Principal Research Scientist / Director - Illinois Natural History Survey (A1700579)

Champaign, IL
Sep 20, 2017
Executive Administration Jobs
C-Level & Executive Directors
Position Type
Tenured & Tenure-Track
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Principal Research Scientist / Director
Illinois Natural History Survey
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois

The Prairie Research Institute (PRI), a research and service institute of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, is seeking a Principal Research Scientist/Director of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS). This position reports to the Executive Director of PRI.

PRI houses the state's five scientific surveys (Illinois Natural History Survey, the Illinois State Geological Survey, the Illinois State Water Survey, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and the Illinois State Archaeological Survey) covering a wide range of expertise including biology, water resources, climate, geology, sustainable technology, and archaeology. PRI's mission is to provide objective, integrated scientific research and service, in cooperation with other academic and research units of the University of Illinois and elsewhere, that allow citizens and decision-makers to make choices that ensure sustainable economic development, enduring environmental quality, and cultural resource preservation for the people, businesses, and governments of Illinois. Learn more at

INHS' mission is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas nationally and globally, and to acquire and provide rigorous, scientific information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. INHS maintains research programs in basic and applied ecology, systematics, environmental health, and biogeography that stand at the forefront of efforts to understand the biological processes and components that shape the environment. INHS also acts as a long-term repository of biological collections and ecological data, and disseminates information to the scientific community, government agencies, and the general public. More than 260 scientists and staff contribute to the programs at INHS; FY17 expenditures (including externally funded research expenditures) totaled more than $75 million.

The University is a land-grant institution that provides access to world-class laboratory and academic facilities, Big Ten athletic events, and internationally acclaimed cultural opportunities. More about the Champaign-Urbana micro-urban lifestyle can be found at

As Principal Research Scientist this position will
  • Identify relevant research needs and project opportunities
  • Develop proposals for and securing external funding to support major research themes
  • Conduct hands-on research delivering unbiased science which independently impacts public policy
  • Supervise and lead INHS management and staff to achieve success and foster a culture of innovation and high level performance at both the individual and organizational levels
  • Prepare and publish scholarly publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Contribute to the overall scientific mission of the Institute
  • Network and collaborate with faculty, scientists, and various stakeholders within the University of Illinois and other national Universities regarding state-of-the-art research

As Director this position will
  • Provide leadership, direction, and overall administration for the development, coordination, and implementation of scientific research and service programs undertaken and provided by INHS
  • Participate in PRI leadership, effectively represent the interests of INHS to PRI, and advise PRI Executive Director and other PRI leaders regarding matters pertinent to the mission of INHS
  • Identify cutting-edge research foci and other multi-disciplinary research themes related to INHS and PRI
  • Encourage, promote, and facilitate research; identify and secure funding from state, federal and private sources.
  • Supervise and lead INHS staff to achieve success and foster a culture of innovation and high-level performance at both the individual and organizational level. For direct reporting staff, this also includes task assignment, scheduling, ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation, career/position mentoring, and leave/travel approval.
  • Encourage, foster, and develop collaborative research, service, outreach efforts, and relationships with the University of Illinois administration, community, and its stakeholders and external constituents.
  • Ensure INHS gathers, disseminates, and archives accurate, objective, and relevant scientific information with a focus on biological resources for government, business, and the public.
  • Oversee INHS annual budget
  • Coordinate with PRI leadership in facilitating INHS development efforts.
  • Facilitate and participate in strategic planning and implementation efforts within INHS and PRI.
  • Conduct scholarly activity (research, national-level professional service, academic mentoring, or other) to further the reputation of INHS, PRI, and the campus.
  • Represent INHS interests and capabilities to local, state, federal, and non-government organization (NGO) partners as appropriate.
  • Encourage and lead a strong commitment to diversity through establishing retention and recruiting priorities.
  • Foster a safe and ethical working environment.

Required Qualifications
  • Ph.D. in scientific discipline relevant to the mission and goals of PRI and INHS
  • Significant experience in academic or government research environments
  • Administrative experience in a university or state, federal, or non-government organization
  • An established record of scholarship and obtaining sponsored funding from state and federal agencies and/or the private sector
  • Experience in forming and maintaining relationships with state, federal, and relevant non-government organizations
  • Effective communication, personal relations, organizational, and leadership skills.
  • Ability to perform effectively with a professional demeanor in a diverse and fast-paced work environment, consisting of multiple and changing priorities, under minimal guidance from PRI leadership.
  • Supervisory and/or team leadership experience.
  • Proficiency in commonly-employed software.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience conducting a research program that is complimentary to and/or promotes collaboration with other INHS/PRI scientists
  • Experience in delivering unbiased science which independently impacts public policy

This is a regular full-time 12-month academic professional position, renewable annually based upon satisfactory progress in the position and continued funding. An additional faculty tenure or non-tenure option may be entertained for candidates with an academic track record or commensurately significant other qualifications. The starting date is negotiable after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience.

To ensure full consideration, applications should be submitted by October 20, 2017; however, the search will remain open until a successful candidate is identified. To apply, please visit to complete an online profile and to upload 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 resume/CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references. All requested information/documentation must be submitted for applications to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

For further information please contact Lori Walston-Vonderharr, Human Resources, Prairie Research Institute, at or 217-244-2401. The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a 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

College Name or Administrative Unit: Office of Vice Chancellor for Research
Category: Academic Professional
Title: Principal Research Scientist / Director - Illinois Natural History Survey (A1700579)
Open Date: 09/19/2017
Organization Name: IL Natural History Survey