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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Biological Science Lab Technician (Insects)
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Agricultural Research Service
Job Announcement Number:  CK-13-889592-TW

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$38,790.00 to $50,431.00 / Per Year
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 to Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Full Time - Term NTE 4 years
1 vacancy in the following location:
Brookings, SD United StatesView Map
United States Citizens


Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

The incumbent will perform work that supports an ongoing research program of a Research Entomologist, whose main research themes support conservation of beneficial insects within modern cropping systems, the feeding ecology of insects, and the ecological risk assessment of new pest management technologies. Main projects that this project will support are the environmental risk assessment of pesticidal small RNAs on non-target species, including beneficial insects and insect communities associated with cropland.


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Must possess a valid state driver's license.
  • Travel is required 11 or more days a month.


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The Incumbent:

  • Actively participates in one or more phases of the research process (through entomological and genetics experiments) in a laboratory, field, or greenhouse environment.
  • Contributes ideas toward the planning and implementation of the technical and support aspects of the research.
  • Performs entomological experiments involving insects, which include areas of anatomy, behavior, ecology, and genetics.
  • Performs full range of techniques and studies using a variety of specialized equipment, which includes qPCR, q-rtPCR, genomic DNA sequencing, environmental growth chambers, greenhouse facilities, personal computers, vehicles, etc.
  • Maintains, calibrates and modifies complex/specialized equipment and automated systems used for test and evaluation procedures.
  • Collects, prepares, evaluates and verifies samples and supporting records.
  • Maintains inventory of chemicals, stock solutions, etc., prepares solutions and reagents for use in laboratory, field, or greenhouse, and safely disposes of waste material.
  • Keeps detailed records of experimental data using personal computers and software packages.


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    To Qualify at the GS-07 Level:

    Minimum Qualifications:

    Experience: Must have one year (12-months) of full-time specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-06 grade level in the Federal service performing the following duties: maintaining a series of complex field and laboratory experiments; rearing insects; conducting agronomic field studies; conducting laboratory toxicity assays; performing various forms of PCR; processing insect samples for eventual genomic sequencing; operating and maintaining complex equipment (e.g., thermocyclers, growth chambers/greenhouse systems); keeping exact and detailed records of data obtained from experiments.

    Must have successfully completed 1 year (18 semester hours) of graduate level education leading to a Master's degree in any of the following areas: biology, microbiology, ecology, genetics, entomology, botany, or agriculture. (YOU MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS.)

    Combination: Must have an equivalent combination of education and experience that may be qualifying. For example, 6 months of specialized experience described above (50% of the experience requirement), and 1 semester of graduate level study from an accredited institution (50% of the qualifying education) as specified above equals 100% of the total requirement. Note: Only graduate level education may be combined with experience at the GS-7 grade level (YOU MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS).


    All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

    Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made.  Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

    This position is open to all US Citizens and Nationals.  You may apply under open-competitive.


    Your application will be evaluated and rated under Category Rating Procedures. Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veterans' preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Your resume will be reviewed and compared against your responses to the online questionnaire. We strongly encourage you to answer every question that accompanies this vacancy, as your responses will better highlight your specific qualifications.


    Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies:

    • Knowledge of the principles of biological and agricultural research.
    • Ability to adapt, develop or improve research techniques and procedures.
    • Ability to obtain, tabulate, statistically analyze, and summarize research data.
    • Ability to use scientific instrumentation.
    • Ability to perform scientific experimentation.


    Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the assessment questionnaire. High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official.


    Displaced/Surplus Employees: Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and is rated in the Well Qualified Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible.CLICK HERE for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.


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    The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees.  The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees:


    Financial Disclosure Requirement:
    The Research, Education and Economics (REE) agencies inspire public confidence in our missions by maintaining high ethical principles. Employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as described on the REE Ethics Webpage. You may be required to submit a financial disclosure report if hired for this position.

    False Statements:
    If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

    Reasonable Accommodation:
    Reasonable accommodation is provided to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on (202) 855-1234 (TDD). The decision to grant reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis.


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    Your application package must be complete by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, June 05, 2013.  You must apply online or by fax (see below for details).  Applications sent by mail (including e-mail) or hand-delivered will not be accepted.  Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions. 

    Choose either Option A or Option B to apply for this position:

    Option A:  Online Application
    Click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.  From USAJOBS, you will be routed to Application Manager.  Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire and upload (or reuse) supporting documents.  You must click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

    If you need technical assistance with the online application process, please send an e-mail to

    Note: To return to a previously saved or incomplete application, use the following link:  Track your progress to a Complete Application Package using the My Application Packages checklist and status displays in Application Manager.

    To fax supporting documents that you are unable to upload:
    1. Click here to print a fax cover page 
    2. Complete all blocks on the cover page using Vacancy ID 889592.  Documents will not be processed if information is missing.
    3. Fax the completed cover page and your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

    Option B:  Fax
    If you cannot apply online, follow these steps to fax your complete application package.
    1. Click the following link to print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire;
    2. Click here to print the 1203FX form, which you will use to provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire; and  
    3. Fax the completed 1203FX (all 6 pages), your resume, and supporting documents (including those specified in the Required Documents section below) to 1-478-757-3144.  The 1203FX will serve as the cover page for your fax transmission and must be placed on top of all other documents.


    The following documents are required:  
       - Assessment questionnaire (completed online or submitted by fax using the 1203FX) 
       - Resume

    In addition, you may need to submit supplemental documentation (as outlined below).  Failure to submit supplemental information by the closing date of this announcement will result in the loss of the particular consideration you are requesting.

    Veterans' Preference:  To claim 5-point veterans' preference, submit Member 4 copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility.  To claim 10-point veterans' preference, submit an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference, plus the documentation required by that form.  Active Duty Service Members must submit a statement of discharge/certification of release or an official written document from the armed forces that certifies you are expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions no later than 120 days from the date the certification is signed.  Enlisted Record Briefs and military identification do NOT qualify as official documentation.

    Transcripts:  If you indicate that you possess any form of post-secondary education, you must submit transcripts detailing your coursework and/or degree(s). At the time your education was obtained, the entire institution, applicable school within the institution, or the applicable curriculum must have been appropriately accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. You may lose consideration for this position if you fail to provide this information.

    Foreign Education:  To receive credit for education outside the U.S., you must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and that such education has been deemed to be at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs.


    Midwest Services Branch
    Phone: (816)426-5706
    Agency Information:
    Recruitment Effort for OPM and FSA
    Call or e-mail us with your questions
    Thank You, MO


    Once your complete application package (including all required documents) is received, we will conduct an evaluation of your qualifications and determine your ranking.  The best qualified candidates will be referred for further consideration and possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome.

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