Formulation Chemist-Product Development

Title: Formulation Chemist-Product Development

The Formulation Chemist-Product Development (FCPD) position requires chemistry and/or biological or chemical engineering knowledge in research, formulation, development, and analysis of fertilizers. The position requires a cradle-to-grave approach to new and novel fertilizer products spanning ideation, research and development, scale up, manufacturing support, and commercial use support. It also requires the ability to work with chemists and laboratory and greenhouse technicians and to coordinate with other scientists.

Job Description

  • Develop new and innovative non-conventional fertilizers and production processes that utilize organic/recycled amendments, biofertilizers (microbes: bacteria, fungi, etc.) and biostimulants, and regulators. Innovative products with ecological appeal that utilize soil ecosystem processes to improve soil health and allow timely nutrient availability to crops, thus reducing nutrient losses.
  • Develop new ideas and technologies to improve nutrient use efficiency of existing fertilizer products with safe inhibitors and biodegradable coatings and to improve nutrient balance with secondary and micro-nutrient coatings, biostimulants, etc.
  • Develop new products and technologies with low particle size (micro- or nanoscale) to increase efficiency of absorption and plant uptake.
  • Work with public and private sector partners to develop and commercialize (scale up) new products.
  • Develop, conduct, and assist with research (identify research topics, develop proposals on potential research projects, etc.)
  • Prepare and/or present technical reports, scientific journal publications, and project proposals.
  • Provide technical assistance, consultancies, and training programs to institutions and private companies globally.

Job Requirements

This position requires detailed theoretical knowledge of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology in conjunction with mechanical and computer processing and instrumentation capabilities. This broad scientific knowledge is applied to research and development of innovative fertilizer materials and processes. This position also requires knowledge in polymer chemistry, material science, biomaterials engineering, and fertilizers.
This position requires the following:
  • Experience in new fertilizer product development, project management, and technology transfer to piloting and scale up.
  • Extensive scientific knowledge to understand and apply the principles upon which the technology of synthesis/production of new fertilizers and agrochemicals is based.
  • Experience with hands-on research and development in polymer chemistry, coating formulations, encapsulations, and coating processes (pan, drum, fluid-bed, etc.).
  • Experience with equipment for processing, analysis, and characterization, such as particle size analyzer, scanning electron microscope, HPLC, thermal analysis, dispersion system, coating systems, reactors, mills, etc.
  • Basic mechanical capabilities to set up, operate, and maintain pilot plant/bench-scale equipment for fertilizer research.
  • Knowledge and understanding of soil, crop, and climate relationships in order to properly design/conduct product development research.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with skills in writing reports/scientific publications and giving presentations in seminars and training programs.
  • Experience in business development/proposal writing.
  • Minimum of three years of research and product development with master’s degree or doctorate in chemistry or chemical or biological Engineering or
Bachelor’s degree in the above with a minimum 10 years of research and development experience and patented products.

Difficulty of Work

This position involves the application of scientific principles to the research and production of fertilizer materials. This position involves the development of innovative ideas for non-conventional fertilizers and production processes. Research requires the daily resolution of unknown problems encountered in the development of agrochemicals and coatings for controlled-release fertilizers.

Responsibility

This position is responsible for making technical decisions related to the design, setup, execution, and development of new fertilizer products. General instructions are provided by the supervisor and work is assigned as needed. Meetings with the supervisor are held weekly or monthly to review work and discuss problems, schedules, and future projects. This position occasionally provides technical guidance to other IFDC staff members. Responsible for a team.

PERSONAL WORK RELATIONSHIPS

This position has external contacts with scientists/institutions in developing countries, technical directors of agricultural research centers, seminar participants, tour groups, sales representatives, and business managers of chemical companies. External contacts are required to relay, explain, or obtain information. Most contacts within IFDC are made with management or co-workers to share information and to review project status.

PHYSICAL EFFORT AND WORK ENVIRONMENT

This position may involve exposure to hazardous chemicals when working in the laboratory. However, this position is responsible for ensuring that safety procedures are followed. This position may also involve some lifting and carrying of equipment and chemicals.