Professional Research Assistant (Soil, water, and geochemical processes)

University of Colorado-Boulder
Boulder, CO, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Job Summary

The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado-Boulder is seeking a highly-qualified Professional Research Assistant to manage field and laboratory activities related to a newly funded project investigating soil, water, and geochemical processes in Colorado and California. The initial assignment will be for one year with the possibility of extension pending funding and evaluation. The preferred start date is October 1, 2020.

The University of Colorado Boulder is committed to building a culturally diverse community of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to contributing to an inclusive campus environment. We are an Equal Opportunity employer, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Who We Are

As the University’s oldest institute, lNSTAAR (Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research) has a long history of responding to pressing environmental issues. Our traditional focus has been on polar and alpine regions, where the effects of global change are especially pronounced. In recent decades, our research has broadened to include environmental challenges that span local, regional, and global scales. Research topics vary widely and include Quaternary and modern environments, human and ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, landscape evolution, hydrology, oceanography, and climate.


INSTAAR’s research activities integrate field studies, state-of-the-art laboratory experiments, sample analysis, and numerical and laboratory modeling. Our field sites are located across all seven continents and the world’s oceans. Our expertise across subject areas helps us generate influential science that can inform public and policy decisions and move us toward a more sustainable society. INSTAAR’s national and international research leadership is augmented by outstanding strength in graduate education and bringing undergraduates into the research process.

What Your Key Responsibilities Will Be

Serve as field and laboratory manager for the Critical Zone Cluster led by CU Boulder. 


Primary responsibilities will include:

  • construction, installation, programming, and maintenance of environmental monitoring systems and related instrumentation.
  • operation and maintenance of laboratory analytical instrumentation.
  • training of students.
  • sample preparation and analysis, and method development. 

What You Should Know

  • The applicant will work in residence at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). 
  • Ability and willingness to travel to field sites in Colorado and California for up to two weeks at a time. Local travel may occasionally require personal vehicle use.
  • Visa sponsorship is unavailable for this position.

What We Can Offer

The salary will start at $42,000.00 annually. 


The University of Colorado offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO Pass. The University of Colorado Boulder is one of the largest employers in Boulder County and offers an inspiring higher education environment. Learn more about the University of Colorado Boulder.

Be Statements

Be Adaptable. Be Innovative. Be Boulder.

What We Require

  • A Bachelor's degree in the natural sciences, engineering, or related fields.
  • Proven experience with the operation and maintenance of Campbell Scientific dataloggers.
  • Experience maintaining and troubleshooting environmental instruments in the field and laboratory, and ability to train and supervise students in methods. 

What You Will Need

  • Ability to respond constructively to others’ ideas and suggestions and a willingness to develop creative solutions to challenges that arise.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, both verbally and written, including listening and responding to questions optimally.
  • Knowledge and skill in programming, troubleshooting, and maintaining Campbell Scientific or similar data-logger systems
  • Understanding and dexterity installing and maintaining wireless data communication systems such as radio telemetry and/or cellular systems.
  • The capability of carrying up to 50lbs on rough or steep terrain for 2 miles
  • Proficiency with basic computer software including the Microsoft Office suite, as well as, online collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams or Google Drive.
  • Must have the ability to pay close attention to details and keep clear and accurate records.
  • Ability to learn new methods or skills related to new instrumentation or field sampling to support project goals (e.g. geophysical instruments, soil/sediment collection).
  • Ability to work effectively with minimal daily supervision.

What We Would Like You To Have

  • A Master’s degree in the natural sciences, engineering, or related fields. 
  • Experience with the construction, operation, maintenance, and data analysis of environmental instruments such as sapflow sensors, soil moisture sensors, pressure transducers, and temperature probes. 
  • Expertise in data analysis and statistical software such as R, SPSS, or Matlab. 
  • Experience with Picarro Laser Isotope analyzers; ion chromatographs, and understanding of basic lab methods and quality control protocols for water quality research. 

Special Instructions

To apply, please submit the following materials:

  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter

During the application process, you will need to enter contact information for one reference, and we will request a letter of recommendation from them immediately upon application. 


Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.


Note: Application materials will not be accepted via email. For consideration, applications must be submitted through CU Boulder Jobs

Posting Contact Information

Posting Contact Name: Boulder Campus Human Resources

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