Program Director: Sustainable Freight Research Program

Job Summary

Direct the Sustainable Freight Research Program (SF) within the STEPS+ research framework. Provide technical leadership to the SF research team and manage grant-funded and contracted research projects. Ensure high quality and timely execution of all projects under SF purview. Manage a publications program related to projects. Conduct research directly as part of the program’s work effort. Work with colleagues to expand funding, including the supporting membership of SF. Oversee the SF budget and allocate funding to researchers and students. Manage researchers and identify needs for personnel changes or new hires as needed. Interface with SF members to identify new research activities and share information and research. Work with other STEPS+ team leaders to coordinate on research and organize workshops, Symposia, and other relevant events. Function with ahigh degree of autonomy, exercising independent judgment in selecting projects, methods, techniques, and evaluation criteria for obtaining results.

Serve as an advanced technical specialist and provide leadership within the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) and participate in ITS strategic planning to guide the selection of future topic areas and to engage with collaborators, clients, and funders. Develop and maintain ITS expertise in advanced environmental freight vehicles, energy storage systems, propulsion systems, and fuels, along with logistic and intermodal systems at a regional, national, and global levels. Identify and manage proposal opportunities, develop proposals, and produce briefings to funding agencies, and participate in relevant conferences, technical events, and meetings. Serve as an advisor and team leader for participating staff and for teams of students to complete funded projects within ITS.

Department Purpose

The Sustainable Freight Research Program is a growing research and policy program in the Institute of Transportation Studies of the University of California, Davis. It is part of the STEPS+ research program and focuses on truck, rail, and other freight sectors. It includes research on both technologies and fuels as well as logistic systems. It covers topics related to decarbonization, reducing air pollutant emissions, and other sustainability factors. The Center receives support from a range of government and industry partners, planning agencies and research foundations, and works in close cooperation with the federally funded National Center for Sustainable Transportation and the other research programs at UC Davis.



  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, transportation/energy technology and policy, economics or related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Personnel and budget management experience.
  • Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills, with skills to draft, rewrite and edit professional correspondence, reports, donor communications and other materials.
  • Strategic planning and evaluation skills to analyze, define, and assess problems, issues, and needs, and define needed actions.
  • Development (fundraising) experience, with a working knowledge of the gift-giving process and stewardship.
  • Experience using organizational, time management and event planning skills to organize and coordinate individuals and groups to develop collaborations and/or proposals/applications, and to plan large meetings, workshops, or conferences. Experience creating and/or writing presentations, informational documents, technical reports, and correspondence.
  • Computer skills including word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentations, website, electronic mail, and internet.


  • Master’s or PhD in one of those same fields
  • Experience managing and executing large, complex projects, and managing large contracts.
  • Management of and outreach to organizations that interact with own organization.
  • Proposal writing, including for large grant applications.

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