Project Manager, Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture (CAIA) in Blacksburg, VA

Virginia Tech

Job no: 526887

Work type: Administrative & Professional

Senior management: Agriculture & Life Sciences

Department: Ctr for Adv Innovation in Agri

Location: Blacksburg, Virginia

Categories: Agriculture / Life Science, Program/Project Management

Job Description

The Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture (CAIA) is seeking a dynamic and highly capable Project Manager to join our team. This individual will play a pivotal role in driving the execution, direction, and overall success of major projects, systems development efforts, and research or technology initiatives. The Project Manager will demonstrate resourcefulness and agility in navigating tight timelines, reconciling conflicting requirements, and effectively coordinating and managing faculty team members. Reporting directly to the Center Director and Associate Director, the Project Manager will actively contribute to shaping CAIA’s definition, organization, and strategic direction. The Project Manager will collaborate closely with the Center leadership in the formulation and implementation of short- and long-term plans. This influential role involves guiding and directing the technical approach, as well as identifying the necessary resources and personnel to effectively carry out assigned tasks. The Project Manager will work in close partnership with the Center leadership to establish and achieve key technical milestones, foster collaboration with affiliate faculty and graduate students, and adapt plans to address evolving sponsor or programmatic needs, ultimately ensuring the successful delivery of research projects.

The Project Manager will serve as a steward of collaborative research efforts, within CAIA and with other VT Centers and external stakeholders. Additionally, the Project Manager will be responsible for managing and advancing research and technology initiatives. Acting as a primary point of contact for external collaborators and sponsors, the Project Manager will be expected to effectively communicate project definitions, updates, and reports to both internal and external audiences. The Project Manager will also facilitate interactions with affiliate faculty and graduate students within the Center, adapting plans as necessary to meet evolving sponsor or programmatic needs and ensuring the successful execution of projects. To excel in this role, the successful candidate must demonstrate exceptional time management and project organization skills, work effectively as a self-directed team member, and exhibit responsible and efficient utilization of financial, time, human, and equipment resources.

Specific responsibilities:

Contribute technical expertise to the preparation and review of research project plans and project budgets.
Track research project cost, schedule, and performance and coordinate project actions.
Monitor and contribute to the preparation of research project reports for both internal and external funding agencies/sponsors.
Develop and monitor metrics for research projects and center processes.
Keep all stakeholders involved in research compliance management discussions and drive risk mitigation efforts.
Contribute to the execution of research projects by providing technical expertise on specific projects and guidance to the direction of the research.
Maintain and monitor the financial status of the center as a whole to include balances of all funds, allocation of personnel level of effort, and other expenses.
Attend meetings with potential customers and partners
Schedule and develop agendas for project meetings.
Record the minutes and action items of project meetings.
Track action items to project completion.
Monitor and contribute technically to preparation of proposals.
Assist the Center Director and Associate Director, and where appropriate, act as the Center Director’s executive agent for all aspects of project management.
Provide advice to the Center leadership on potential customers, areas of research or specific researchers to be contacted in the proposal development and or project execution process.

Required Qualifications

Hold a minimum of a M.S. degree in a STEM-related discipline (i.e., biological sciences, environmental sciences, data sciences, biotechnology, engineering, or information technology).
Provide evidence of having a working knowledge of agriculture-related technologies and innovations such as drones, robots, sensors, data analytics, and software development methodologies.
Provide evidence of being able to communicate with a range of stakeholders and experts who can potentially contribute to CAIA initiatives/projects.
Provide evidence of demonstrating fluency, understanding, and experience with the “Agriculture Innovation” landscape.
Have demonstrated experience in proposal technical writing and research project management
Have experience with project budget tracking and management

Per employer policies, the applicant must pass a criminal background check and currently possess, or be eligible for and able to maintain a security clearance as required to perform assigned duties.

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with experience.

Review Date

September 20, 2023; until the position is filled.

Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.
About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.
If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Dr. Kang Xia at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

Advertised: August 29, 2023 Applications close: