Collaborative Research Specialist

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI, USA 🇺🇸


WORKING TITLE: Collaborative Research Specialist

JOB TITLE: Research Area Specialist Inter

WORK LOCATION: Ann Arbor Campus, Ann Arbor, MI





DEPARTMENT: Graham Sustainability Inst.

POSTING BEGIN/END DATE: 1/30/2023 – 2/18/2023

SALARY: $60,000.00 – $65,000.00


How to Apply

You must submit a cover letter and resume as a single document to be considered for this position. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline your skills and related experience.

102907 – Research Area Specialist Intermediate – RE180 – Responsible for operation of a specialized area with one or more faculty members or managers within a recognized unit. Operates with considerable latitude in unreviewed actions or decisions. May act as liaison with other departments, divisions and organizations. Develops, designs, and conducts one or more small or moderately complex research projects according to plan; reviews progress and evaluates results. Formulates research methods and suggests options for improving quality, identifies potential problems, recommends and implements solutions. Consults with users to refine or adapt methodologies to fit research requirements; collaborates in development of new techniques and instruments. Develops protocol and criteria; determines interview procedures and approves protocols; may also design intervention protocols. Gathers data, supervises data collection and verification, and has oversight for literature reviews. Performs data analysis and interprets results. Co-authors publications, and may co-present with Principal Investigator at meetings and conferences. May supervise exempt and non-exempt research and support personnel. Monitors budget and researches and makes recommendations regarding the purchase of equipment. Education and experience: Master’s degree and 4 to 5 years related experience. Supervisory and financial management experience preferred. Employees in this classification are required to have a minimum of a Bachelor degree in a recognized field of science or learning which is directly related to the duties of the position. Employees typically analyze, compare and evaluate various courses of action and have the authority to make independent decisions on matters of significance, free from immediate direction, within the scope of their responsibilities. Primary activities and decision making authority are predominantly performed independently affecting business operations to a substantial degree. Under FLSA, this is the exempt job classification for this title. Incumbents in this position must meet the full criteria for exempt status: salary level, salary basis, and duties tests.

Who We Are

The University of Michigan Water Center is part of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. We mobilize the expertise and passion of scholars, partners, and decision-makers to work together and bring world-class research to real-world water-related challenges. Our work is grounded in the belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion are necessary to empowerment and to the advancement of sustainability knowledge, learning, and leadership, and we are committed to fostering a community where every member thrives.

The Water Center is looking for a Collaborative Research Specialist (Research Area Specialist Intermediate/Associate) to support a three-year project that will provide technical and day-to-day collaborative support to the state departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Natural Resources, and Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. These Quality of Life agencies are responsible for understanding and reducing Michigan’s nutrient run-off to Lake Erie. The Water Center will design and implement a diverse, robust and transparent advisory process (community and science) to inform the state’s adaptive management plan to reduce phosphorus loading to Lake Erie.

Why Work at Michigan?

Benefits at the University of Michigan

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and your family and plan for a secure future. Benefits include:

  • Generous time off
  • A retirement plan that provides two-for-one matching contributions after the first year 
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance, including vision and dental options
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses
  • Family leave
  • Potential for flexible or remote work arrangements


  • Support the identification and recruitment of a multi-sector advisory group, including representatives of communities impacted in various ways by the environmental quality of the Western Lake Erie Basin, and a science panel;
  • Support the advisory group and science panel, including meeting planning and facilitation, relationship building and connections, development of meeting resources and summaries, and ensuring follow up by all parties;
  • Support science report development, including literature reviews and syntheses, interviews and analyses;
  • Support the design of webinars, workshops, events, and other activities to support the sharing of knowledge and information about the status of the Western Lake Erie Basin with a wide and diverse audience;
  • Generate written content for email updates, websites, progress reports, and other materials to communicate program activities and impacts; and
  • Assist in evaluating program implementation and impact.

Required Qualifications*

  • Shared commitment to the Water Center and Graham’s values of being collaborative, purpose-driven, inclusive, science-based, and impactful.
  • Capacity to listen deeply and understand multiple perspectives on a given issue.
  • Ability to synthesize information from multiple sources and perspectives into an accessible product.
  • Demonstrated organizational skills including the ability to prioritize multiple simultaneous projects with tight deadlines.
  • Familiarity with and experience working with community, industry or other multi-sector engagement activities, water quality impacts due to nutrient enrichment, midwest agricultural communities including equity and justice related aspects.
  • Keen attention to detail both in written communications and quantitative tasks.
  • Ability to identify and leverage connections between multiple projects or tasks.
  • Ability to work both independently and on small teams.
  • Masters Degree in natural resources, environment, community development and engagement, or related fields with two plus years professional experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. (Intermediate)
  • Bachelor’s Degree in natural resources, environment, community development and engagement, or related fields and 4 plus years experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. (Associate)

Underfill Statement

This position may be filled at the Associate level depending on qualifications.

  • Research Area Specialist Intermediate salary range $60,000 – $65,000
  • Research Area Specialist Associate salary range $50,000 – $55,000

Additional Information

Term appointment through February 2026, with opportunities to extend contingent upon funding.

You will work on-site at the Water Center, Graham Sustainability Institute offices in Ann Arbor, with flexible scheduling and remote opportunities made available within Graham Institute policies.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  The review and selection process may begin as early as the eighth day after posting. This opening may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

U-M COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccinations, including one booster when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine.  This includes those working remotely and temporary workers.   More information on this new policy is available on the U-M Health Response website or the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint websites.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development