The job of plant scientist is a mid-level position in bioenergy, in the agriculture, life, and physical sciences career sub-sector. Job seekers with agriculture, life, and physical sciences backgrounds or a career in the sciences could consider this type of mid-level bioenergy job.
Plant scientists work as staff specialists under the direction of senior management to help optimize the productivity of biomass feedstocks while maintaining or enhancing soil quality and ecosystem services. They conduct research on energy crop breeding, physiology, production, and yield, as well as study crop management techniques to discern the best ways to plant, harvest, and cultivate plants as well as develop methods to control weeds and pests to keep crops disease-free. People in these positions may have careers in bioenergy plant science.
Agronomist; Botanist; Crop Scientist; Plant Geneticist; Plant Pathologist
|Education & Training Level Description|
Master’s degree in Plant Science, Plant Breeding, Biotechnology, Plant Pathology, Agronomy, Agricultural Engineering, Crop Science, Entomology, Genetics, Soil Science, Biology, or a related field.
The United States has the potential to sustainably produce over 1 billion tons of biomass annually for renewable fuels, power, and products. Much of this biomass will come from dedicated energy crops—non-food crops that can be grown on land not suitable for traditional crops, specifically to provide biomass—and other agricultural resources. Improvements in crop yield and productivity as well as reductions in fertilizer and pesticide requirements will help the industry realize this vast potential. With knowledge of biology, genetics, entomology, and soil science, plant scientists are uniquely qualified to help develop and enhance bioenergy crop systems, while protecting the nation’s natural resources.
Plant scientists conduct research on energy crop breeding, physiology, production, and yield. They also study different crop management techniques in order to discern the best ways to plant, harvest, and cultivate the plants as well as develop methods to control weeds and pests to keep crops disease-free. Their ultimate goal is to work scientifically to produce the finest crops for use in bioenergy production systems, on a consistent basis.
At the middle levels, Plant Scientists work as staff specialists under the direction of senior management to help optimize the productivity of biomass feedstocks while maintaining or enhancing soil quality and ecosystem services. Master’s degree in plant science, plant breeding, biotechnology, plant pathology, agronomy, agricultural engineering, crop science, entomology, genetics, soil science, biology, or a related field is highly preferred. Equivalent experience or training may substitute for a Master’s degree.