Graduate research assistantship in Agri-Food Systems at Michigan State University

The Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation & Resource Studies (CARRS) at Michigan State University (MSU) announces the availability of a research assistantship (RA) in Agri-Food Systems: Consumer Research beginning Fall Semester, 2012. This two-year project will focus on consumer perceptions of bird control techniques in agriculture, and involve the following research components: 1) focus groups, 2) a nationally representative online survey utilizing a conjoint format, and 3) experimental auctions. The results will characterize consumer willingness-to-pay for potential methods for limiting bird damage to specialty fruit crops, such as grapes, apples, blueberries and cherries. It will thus give producers information to make more informed decisions to adopt bird control techniques, and has the long-term potential to inform the development of more consumer-responsive ecolabels.

The research assistant will contribute to all phases of this research, including design, implementation, analysis and public outreach, in collaboration with faculty members Dr. Phil Howard and Dr. Chi-Ok Oh. The time commitment will be 20 hours per week throughout the academic year, with the potential for summer employment. Compensation will be at the standard RA rate based on degree and workload, as well as health benefits and a tuition waiver.

CARRS is an interdisciplinary department committed to engaged scholarship within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU. Our teaching, research and public outreach address critical issues at the interfaces of agriculture, natural resources, recreation, and communities. The graduate program is very flexible, with opportunities to design a program of study that includes courses from many other departments.

Qualifications: Research assistants are expected to be highly motivated and interested in agri-food issues as part of their graduate study. They are also expected to be committed to interdisciplinary work. Interested applicants should possess exceptional analytic ability, a strong background in statistics, and well-developed writing skills. PhD students preferred, although master’s students will be considered.

Applicants should send a letter of application, resume/CV, copies of transcripts and GRE scores, and contact information for three references to the address below. In your letter, please address your reasons for interest in the position and your training in academic research.

Dr. Phil Howard
316 Natural Resources Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824–1222

Employment will begin August 16, 2012. Continued employment is contingent upon satisfactory performance and progress toward the student’s degree. Review of applications will begin February 1, 2012 and continue until the deadline of March 1. Graduate program admission must be addressed separately and awarding of this RA is contingent upon acceptance into the graduate program. Graduate program admission and RA applications may be submitted simultaneously. See http://www.carrs.msu.edu for more information. Contact: Phil Howard, howardp@msu.edu , (517) 355-8431.