Research & Operations Specialist

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI, USA 🇺🇸


WORKING TITLE: Research & Operations Specialist

JOB TITLE: Research Area Specialist Inter

WORK LOCATION: Ann Arbor Campus, Ann Arbor, MI





DEPARTMENT: Civil & Environmental Engr

POSTING BEGIN/END DATE: 3/03/2023 – 4/01/2023

SALARY: $45,000.00 – $65,000.00


How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.


The department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan (U-M; Ann Arbor campus) is seeking a pilot plant operations manager for a joint project between U-M, the City of Ann Arbor, and AECOM. As part of planning for future water supply, the city is piloting a new treatment scheme to meet drinking water needs and maintain water quality.  The duties and expectations of the position include operating a pilot drinking water treatment plant at the City of Ann Arbor and managing associated research efforts. The applicant will be responsible for operating the pilot plant, analyzing water quality samples, developing new techniques, reporting, report writing, and general process engineering. In addition to these technical responsibilities, the applicant will act as a project management lead, which requires independently leading collaborations with all research partners and coordinating research work by undergraduate and graduate students. The applicant will be expected to work closely with the principal investigators (Szczuka and Raskin), AECOM, and City of Ann Arbor personnel, when communicating progress. Further, the applicant will be expected to attend workshops and conferences to present the research, prepare manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed literature, and assist with research proposal writing and project development. Finally, the applicant will be responsible for communicating research findings with relevant stakeholders such as those in utilities, consulting firms, and industry to elucidate further opportunities.

Who We Are

Michigan Engineers are world-class educators, researchers, students and staff who strive to build a people-first future. As part of the nation’s number one public research institution, Michigan Engineering’s mission is to provide scientific and technological leadership to the people of the world, develop intellectually curious and socially conscious minds, create collaborative solutions to societal problems, and promote an inclusive and innovative community of service for the common good.

Our vision, mission and values are supported by a people-first engineering framework that guides our work. As Michigan Engineers, we strive to apply excellent engineering fundamentals, integrated expertise and equity-centered values to reimagine what engineering can be, close critical gaps, and elevate all people. Information about our vision, mission and values can be found at:

The University of Michigan has a storied legacy of commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Michigan Engineering models that commitment in our research, culture and collaborations. We seek to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of that commitment. Learn more about DEI at Michigan Engineering:


Plant operation ~50%

  • Work collaboratively with the City of Ann Arbor and AECOM to learn how to run the pilot plant 
  • Operate the pilot plant throughout the pilot period, including managing and training additional researchers on pilot plant operations
  • Prepare standard operating procedures and manuals for pilot plant operation
  • Perform analyses associated with daily operations of the pilot plant
  • Coordinate with ongoing research efforts associated with the pilot plant
  • Create mitigation/alternative strategies for pilot plant operations when needed

Literature and Data Analysis ~ 10%

  • Read and analyze peer-reviewed literature surrounding water treatment train piloted
  • Analyze and interpret data
  • Analyze key data trends, often by compiling data from multiple studies.

Reporting ~20%

  • Prepare clear and concise reports for project collaborators. 
  • Respond to questions and comments from collaborators.
  • Aid principal investigators in drafting grant applications.
  • Manage budget and make purchasing decisions associated with the project

Process Engineering Research ~20%

  • Monitor pilot performance using laboratory analyses as necessary and adjust operating conditions correspondingly.
  • Troubleshoot issues that arise during experimentation, including working with technicians, as necessary.
  •  Analyze results and prepare graphics, figures, and tables to communicate findings and suggest future steps.

Required Qualifications*

  • Degree in civil engineering, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering or related field, with a focus on water treatment.
  • Experience in water treatment or related research
  • Experience with managing research projects
  • Experience with laboratory analyses and data analysis
  • Fundamental understanding of water process design, including water quality and advanced treatment processes
  • Ability to prepare high-quality technical reports and effectively communicate findings in oral presentations.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Completion of master’s degree prior to the start date  
  • 4-5 years of directly related experience
  • Experience in working with utility collaborators

Underfill Statement

This position may be underfilled at a lower classification depending on the qualifications of the selected candidate.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks.  Background checks are performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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 any time after the minimum posting period has ended.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development