NRRI Limnology Lab Manager

Title: NRRI Researcher 3 - Limnology Lab Manager
Job ID: 361168
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Research-Researchers
Job Code: 8352R3
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

***Please note this position is NOT eligible for sponsorship***
The pay range for this position starts at $50,000.00/year and depends on qualifications

This position will be responsible for coordinating and managing daily operations of the NRRI Central Analytical Laboratory (CAL), a state-certified water quality laboratory specializing in low-level detection of water quality parameters in the Laurentian Great Lakes and nutrient-poor lakes and streams in the Upper Midwest. NRRI CAL provides analytical laboratory and field research support services to Institute and University scientists; other University collaborators; local, state, federal, and tribal agencies; and private businesses and commercial laboratories. The position will assist on research projects studying interacting stressors of climate and land use change on lake and stream health and biogeochemical cycling; drivers of cyanobacteria bloom formation and toxicity in lakes; and ecosystem structure and functioning in the Laurentian Great Lakes and inland aquatic ecosystems.

Job Duties: 
1. Manage operations of a state-certified water quality laboratory, including planning and coordinating sample throughput, scheduling analyses, and personnel to meet analytical holding times and deliverable deadlines, updating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) based on revised guidelines, maintaining and troubleshooting instruments, monitoring and ordering supplies, maintaining the laboratory’s chemical inventory, and communicating with clients. 40 % of Time 

2. Supervise and train lab staff and student workers in analytical methods, instrument use, and good laboratory practices, including delegating and prioritizing tasks, setting deadlines, tracking individual performance and compliance with approved analytical methods, and scheduling personnel. 20 % of Time 

3. Implement Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC) practices for laboratory operations and large multi-institution, cross-research platform research projects at NRRI (e.g., Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program), including leading and contributing to overall project Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC) protocols; assisting with development of Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP); assisting project personnel with development and implementation of Quality Control measures to ensure compliance with the QAPP; conducting internal program audits and coordinating findings with the project PI and funding agencies; and performing data QC audits to assist with data review, verification, and validation. 15 % of Time 

4. Perform various chemical, biological, and physical analyses following standard operating procedures (SOPs), safety, and quality assurance practices (QA), and keep meticulously detailed records of analytical results. This includes operating complex laboratory equipment (e.g., UV/VIS spectrophotometer, fluorometers, FIA auto-analyzers, DOC analyzers). 10 % of Time

5.   Assist with collection of field data and water samples, measuring stream flow, maintaining water quality stations, and recording environmental observations, including operating water quality instrumentation and sensors, and flow gauging telemetry stations. 10 % of Time 

6. Serve as laboratory contact and analytical resource for clients; local, state, federal, and tribal partners; Institute and University scientists; and collaborators from other universities. Assist with data management, including entering data into a central laboratory database, evaluating data quality and completeness, producing data summaries and reports. Assist with data analyses and report / manuscript preparation. Other duties as assigned to support future research projects. 5% Effort.

This position is responsible for preparing project budgets and external sales contracts, monitoring existing project accounts, and planning for future expenditures. Additionally, this position is responsible for approving student timecards and assigning their work to various budgets based on work tasks completed and available account balances.

Incumbent sets own goals and determines how to accomplish results with few guidelines to follow, although precedents may exist; supervisor/manager provides broad guidance and overall direction. This position works independently to manage daily operations of the analytical lab, including setting weekly priorities and goals. Priorities and deadlines may shift quickly, so this position must be flexible and adaptable. Analytical problems are resolved with assistance from other lab members as needed.


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Water Resources Sciences, Limnology, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science, and two years of related experience or a combination of education and relevant work experience to equal six (6) years. 
  • Demonstrated experience with collection and analysis of environmental samples. 
  • Demonstrated experience with data entry, spreadsheet and database management, and report writing.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and work closely with team members in lab and field settings.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Water Resources Sciences, Limnology or Chemistry     
  • Experience may substitute for some of the above education. 1-3 years  years in lieu of education required.  
  • Demonstrated experience leading or assisting with laboratory management.
  • Demonstrated supervisory experience of laboratory staff or student workers.
  • Demonstrated experience with UV/VIS spectrophotometry, Ion Chromatography and other surface water chemistry analyses for nutrients, minerals, chlorophyll, color, pH, suspended solids, etc.
  • Demonstrated experience with Flow Injection Analyzer (e.g., LatchatQuickChem FIA) or Discrete Analyzer (e.g., SEAL AQ400) systems.
  • Demonstrated experience with laboratory quality assurance and control (QA/QC) protocols and good lab practices (GLPs).
  • Demonstrated experience developing and refining analytical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • Demonstrated experience training laboratory personnel in instrument use, analytical methods, and good lab practices.
  • Demonstrated experience working independently with minimal guidance from supervisor / Principal Investigator.

Varied situations that require significant analysis or interpretation; general precedents and practices used, but may be modified. This position works regularly with complex and varied scientific equipment and must be able to troubleshoot and fix instrumentation when it malfunctions, when errors arise or when results do not meet strict quality control guidelines. The researcher may be required to develop new standard operating procedures or to adapt previously developed procedures for a specific research goal.

Incumbent sets own goals and determines how to accomplish results with few guidelines to follow, although precedents may exist; supervisor/manager provides broad guidance and overall direction. This position works independently to manage daily operations of the analytical lab, including setting weekly priorities and goals. Priorities and deadlines may shift quickly, so this position must be flexible and adaptable. Analytical problems are resolved with assistance from other lab members as needed.

Physical requirements or environmental exposures: 
-Exposure to some hazardous chemicals used for water chemistry. 
-Wearing laboratory PPE- safety glasses, gloves, lab coat. 
-Field work: hiking in rough terrain, lifting to 40 lbs, carrying up to 25 lbs.

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 Tuition Benefit Program
  • 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

Please add the following information to the how to apply section:
To guarantee consideration, please apply by 5/23/24

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, visit the UMN Careers page and use 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. You are required to 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) 624-8647.


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).

Strategic Initiatives