LEAD SCIENTIST

Funga is a public benefit corporation harnessing forest fungal networks to address the climate crisis. We develop fungal biotechnology to accelerate tree growth and carbon capture, while building more biodiverse and resilient belowground fungal networks. We do this by combining DNA sequencing and machine learning technology to link molecular scale variation in soil fungal communities to emergent forest properties.

We seek a Lead Scientist to establish our scientific team, build our core data product and act as on-the-ground lead for ecological operations. You will work closely with our Chief Scientist, whose research to date on the forest microbiome has formed the technical foundation for Funga.

Your responsibilities will range from experimental design and implementation to development of databases and algorithms that identify variation in forest growth. Your time will be spent working with supply chain partners to coordinate fieldwork (alongside our Lead Forester), designing and implementing experiments, creating scalable environments for data science and eventually mentoring junior scientists.

We are a small team, and each of us operate beyond our "roles" on a daily basis. We are looking for someone eager to learn new methods and data structures quickly, who can think creatively, and can independently commit code. We need a leader, with a vision for scaling platforms and programs. This role is an opportunity to lead a fungal microbiome data team, and address one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

If you are excited by starting new things, learning as you go and being hands-on in applying your scientific work to the private sector, you will dig working with us. Application is encouraged even if only some of the below criteria are met.

This role is based in Austin, Texas, USA. Some travel required. Partial remote work is possible.

IN SUMMARY, THE LEAD SCIENTIST WILL:

  • Build organized and scalable pipelines to collect, collate, manage and make sense of data on the forest microbiome. This includes:

    • Working hands-on in field and with partners to develop and refine protocol

    • Managing relationships, logistics and dataflow with lab partners

    • Creating systems and practices to balance speed and accuracy in data analysis

  • Use emerging ML techniques to find meaning across datasets.

  • Lead data harmonization and use of bioinformatic pipelines.

  • Develop infrastructure to rapidly repeat analyses.

  • Generate high quality visualizations of key findings.

  • Maintain contemporary collaborative working practices with team members.

  • Lead a growing team of programmers and scientists, and increasingly take on a management role as the team grows.

  • Alongside the Chief Science Officer, recruit and train junior scientists in fieldwork and data science practices, and nurture their growth at Funga.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR STRENGTHS AND EXPERIENCE IN:

  • Ecology or other similar science (e.g. geoscience, material science).

  • Building scalable systems to process, analyze, and visualize large datasets.

  • Developing algorithms and data structures, geospatial mapping, genomic data analysis.

  • Working with ML models to generate new insights.

  • Flexibility and willingness to learn new things, roll up your sleeves and take on new roles to push the company forward.

  • Team leadership.

WE EXPECT YOU TO:

  • Bring a passion for ecology, biodiversity and addressing climate change.

  • Work collaboratively with all team members to build shared understanding across all functions.

  • Take ownership of all project work from end-to-end.

  • Take part in strategic thinking.

  • Communicate, develop, and document all work with painstaking detail.

Please send applications to jobs@forestfunga.com with the subject line "Lead Scientist" and your name. Please include a CV, a one-page cover letter describing why you are well-suited for this position, a link to a code repository you believe is a strong example of your work (a github repo or similar) and the names and contact details of 3 professional references.