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Santa Monica, California ExecuNet

In order to implement the Company mission, joining a team of CEA experts and reporting to the CEO, the SVP Plant Science will be providing strategic leadership to the scientific team, pioneering intellectual property, developing new seeds, designing the division's roadmap as an integral part of Company's business goals, to bring produce to fruition. As an expert system integrator, Company will initially be focusing on partnering with large food companies and governments. Bringing domain expertise in plant science and precision agriculture, the company's core mission however is to be a good farmer and grow a variety of sustainable, nourishing, accessible produce for all, pushing the limits to what food is currently available through CEA and establishing the Sensei Farms brand with customers and consumers. Environmental, climate, economic and market factors will inform the growing approach and subsequent R&D or utilization of the most appropriate growing structures, systems and technologies for the desired crops, location and commercial goals, commensurate with the corporate "buy, adapt, partner, or invent" hierarchy of technology sourcing strategies.

Company's unprecedented business and capital model, product suite, (consumer retail in-store units, seeds, software, robotics and eventually indoor farms) and financing provide a unique environment and opportunity to shape the future of agriculture and tackle the CEA market holistically, not one segment at a time to compete with conventional farming.

With COVID-19, food security and food sustainability as underpinning issues, baby greens representing 65% of the current CEA production and an $8 billion market, and the indoor farming technology market projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.21% to reach US$29.430 billion by 2024, from US$15.560 billion in 2018, using science and technology to push the farming limits of vine vegetables, berries and root vegetables as well as plant proteins will present formidable opportunities. The SVP Plant Science will be closely collaborating with the leadership team including the Chief Farms Officer and SVP Technology, and will be responsible for executive oversight of the plant and produce roadmap, providing expertise on levers that can be pulled to develop new seeds and cultivars, increase yield and nutrient content including knowledge on airflow, soil moisture and humidity, CO2, wavelengths and duration of light and integrated pest management. Armed with superb business acumen, this efficient communicator, personable and altruistic leader and mentor will be tasked with managing a world class team, through organic growth or acquisition.

Position Description

  • Oversee the allocation of research and lab space for Sensei Farms
  • Direct budget management for scientific research programs and allocation of resources
  • Coordinate with Chief Executive Officer to ensure efficient and effective operation of research labs and greenhouses
  • Collaborate with Finance, Production and Marketing to focus R&D on Commercial Opportunities that can scale
  • Partner with Business Development to identify opportunities for collaboration with industry affiliates
  • Oversee the overall operation and integration of scientific cores
  • Identify opportunities for resource sharing among Sensei Farms to promote institute-wide scientific progress
  • Lead development and implementation of Sensei Farms research vision
  • Set priorities for executing on a world-class scientific research program
  • Lead department recruitment/retention
  • Monitor and evaluate department and staff performance to best cultivate the Sensei Farms talent base
  • Coordinate with Human Resources and Communications on employee engagement programs

What You Bring

  • Doctoral degree (e.g. PhD, MD or equivalent) in a life science field from an accredited college or university with 10+ years of job specific experience
  • 10+ years of experience, both as an individual contributor and manager
  • Ability to connect scientific improvements with real-world commercial applications
  • Experience scaling operations exponentially and designing crops to scale exponentially
  • Entrepreneurial spirit -- someone who can simultaneously think big, but also grounded in the immediate, practical, get-stuff-done mindset of a startup. Previous startup experience is the best way to evaluate this skill
  • Understanding of budgets and project planning with an adept ability to prioritize and focus on the most critical projects firs
  • Deep leadership and organizational development skills, with the ability to attract, assess, hire and retain top technical talent
  • Academic credentials and prior experience that merit a tenured appointment at the rank of professor or equivalent within a top tier university or independent research institute
  • Successful experience in administrative leadership in academia or in a comparable position in a leading non-academic research institution
  • Prior measurable success defining and leading the strategic direction of a research organization

Specialized Skills

  • Strategic thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Passion for research; high level of enthusiasm, energy and self-confidence
  • Possesses credibility that commands respect internally and externally
  • Effective interpersonal relations, exceptional communicator and ability to rapidly adapt and respond to changing priorities
  • Experience with vegetable crops and plant-based proteins in controlled growing environments (greenhouse or indoor)
  • Experience with plant breeding, variety trials and modern marker-based breeding techniques
  • Experience with hydroponics
  • Experience with environmental optimization in controlled environment hydroponics
  • Familiarity with principles of good laboratory practice
  • Experience working with engineers or software developers
  • Public speaking experience
  • Published peer-reviewed literature or other scientific contributions

Traits We Value

  • Appreciation for transforming health and the future of food
  • Loves a good challenge
  • Resourceful and adaptable
  • A strong sense of curiosity
  • Embraces feedback and continually seeks to improve
  • Collaborative and knows how to get things done as part of a team