Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Coastal Studies - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center...

Job description


Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Coastal Studies

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. ISTC integrates applied research, technical assistance, and information services to advance efforts in the areas of pollution prevention; water and energy conservation; and materials recycling and beneficial reuse. Learn more at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

ISTC is seeking to hire a Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Coastal Studies to provide scientific, technical, and project management support for coastal management program (CMP) objectives to address coastal hazards and build community resilience, improve coastal habitats, and enhance sustainable economic development and coastal recreation. This position is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Help coastal communities improve their capacity to prepare for and manage coastal hazards including shoreline change and flooding Assist with planning, coordination, implementation, and facilitation of regional working groups.
  • Translate scientific information for non-technical audience and develop communication tools such as visualizations (e.g., maps, videos), blogs, public presentations, and field trips that explain coastal processes and hazards.
  • Develop resources for stakeholders that support more effective planning and decision-making. Partner with federal, state, and local agencies on Great Lakes or lake wide resilience efforts.
  • Work with federal, state, and local agencies to improve coordination, understand funding opportunities, and determine strategies to improve coastal management.
  • Assist in developing responses to federal, state, commercial, and foundation funding opportunities.
  • Develop project scopes and work plans, ensure timely and effective project implementation. Prepare or assist with development and preparation of grant and contract reports.
  • Monitor progress on project outcomes and deliverables.
  • Prepare and present project reports.
  • Assist and coordinate with staff on coastal geology and shoreline change monitoring and studies.
  • Support new and ongoing projects to protect coastal habitat on public owned lands.
  • Design, develop, and support mapping projects and products to improve spatial understanding of coastal areas.
  • Provide communications expertise to build the CMP brand, share programmatic, partner, and grantee successes, and raise the profile of Illinois as a coastal tourism destination
  • Perform project and content management to improve the CMP website or other topic specific sites.
  • Build the program’s social media presence.
  • Assist with monthly coastal newsletter.
  • Develop other communication pieces for partners, articles, websites, and social media.
  • Plan and attend trainings, workshops, professional meetings, and other opportunities to increase skills and knowledge.
  • Work jointly with a number of varied constituencies while observing standards of professional conduct.
  • Communicate with people within and outside the Survey, representing the Survey to customers, the public, government, and other external sources.
  • Contribute in the areas of education, outreach, and/or other service to the Survey, PRI, the University of Illinois, and the state of Illinois.
  • Enhance the reputation of the Survey and PRI at the state, national, and international level.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of the Survey, PRI, and the University of Illinois.

Required Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in marine or coastal science or management, coastal geology, environmental sciences such as biology, management, policy or related discipline. Alternate degree fields will be accepted/considered based upon the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. At least two years’ experience working in the field of coastal or Great Lakes management, policy, or related field with bachelor’s degree. Experience writing or preparing clear and understandable scientific or technical reports, proposals, public communication pieces, and giving oral presentations. Complex project and partnership management experience. Must have an understanding of Lake Michigan or Great Lakes ecological systems, coastal and great lakes environmental policies or regulatory framework. Complex problem solving and decision-making skills. Ability to organize and execute complex projects and meet deadlines. Effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organizational, teamwork, and leadership skills. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities with stringent deadlines, under minimal supervision. Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills. Proficiency in commonly-employed software and databases. This position will involve traveling to attend meetings and conduct environmental field work. Field work will include driving to and from research sites, some of which may under adverse conditions (heat, humidity, biting insects, etc.). Must be willing to travel overnight within and outside the state of Illinois. Position involves lifting and carrying equipment weighing up to 35 pounds. Valid driver’s license and access to transportation.

Preferred Qualifications: Master’s degree in marine or coastal science or management, coastal geology, environmental sciences such as biology, management, policy, or related discipline. Alternate degree fields will be accepted/considered based upon the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. Experience using GIS software including GIS spatial and temporal analysis. Experience creating clear graphics for complex information and using social media for strategic communication needs. Experience with stakeholder engagement, broad public outreach, and human dimensions or social science techniques.

This is a full-time, visiting academic professional, grant supported, 12-month position subject to the continued availability of funding and programmatic need. Position may become a regular, non-visiting position at a later date depending on funding and programmatic need. The starting date is negotiable and the salary is commensurate with experience.

Applications must be received by January 20, 2021. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after this date. 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 résumé/CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional (not personal) 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 [email protected] 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 System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility

College Name or Administrative Unit:Office of Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Category:6-Research Title:Visiting Senior Scientific Specialist, Coastal Studies - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (140122) Open Date:01/06/2021 Close Date:01/20/2021 Organization Name:IL Sustainable Technology Ctr




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Job No:
Posted: 1/7/2021
Application Due: 1/20/2021
Work Type: Full Time