Neonicotinoids (a class of systemic insecticides) have been a critical component of insect management in potato production in the United States since the mid-1990s. However, neonicotinoids have come under increasing scrutiny because of their unintended effects on non-target organisms, especially pollinators. Given possible restrictions of neonicotinoids for U.S. potato production, understanding how growers make decisions during times of regulatory uncertainty is key to designing effective, environmentally sustainable alternatives. The Postdoctoral Research Associate (Social Scientist) will explore the factors that affect U.S. potato growers’ pest management decisions, the barriers and bridges to transitioning from seed-applied neonicotinoids to alternative (often information-intensive) practices, and the impacts of such transitions on growers, the potato industry, and society in general. The Postdoctoral Research Associate (Social Scientist) will focus primarily on the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. This work is part of a large, multi-institutional, multidisciplinary project (“Enhancing Integrated Insect Pest Management Strategies for U.S. Potato Production Systems”) funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI). The Postdoctoral Research Associate (Social Scientist) will work as part of the Socioeconomic Working Group headed by Dr. Jessica Goldberger (Rural Sociologist) in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences (http://css.wsu.edu) in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (http://cahnrs.wsu.edu). The Socioeconomic Working Group also includes Dr. Katherine Dentzman (Rural Sociologist, Iowa State University) who will be hiring a Postdoctoral Research Associate to focus on potato grower decision-making in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States. Dr. Goldberger, Dr. Dentzman, and the two Postdoctoral Research Associates will collaborate extensively throughout the project. The Washington State University position is a temporary, 12-month, full-time position with the ability to renew annually, pending funding and successful review and progress.
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