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Senior Scientific Specialist, Wastewater - ISWS/PRI

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Urbana, IL, USA
Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Wastewater

Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) is seeking to hire a Wastewater Professional (Official Title: Senior Scientific Specialist, Wastewater) to conduct research activities within PRI developing, planning, and conducting applied research related to onsite and municipal wastewater treatment; conduct outreach activities to disseminate research results and provide education to stakeholders; serve as a wastewater treatment expert for outreach and education activities supporting both professionals and system owners; ensure data meet the rigorous standards required for scientific research and analysis; and advance institutional public health goals related to One Health and drinking water.

This position setting is in the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS). ISWS is part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. ISWS research and service programs provide citizens, industries, and government agencies at all levels with timely, science-based information and analyses necessary to manage our water resources wisely for economic development and a sustainable environment. ISTC integrates applied research, technical assistance, and information services to advance efforts in the areas of pollution prevention; water and energy conservation; and materials recycling and beneficial reuse. Learn more at https://prairie.illinois.edu

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Engagement and Outreach – 30% Develop an online training module for homeowners on the proper management of onsite wastewater systems. Develop and implement a robust and consistent content calendar, including a monthly newsletter and blog post on onsite wastewater topics. Coordinate with preparation and presentation for a webinar series on topics relevant to wastewater operators. Support planning and implementation of conferences or other events. Assist in developing a wastewater specific website. Provide advice to onsite and centralized wastewater treatment system owners and professionals.
  • Research - Field work/Data Collection – 30% Research, gather, read, review, and edit technical materials for municipal/onsite wastewater operator website. Maintain associated records by entering data, evaluating information quality, and developing scientific content for the web. Conduct assessments of wastewater systems to evaluate their vulnerability and provide recommendations for improvement.
  • Research – Data Analysis/Interpretation/Research Support Activities – 20% Support program reporting and proposal development, including data presentation and writing technical documents. Assist with interpreting data to evaluate needs and develop further research goals for the program. Contribute insights to refine and further develop program activities from a wastewater and public health perspective.
  • Administrative/Grant Management – 15% Develop research ideas and write proposals for grant funding in support of our public health and water quality goals, including Legionella, Environmental Justice, and One Health. Serve as a PI or Co-PI on grant funded research projects. Provide material for, and assist in, completing progress and final reports as part of grant deliverables. Work with project sponsors on cooperative projects and to support their staff.
  • Other - 5% Professional development activities such as attending and exhibiting at conferences, and giving presentations. Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois. Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Science, Geology, or related field. Alternate physical science degree fields will be considered depending on the nature and depth of the experience at it relates to this position. Past coursework or graduate research related to onsite wastewater systems. Valid Driver’s License

Preferred Qualifications

Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Science, Geology, or related field. Municipal wastewater operation and/or management experience or in operation, design, installation and maintenance of onsite wastewater treatment systems. Experience with both onsite and centralized wastewater treatment, as well as technical evaluation of those systems. Experience writing about wastewater, environment, engineering, and/or public health. Experience writing for public audiences. Experience with developing educational material for the public.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Solid understanding of small and rural wastewater treatment processes, challenges, and regulations. Familiarity with various wastewater treatment technologies and their applicability in different contexts. Excellent research skills, with the ability to gather information from diverse sources. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities with stringent deadlines, under minimal supervision. Effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organizational, teamwork, and leadership skills. Must possess strong interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively with other scientists, researchers, staff, and PRI clients. Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills. Proficiency in commonly-employed software and databases.

Appointment Information

This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after 1/16/2024. Salary is commensurate with qualifications & experience, while also considering internal equity. The minimum starting salary is $50,000.

Application Procedures & Deadline Information

For full consideration, please apply by 6:00 p.m. Central on February 28, 2024; however, this search will remain open until the position is filled. To apply, please use the Apply Now button. Applications not submitted through https://jobs.illinois.edu will not be considered. Application materials must include a 1) a cover letter that clearly articulates how your qualifications and experience make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a CV or resume, and 3) the names and contact information including e-mail addresses of three professional references. All requested information and documentation must be submitted for applications to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Interviews may occur before the close date but no decisions or offers will be made until after.

For further information please contact Jon Freiman, Human Resources Business Partner, Prairie Research Institute, at jcf@illinois.edu or 217-244-2687. For questions regarding the application process, including technical issues, please contact 217-333-2137.


The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.


Requisition ID: 1021789
Job Category: Research
Apply at: https://jobs.illinois.edu