NRRI Researcher 2: Environmental Engineering

Job ID: 359210
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Research-Researchers
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

Salary Range: $38,064 - $83,428

About the Job:
The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) is seeking a Staff Scientist with expertise in Environmental Engineering to join our team and support applied research focused on development of treatment technologies to address growing concern around emerging contaminants. We are an interdisciplinary group of research staff, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students with backgrounds in chemistry and engineering and a shared passion for the environment. Topics of ongoing research within the laboratory include bench-scale evaluation of adsorption-based technologies for removal of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from stormwater and groundwater, field evaluation of biochar-amended filtration systems for removal of pesticides from stormwater, and assessment of PFAS fate during anaerobic digestion of food waste.

The Staff Scientist will work closely with more senior project staff to provide experimental and engineering support for projects focused on treatment and remediation. Efforts will be focused on adsorption technologies for separation of PFAS from contaminated water, as well as thermal processes including pyrolysis and hydrothermal processing. Specific responsibilities will be as follows:

Job Duties:

Engineering research (30%):

  • Work with experienced research staff to conduct treatment and remediation experiments at the laboratory-, bench-, pilot-scale, including batch and column adsorption tests. 
  • Apply numerical software to derive design parameters from experimental data and perform statistical analyses, scale-up calculations, and cost analyses.

Design and fabrication (20%):

  • Work closely with support staff to design and fabricate experimental apparatuses and associated equipment for treatment and remediation experiments. 
  • Contribute to the development of new experimental procedures and coordinate with support staff to ensure safe operation of equipment.

Reporting (20%): 

  • Compile summary data reports and prepare interim project reports. 
  • Produce figures and tables for reports and publications.

Field work (10%): 

  • Perform environmental sampling according to standard procedures and conduct demonstration-scale testing in the field, including deployment and operation of the NRRI mobile stormwater research trailer to test adsorption performance under site-specific conditions.

Quantitative analysis (10%):

  • Prepare environmental and laboratory-generated samples for water quality analyses and analysis of emerging contaminants.
  •  Coordinate with other project staff to submit samples according to laboratory-specific procedures.

Administrative work (10%): 

  • Support purchasing and data management for treatment and engineering projects. 
  • Maintain training records for experimental protocols.


Required Qualifications:

  • BS/BA in Environmental Engineering or related discipline and 1 year of experience, or a combination of related education and work experience to equal five (5) years,
  • Demonstrated knowledge of chemistry, water treatment, and engineering concepts, including experience and/or coursework,
  • Problem-solving and hands-on mechanical skills that can be related to maintaining and troubleshooting experimental equipment.
  • Basic skills in programming and/or numerical computer software (e.g., R Studio, Matlab, Python, etc).
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  • Focus, attention to detail, and ability to work independently to carry out tasks on time.
  • Effective oral and written communication in English.
  • Valid US drivers license and ability to drive with a trailer.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with design, drafting, fabrication, machining, and/or production techniques, including application of computer-aided drafting software and fabrication of custom equipment.
  • Proficiency in coding and numerical and/or statistical analysis software.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the concepts of mass transport, particularly regarding adsorption/absorption.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively as a part of a team, particularly relating to communication among team members and use of shared space and/or resources.
  • Experience with basic quantitative lab\oratory techniques in analytical chemistry and water quality testing,
  • Experience conducting or participating in field work, particularly related to water resources or water quality.

About the Department

About NRRI:
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.  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 and resume.

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.

About the U of M

University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD)

The University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) consistently ranks among the top Midwestern, regional universities in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges" issue.

Overlooking Lake Superior, UMD provides an alternative to both large research and small liberal arts environments and attracts students looking for a personalized learning experience on a medium-sized campus of a major university.  A firm liberal arts foundation anchors a variety of traditional degree programs, as well as professional and graduate students that draw on UMD's many research institutes and labs.

At the University of Minnesota, we are proud to be recognized by the Star Tribune as a Top Workplace for 2021, as well as by Forbes as Best Employers for Women and one of America’s Best Employers (2015, 2018, 2019, 2023), Best Employer for Diversity (2019, 2020), Best Employer for New Grads (2018, 2019), and Best Employer by State (2019, 2022).