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ARS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), located in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research Project: The Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research Unit develops technologies that optimize the nutritional and health benefits, functional properties, and sensory qualities of agricultural commodities, thus, enhancing their utilization. The participant will conduct original food sensory evaluation research (not a technician appointment) to promote the sustainability of selected U.S. agricultural commodities and enhance the quality of subsequent food products.

Research Activities: Sensory and consumer research activities will address USDA-ARS project objectives. These include:

  • Determining causative factors of off-flavors in food products and developing best practices to identify and resolve off-flavor issues 
  • Reducing waste and increasing profits for farmers through effective value-added product development 
  • Enhancing utilization of agricultural commodities by assessing and addressing the wants of consumers

Learning Objectives: The participant will develop an understanding of sensory and consumer research design. Learning opportunities for food processing, product development, and chemical analysis methods will also occur. To accomplish this, the participant will collaborate in a research team that includes chemists, food technologists, and agricultural scientists. When completed, the participant will have a thorough understanding of factors influencing food quality, with opportunities to present research findings to stakeholders. 

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Ryan Ardoin ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: November, 2022.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience conducting research with human subjects
  • Experience designing food sensory tests
  • Food processing and product development knowledge is a plus
  • An understanding of how physiological and psychological factors influence responses to food stimuli, and measurement thereof
  • Ability to recommend and apply appropriate statistical analyses to various types of data