Visiting Scientific Specialist/Field Researcher (Illinois State Water Survey)

Urbana-Champaign, IL, US

The Illinois State Water Survey of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been a leader in the study of water resources for more than a century.  Our 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. 

The Surface Water Hydrology and Hydraulics Section is looking to fill up to two of the following position:  Visiting Scientific Specialist, Field Researcher based upon duties, qualifications, and experience. The primary function for this position is under the direction of principal investigators, manage watershed field data collection campaigns and assist with the reduction and dissemination of collected data. Perform field data collection, deploy and maintain field instrumentation

Major Duties and Responsibilities:
• Develop and monitor field sample data collection schedule/deadlines based on overall project deliverables
• Operate and maintain stream and/or water quality monitoring instrumentation.
• Conduct manual collection of water samples and stream discharge measurements.
• Data/sample collection is often required during and/or after storm events when stream levels are high and involve working from a boat under all river conditions.
• Coordinate delivery, storage, and documentation of all data and samples.
• Support the fabrication of required deployment equipment.
• Contribute to scientific or compliance reports; this includes compiling, processing, and performing data analysis of collected field data.
• Supervise and train hourly staff; including developing work plans and schedules, monitoring work performance, and approving hours worked/timesheets as necessary.
• Other duties as assigned to support the mission and goals of PRI.
• Overnight travel is required; Some work outside the traditional M-F/8-5 may also be required.

Position Requirements and Qualifications:

Education Required:  B.S. degree or higher in physical sciences, including but not limited to engineering, water resources, geology or physical geography.


Required:  Demonstrated experience in any of the following diverse areas:  electronics, working with field data in spreadsheets, working out of doors under all weather conditions.
Preferred:  Ability to supervise and train small field crews composed of hourly employees.  Prefer boating and surveying experience and experience in machining/welding is desirable.


Required:  A valid driver’s license 

Preferred:  Familiarity with field deployed multi-parameter water quality monitoring instrumentation (sondes).


Required:  Demonstrated ability to follow and/or develop field sample data collection schedule/deadlines based on overall project deliverables.  The discipline to closely and consistently follow accepted data collection and data management procedures.  Effective communication, personal relations, organizational, and leadership skills.  Ability to consistently produce an organized and detail-oriented work product in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities.  Ability to operate and maintain electronic/digital instrumentation.  Working knowledge of commonly-employed office software (Word, Excel) with demonstrated ability to learn and adapt new software/applications.  Sound judgment and strong decision-making skills.  An attention to detail.

Preferred:  Ability to supervise and train small field crews composed mostly of hourlies.

This is a visiting full-time position paid on a 12-month basis.  Position may become a regular position at a later date depending on funding and programmatic need.

Proposed start date: as soon as possible after close, or until a suitable candidate is identified. 

Salary: is commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Appointment status:  full-time, grant/contract funded, academic professional position

Application procedures:  Please complete your candidate profile at and upload a cover letter, CV/resume, and the contact information for three professional references must be received by December 29, 2017.  Interviews may be conducted before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date.  All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered.

For further information regarding application procedures, you may contact Hannah Dorsey at (217)333-4978 or [email protected].

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of contingent offer.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University’s commitment to diversity, please visit