Environmental Analytical Chemistry Research Scientist

Aug 31, 2023

Research Project Specialist 1:Environmental Analytical Chemistry Research Scientist

Job ID: 357519

Location: Duluth

Job Family: Research-Support


Employee Class: Acad Prof and Admin

About the Job

The Environmental Chemistry Lab at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) is seeking a Research Scientist to join our team and support research focused on the fate and transport of organic contaminants in the natural and built environment. We are an interdisciplinary group of graduate students, postdocs, and full-time research staff with backgrounds in chemistry and engineering and a shared passion for the environment. Ongoing research projects within the laboratory include the analysis of legacy and emerging contaminants in Great Lakes Sediments, treatment and remediation of stormwater and groundwater contaminated with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and application of passive samplers for non target analysis of emerging contaminants in streams. Current analytical capabilities at the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory include liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry, gas chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry, and automated solid phase extraction and accelerated solvent extraction.

The Research Scientist will bring expertise in Environmental Analytical Chemistry and provide laboratory leadership for projects involving the analysis of trace organic contaminants. They will be responsible for overseeing various aspects of analytical data collection; including managing and training students and technical staff to operate and maintain advanced analytical instrumentation, development of laboratory-specific operating procedures, and data analysis and review. They will also provide project management support and contribute to laboratory work and field work as necessary to support project goals. They will serve as authors of peer-reviewed publications and have the opportunity to contribute to new proposals as a co-investigator.

This is a Research Project Specialist 1 position as a part of the permanent research staff at NRRI, with opportunities for advancement within the Research Support Job Family track. It is a continuing Academic Professional appointment with salary and benefits commensurate with experience and the University’s policies for P&A employees. The employee will also have access to funding for professional development opportunities through NRRI.

Job Duties:

• Laboratory leadership: Oversee and coordinate laboratory and field work for multiple research projects. Manage and train students and research support staff to implement project work in accordance with project timelines and budgets. Communicate with project partners and collaborators regarding research progress and project status.
• Data collection: Develop and adapt laboratory-specific procedures and methods for sample processing and sample analysis utilizing advanced chromatography and mass spectrometry instrumentation. Train and manage students and technical staff to perform sample processing procedures and operate advanced analytical instrumentation. Perform laboratory, field, and experimental work as necessary to accomplish project goals.
• Data and quality management: Develop and adapt laboratory-specific data processing, QA/QC, and data management procedures. Oversee students and technical staff to implement data collection within procedural guidelines.
• Data analysis and interpretation: Utilize statistical software to analyze large data sets, interpret data in regard to existing knowledge gaps.
• Dissemination and reporting: Present research findings at conferences and seminars, serve as primary or co-author on peer-reviewed manuscripts, and coordinate the preparation of technical reports and interim reporting documents.
• Proposal development: Assist with budget preparation and proposal development, make recommendations for research directions, and serve as Co-PI on new proposals.


Required Qualifications:

• Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or closely related field with laboratory coursework in analytical chemistry and organic chemistry plus 6 years of relevant experience or a master’s degree plus 4 years of relevant experience.
• Three years of experience with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and/or liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry (LC- HRMS).
• Experience with preparation of environmental samples for analysis of trace organic contaminants.
• Strong oral and written communication skills in English, as evidenced by a record of conference presentations and publications or technical reports in English.
• Ability to work independently.

Preferred Qualifications:

• Master’s Degree or PhD Chemistry, Environmental Engineering, or closely related field by date of employment.
• Strong potential for success in a laboratory leadership role, as evidenced by a record of working in a collaborative team and mentoring students or staff.
• Commitment to rigorous analytical quality demonstrated by a first-author publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
• Experience with LC-HRMS and nontarget analysis, particularly for PFAS. 
• Experience with analysis of a variety of organic contaminants, including microcystins, pesticides, and legacy halogenated contaminants.
• Experience with statistical analysis using R Studio or similar data processing software.

About the Department

The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the Minnesota legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research organization to inform state citizens and decision-makers while leveraging the power of the University of Minnesota. NRRI is 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 team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship.
With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine, MN, NRRI works across five strategic research platforms. These platforms 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.  If you are interested in joining our team and bringing your expertise in environmental analytical chemistry to NRRI, you are required to attach a cover letter and resume.

Visit the UMN careers page, search for Job ID 357519, and follow the directions. 

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail employ@umn.edu 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:  http://diversity.umn.edu

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.