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by abwhite last modified Sep 10, 2015 05:17 PM

Posted September 10, 2015

Research position in life cycle assessment of processing tomatoes


Position Description:

The candidate will contribute to research on a project to assess environmental and human health impacts of processing tomato production and processing in California. We are looking to hire either a postdoctoral scholar or other exceptional candidates (with our without doctoral degrees) with prior experience implementing life cycle assessment methodology, especially in food and agricultural systems. Duration will be approximately 18 months.


The incumbent will be a key contributor to a project funded by Barilla America (Italian pasta and tomato products company) to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) of tomato field production and basic processing into paste and diced tomatoes. LCA is a method that quantifies environmental impacts “from cradle to grave.” This project will expand on previous research conducted by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis, to assess life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, water, and energy use in processed tomato production. The current project will include a comparison of present-day practices with historical practices (from approximately 12-15 years ago), and will also include more attention to geographic variation across California’s 17 tomato producing counties. The current project will also assess a much larger range of environmental and human health impacts, including criteria air pollutants, water quality parameters, and others yet to be determined, in addition to GHG emissions and use of fossil energy sources and water. Data collection will require confidential communication with at least 2 collaborating tomato processing facilities, as well as surveys of tomato growers, farm advisors and other industry experts.


The preferred candidate will have knowledge of and experience with all or some of the following:

(1) spreadsheet-based modelling, preferably in an LCA context

(2) spatial modelling (GIS, transport network analysis, etc.) to support modeling of geographic variation and transport of the crop from field to processor

(3) food processing facilities/technologies/practices.

Other desired qualifications include experience or knowledge of survey development and implementation, knowledge of energy systems and transportation fuels and their emissions, and knowledge of farming practices in intensively managed horticultural crops. The preferred candidate will be able to communicate clearly and professionally with a range of collaborators and audiences, from academic colleagues to facility managers and growers. S/he will also be able to work effectively without frequent supervision, prioritize tasks to meet agreed deadlines, maintain communication with the larger team.

To Apply:

Please send a current CV, 2 references who will be contacted if you are interviewed for the position, and a cover letter summarizing (a) your interest in this position, (b) your most relevant background and skills, and (c) when you would be able to begin work. Please send to Dr. Sonja Brodt, at , and copy Dr. Alissa Kendall, at , with the subject line “Application for tomato LCA position.”

Application review will begin Sept. 25, 2015 and the position will remain open until filled. Applications received after Sept 25 will be considered if the position is not yet filled.

Event Details


One Shields Drive
UC Davis
Davis, CA

(530) 752-3915