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Postdoctoral Research Associate Positions


The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the principal scientific research agency of the Department of Agriculture. ARS has approximately 1,200 research projects at over 100 locations which are situated strategically across the major farm and rangeland ecosystems and climate zones of the United States. Consequently, ARS has the ability to bring research expertise to bear on the same national problems in several different geographic locations.

ARS conducts research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provides information access and dissemination to:

  • Ensure high-quality, safe food and other agricultural products,
  • Assess the nutritional needs of Americans,
  • Sustain a competitive agricultural economy,
  • Enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and
  • Provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.


The overall aim of ARS research is to ensure the continuation of an adequate food and fiber supply of high quality to meet the needs of the American people.

ARS has a workforce of approximately 8,000 employees including 2,000 scientists representing a wide range of disciplines. Researchers with ARS employ the most advanced technologies used by scientists.

POSITIONS COVERED: ARS is currently recruiting for Postdoctoral Research Associate (RA) positions. Opportunities exist in many of the life and physical sciences.

There are no specific closing dates. Candidates will be considered as applications are received. Successful candidates will be employed under an excepted appointment, usually up to 2 years in duration.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: These positions are normally filled at the step 1 of the GS-11 or GS-12 grade level. The current salary for these positions is $50,287 and $60,274 respectively, plus locality pay. Appointments of more than one year convey eligibility for health insurance and life insurance. Appointees are also eligible to earn and use annual and sick leave.

CONTACT: For details on the position itself and specialized requirements, please contact the scientist who will be the mentor for the position.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: You must meet all requirements for the position including completion of the Ph.D. prior to entrance on duty. Preference is given to candidates whose degree has been received within the last 4 years. CITIZENSHIP RESTRICTIONS APPLY.

HOW TO APPLY: Send a resume, curriculum vitae, or Optional Application for Federal Employment, OF-612, to the Contact address. A separate application is needed for each position. Please include the announcement number and position title on your application.

The following information must be submitted to evaluate your qualifications and determine if you meet legal requirements for Federal employment:

  • Copy of your college transcripts or list of college courses (include a description of any course not readily identifiable by the title)
  • Specify exact date or expected date (month/year) of completion of all Ph.D. degree requirements. Graduates of foreign universities must include proof that their Ph.D. degree is equivalent to a degree granted by an accredited U.S. college or university.
  • List of publications, presentations, honors/awards
  • One-page abstract of Ph.D. dissertation
  • Description of how you meet the special requirements of the position for which you are applying. Include information concerning pertinent courses, publications, accomplishments, etc.
  • Description of paid and nonpaid work related to the position.
  • Social security number
  • Country of citizenship
  • Veterans' preference (if applicable)
  • Highest Federal civilian grade held (if applicable)


OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you are a male over age 18 who was born after December 31, 1959, you must have registered with the Selective Service System (or have an exemption) to be eligible for a Federal job.

VETERANS' PREFERENCE: If you served on active duty in the United States military and were separated under honorable conditions, you may be eligible for veterans' preference. Most veterans who served during the Gulf War era (August 2, 1990 through January 2, 1992) are eligible for preference. Veterans who did not serve during this time frame, but whose service began after October 15, 1976, must have a campaign badge, expeditionary medal, or a service-connected disability to be eligible for preference.

To claim 5-point veterans' preference, you must attach a copy of your DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, or other proof of eligibility. To claim 10-point veterans' preference, attach a SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans Preference, plus the documentation required by that form. For further details, call the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) at 912-757-3000. Select "Federal Employment Topics" and then "Veterans". Or, dial OPM's electronic bulletin board at 912-757-3100 or visit their VetGuide web site at www.opm.gov/employ/html/vetguide.htm.

EEO STATEMENT: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center on 202-720-2600 (voice or TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

ACCOMMODATION: This agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

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Also available: ARS Research Scientist Vacancies

Last Updated: 08/22/2012