regular University benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience and start date will be as soon as possible after the close date of the search. Applicants must possess required education and experience by start date of position. Interviews may occur before the closing date; however, all applications received by the closing date will receive full consideration. For further information regarding our application procedures, please email hudgens2@illinois.edu.

To apply, please create your candidate profile at jobs.illinois.edu and upload your cover letter and CV/resume by the close date, March 14, 2021. Contact information for three references must be included on the application. For full consideration, candidates must complete the Hiretouch application process by the above date.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

For further information regarding our application procedures, you may visit www.ncsa.illinois.edu or email NCSA-HR@illinois.edu.