Field Research Specialist - Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (104839)

Job description

Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment

University of Illinois

Field Research Specialist: Plant-Soil-Microbe Interactions in Nitrogen Biogeochemistry

A field research specialist position is available as part of the Sustainability Theme in the new U.S. Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center (BRC), the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI).

The overall goal of the CABBI Sustainability Theme is to develop the predictive capability to determine which feedstock combinations, regions and land types, market conditions, and biofuels and bioproducts have the potential to support the ecologically and economically sustainable displacement of fossil fuels. The field research specialist will work with Dr. Wendy Yang and her Global Change Ecology and Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry lab to study plant-soil-microbe interactions in bioenergy cropping systems (sorghum, sugarcane, and Miscanthus) with regards to soil nitrogen cycling. This highly collaborative project involves working closely with other ecosystem ecologists, microbial ecologists, ecosystem modelers, ecophysiologists, ecohydrologists, and others in the CABBI Sustainability Theme.

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


The Field Research Specialist will conduct field work and laboratory experiments; analyze soil, gas and water samples; support lab activities as part of a Plant-Soil-Microbe Interactions in Carbon and Nitrogen Biogeochemistry project. In addition, the person in this position will support field and laboratory research activities led by a postdoctoral research associate and a graduate student focusing on nitrogen biogeochemistry. Major responsibilities in the field include the following: sampling soil pore water and trace gas fluxes, and collecting soils for laboratory experiments. Research sites are located in Florida, Iowa and other areas in the eastern U.S. so this will require frequent travel for short sampling campaigns. Major responsibilities in the laboratory include the following: analyzing soil, gas, and water samples; conducting stable isotope tracer experiments and laboratory assays for nitrogen cycling processes; supervising undergraduate students assisting with this project, including training and assigning work and tracking work performance and deliverables; and assisting with data compilation, data analysis, and manuscript preparation.


Required: A bachelor's degree in biology, environmental science, chemistry, or related field. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on depth and breadth of experience and skills as related to this position. Research experience in the laboratory and in the field related to biogeochemistry (e.g., trace gas flux measurements, soil sampling, wet chemistry, gas chromatography). Basic computer skills (MS Word, Excel). A valid driver's license and ability to travel to research sites in Florida, Iowa, and other locations in the eastern U.S. for short sampling campaigns.

Preferred: Experience running analytical instrumentation for soil, water and gas samples (i.e., SmartChem discrete autoanalyzer, gas chromatograph, isotope ratio mass spectrometer). Experience with laboratory assays for soil nitrogen cycling processes. Ability to work in a large collaborative team environment. Ability to work long days in the field under hot and humid conditions. Strong organizational skills.

Proposed Start Date: As soon as possible after closing date.

Salary: Commensurate with experience and qualifications

Appointment Status: This is a 100% time academic professional appointment on a 12 month service basis. Benefit eligible position.

Applications must be received by November 13, 2018. To apply, all candidates must submit an online profile through by the close of the posting period. Qualified candidates must upload a letter of which details qualifications noted above, resume and the names and contact information of three professional references. All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

For further information, please contact: Susan Key, Human Resources, [email protected]

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

College Name or Administrative Unit: Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
Category: 6-Research
Title: Field Research Specialist - Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (104839)
Open Date: 10/30/2018
Close Date: 11/13/2018
Organization Name: Inst for Sustain, Enrgy, and Env





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Job No:
Posted: 10/31/2018
Application Due: 11/14/2018
Work Type: