Temp/Casual Environmental Research Assistant

Job ID: 360984
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Supplemental Employee
Job Code: 0001
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) is seeking an Environmental Chemistry Research Assistant to join our team and support applied research 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 legacy and emerging contaminants in sediments of the Great Lakes. The Laboratory Technician will work closely with research staff, students, and postdoctoral researchers to provide laboratory and administrative support, and may also participate in field work as necessary, including shipboard work on the Great Lakes.

This is an hourly temporary position with a time commitment of 20-30 hours per week at an hourly rate of $20/hr.

Job Duties

  • Laboratory analytical support (30%): Perform extraction procedures for sediments and passive samplers according to Standard Operating Procedures. Maintain detailed records of laboratory activities and prepare summary data reports.
  • Research support (30%): Assist with experimental tasks evaluating contaminant uptake by passive samplers, including collection and preparation of samples for instrumental analysis.
  • Instrumental analysis (20%): Operate analytical instrumentation, review data to ensure compliance with QA/QC criteria, process and analyze experimental data.
  • Field work (10%): Assist with fieldwork as necessary, including deployment and collection of passive samplers in streams. 
  • Laboratory upkeep (10%): Cleaning glassware and lab spaces, monitoring waste storage areas, submitting waste for disposal.


Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental science or related discipline or a combination of education and work to equal 4 years.
  • Completion of post-secondary coursework in Organic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry.
  • Demonstrated laboratory skills in Analytical Chemistry, as evident through work experience, research experience, or completion of a practical laboratory course.
  • Focus with attention to detail to carry out laboratory tasks on time and with good precision.
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  • Effective oral and written communication in English.
  • Valid U.S. driver’s license and clean driving record.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Chemistry (major or minor).
  • Experience performing research in an environmental chemistry laboratory setting, particularly relating to quantitative analytical chemistry and analysis of freshwater systems.
  • Experience with various laboratory instrumentation, including ion chromatography and gas chromatography mass spectrometry.
  • Completion of coursework or training in Hydrology and/or Geographic Information Science (GIS).
  • Demonstrated communication, outreach, and leadership skills.

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

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please visit the UMN careers page and search for Job ID 360984.  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.

You are required to attach a cover letter and resume. 

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


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.

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).

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