Senior Scientist, Plant Imaging - Brooklyn (NY) USA










Senior Scientist, Plant Imaging
Brooklyn, NY


Upward Farms designs and operates complete ecosystems of plants and fish in vertical farms, supplying these organic products to local grocers. We are currently expanding, opening a new cutting-edge, fully automated facility in Brooklyn. More and larger farms are in the works. Our mission is to heal the broken food system and reconnect eaters with flavorful and nutritious local food.

Plant imaging at Upward Farms serves three aims: crop scouting, trait characterization, and quality control. Crop scouting is focused on detecting plant disease, stress, and pests. Trait characterization is focused on identifying phenotypes, biomass, and forecasted yield. Quality control is focused on creating crop quality checkpoints after germination and prior to harvest.

We are seeking an experienced imaging scientist who provides vision and technical leadership on research and engineering questions spanning the entire plant imaging pipeline from camera hardware and automation to image analysis and phenotyping. The ideal candidate will own all aspects of plant imaging at Upward Farms, from image processing to biomass estimation to phenotyping. In this role, you will join the Agriculture and Manufacturing R&D (AMRD) team and collaborate with colleagues from Software & Electronics and Engineering. As a member of AMRD, you will pursue science and technology-enabled solutions for ecological production systems so that Upward Farms can advance crop, ecology, and manufacturing outcomes.



Your objective is to conceptualize, specify, develop, and build systems for imaging and image analysis that advance our team’s work to harness the power of whole ecosystems for food production. Success in this role will be measured through the delivery of research-enabled solutions in the areas of crop scouting, trait characterization, and quality control that improve commercial outcomes (yield, consistency, cost, customer satisfaction, etc.).

You are encouraged to build bridges, do what it takes to solve the right problems, and co-create our design and research culture. This is a brand new role on our team and comes with the opportunity and flexibility to shape it to make it your own.



  • Lead the development of crop scouting systems for detecting plant disease, plant stress, plant pests, and plant temperature; trait characterization for identifying phenotypes, biomass, and forecasted yield; and quality control imaging systems at quality control checkpoints.
  • Identify and manage vendors and partners across imaging hardware, automation, and analysis.
  • Lead the development of disease detection algorithms and yield estimation algorithms.
  • Design and oversee experiments in our R&D and production systems to advance imaging capabilities.
  • Contribute to the development of crop models.
  • Contribute to the development or sourcing of aquaculture imaging systems.
  • Communicate with internal and external stakeholders, adapting communications to diverse audiences and representing Upward Farms effectively and professionally.
  • Remain current in relevant fields and bring new research ideas into the research pipeline.
  • Contribute to hands on troubleshooting of imaging systems



  • PhD in Agronomy, Crop Science, Remote Sensing, Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Horticulture, Geography, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, or another relevant field in the natural sciences or engineering.
  • 4+ years industry experience with high throughput imaging systems.
  • Ability to build or prototype novel image processing systems in Python, R, Matlab, or equivalent.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to a wide range of technical backgrounds.
  • Practical understanding of plants.
  • Question-driven, curious, open minded.
  • Project management expertise.


Preferred Skills + Experience

  • Experience with high throughput plant phenotyping.
  • Experience with vendor management.
  • Experience with growth chambers and/or CEA.



We offer a dynamic work environment and benefits that include:

  • Aetna Medical, Aetna and MetLife Dental, and Aetna Vision insurance; FSA/HSA plans; and HIPAA-compliant health advocates. Upward Farms contributes 78-100% of the premium for Medical benefits for employees and their families.
  • Unlimited paid sick time. For extended illness, we offer short-term disability.
  • Up to 20 days paid time off per year, depending on experience, in addition to paid holidays.
  • For new parents, an extension of New York State’s paid family leave for up to 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave. This leave is in addition to disability leave available to pregnant and postpartum mothers.
  • 401(k).
  • Commuter benefits, discounted gym memberships, and other perks.
  • Fresh salad, and lots of it!


Working Here

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our needs are unique and varied so we value colleagues with diverse backgrounds. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and/or protected veteran status.


If you’re interested in learning more please apply here.




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