Aquatic Ecologist Research Associate

Apr 17, 2023

Title: Aquatic Ecologist Research Associate - Researcher 6

Job ID: 355112

Location: NRRI Duluth

Job Family: Research-Researchers


Employee Class: Acad Prof and Admin

About the Job

NRRI is hiring a full-time researcher (professional staff) to work within our Water Research Group ( Individuals with expertise in any of several aquatic disciplines would fit well with our teams, including (but not limited to) expertise in fisheries ecology, stream or wetland ecology, wetland plant ecology, aquatic toxicology, restoration ecology (aquatic focus), hydrology or hydrogeology. The candidate will initially work with the Freshwater Ecosystem Research and Monitoring Lab ( on research projects related to understanding stream, wetland, and Great Lakes nearshore ecology, including effects of aquatic invasive species, use of biotic metrics to assess ecological condition, and assessing the success of restoration activities. As the successful candidate’s own research program develops, they will lead projects and develop an extramurally funded research program of their own related to NRRI’s mission and vision as it applies to aquatic resources.

The Water Research Group has strong ties to a diverse group of aquatic scientists across University of Minnesota campuses; state, tribal, and federal agency scientists; NGO scientists; and natural resource managers across the region.

The successful applicant will have access to unpublished data collected over several decades to support and jump-start their own research. The successful candidate will initially be expected to conduct their research in collaboration with the Water Group and other research teams across the Institute to assist in writing research proposals and manuscripts for publication. They will have the opportunity to participate in the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program ( The successful candidate will be able to write proposals, run grant-funded research projects, and disseminate research results through journal publications and conference presentations.

The researcher may have the opportunity to supervise graduate and undergraduate students via participation in one or more graduate faculty programs at the University of Minnesota. There may also be opportunities for the researcher to occasionally teach a course or give guest lectures.

• 50% Help lead ongoing field and laboratory aquatic ecology research projects.
• 25% Write and submit proposals to extramural funding sources.
• 15% Analyze existing large datasets and write manuscripts.
• 10% Participate in institute, system wide, and external professional activities leading to new relationships, partnerships, and research opportunities.


Required Qualifications:
• Ph.D. degree in a field related to fisheries ecology, stream or wetland ecology, aquatic toxicology, restoration ecology (aquatic focus), wetland plant ecology, hydrology or hydrogeology or related area. Minimum of three peer-reviewed journal publications as lead author.
• Minimum of 3 years post-PhD research experience in aquatic ecology.
• Demonstrated experience writing and submitting research proposals.
• Evidence of strong oral communication skills in English (e.g., seminars and conference presentations).
• Proven ability to work both independently and as part of a collaborative team.
• Solid knowledge of advanced statistical approaches for managing and analyzing large datasets.
• Demonstrated ability to collect, analyze and interpret data and publish results.
• Valid US driver’s license and clean driving record.

Preferred Qualifications:
• Expertise complements and adds to the Water Research Group expertise mix.
• More than five peer-reviewed publications as lead author.
• Lead PI on at least one extramurally funded research grant.
• Demonstrated ability to conceptualize, organize and lead research projects. Record of scientific achievement as indicated by publication record (peer-reviewed publications and/or technical reports or equivalent relative to industry) and external funding commensurate with time since PhD.
• Experience supervising / mentoring staff or students.
• Evidence of ability to work effectively with state, federal and/or tribal agencies, industries, and/or private organizations to develop collaborations and partnerships to find long-term solutions to aquatic resource challenges.
• Evidence of effective outreach to users of research results (e.g., outreach presentations, workshops, “how-to” materials, etc).

About the Department

The Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research unit to inform state citizens and decision-makers regarding management of Minnesota’s natural resources. It was placed within the University of Minnesota to catalyze application and commercialization of emerging science and technology from the University. NRRI is still guided by the forward-looking charter provided by the Legislature to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment and economy for a sustainable and resilient future. We are a mission-driven, project-focused interdisciplinary team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship. Our vision is to help discover the economy of the future. With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine Minnesota, NRRI focuses on three strategic initiatives that address Minnesota’s soil, forest, water and mineral resources: 

  • Applied Ecology and Resource Management
  • Minerals and Metallurgy
  • Materials and Bioeconomy 
  • Data Collection and Delivery
  • Commercialization Services


Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning.  We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

  • Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
  • Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Scholarship
  • Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
  • Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • University HSA contributions
  • Disability and employer-paid life insurance
  • Employee wellbeing program
  • Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
  • Financial counseling services 
  • Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost

Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online at the UMN Careers page.  Search for Job ID: 355112. To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions.  You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter, resume and 3 references.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  To learn more about diversity at the U:

Employment Requirements

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to comply with the University’s Administrative Policy: COVID-19 Vaccination and Safety Protocol by either providing proof of being fully vaccinated on their first day of employment, or complete a request for an exemption for medical exemption or religious reasons. To learn more please visit: