NRRI Researcher 2: Research Scientist

Job Title: NRRI Researcher 2: Research Scientist
Job ID: 361409
Location: Duluth
Job FamilyResearch-Researchers
Job Code: 8352R2
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

The Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) is an institute of the University of Minnesota, Duluth, with a mission "to deliver solutions for responsible management of Minnesota’s resources, environment and economy to foster resilient communities." 

NRRI seeks a qualified biological sciences researcher to provide scientific input to the conservation, management, and use of natural resources. 

 The researcher must be capable of working independently as part of interdisciplinary teams on a variety of externally funded research projects and datasets related to wildlife ecology and management in Minnesota and the Western Great Lakes region.  This position is responsible for coordination and management of multiple projects pertaining primarily to avian ecology in forests, wetlands, and other habitats (e.g., grasslands). Research activities include involvement in several extensive species monitoring programs to track regional population trends and investigate land use patterns and habitat relationships.  

The individual will be expected to contribute to the development of research ideas and proposals and solutions to advance the research program. The applicant will collaborate with team members to coordinate and implement research projects including management and maintenance of field technologies and equipment, data acquisition, data entry and management (QA/QC), provide data summaries, and assist in writing reports and manuscripts. The position can require extensive travel in difficult field situations to gather data on birds or other vertebrates for extended periods, especially from April to July. Successful candidate must be able to work flexible hours (nights, early mornings, and weekends) and be willing to work outdoors in a wide variety of weather conditions and environments. 


  • Lab processing of biological samples (30%)- Using and developing methods associated with processing biological samples including processing fecal samples, DNA extraction, insect identification, and preparation of samples for genetic analysis. 
  • Data collection and data QA/QC (20%)- includes project logistics and support, assist with oversight and implementation of research and safety procedures, protocols, and experimental design including data QA/QC. 
  • Project analysis and reporting (40%)- summarize data using a variety of programs including R, Excel, ArcGIS, and Access, assist in the preparation of annual and technical reports, and lead and assist with manuscript development.
  • Safety (10%)- Provide, develop, implement, safety training and SPOs for all lab members. 

    This is a temporary 30-hour-per-week position that will conclude on September 30, 2025. 



  • BS/BA degree in ecology, biological science, or related environmental science from an accredited college or university and 1 years of related experience or equivalent combination of education work experience to equal five years.
  • Evidence of field skills and expertise of birds in the upper Midwestern United States is essential for this position.  Must be able to identify breeding birds by sight and sound and pass a test of 85 bird songs with 85% or more correct. 
  • Evidence of knowledge of land management practices and policies related to wildlife habitat and breeding bird ecology. 
  • Reliable independent time management skills with ability to prioritize job responsibilities and timelines.
  • Experience with data management (QA/QC) processes. 
  • Experience with collection of biological samples and laboratory procedures including DNA extraction and metabarcoding techniques.
  • Experience with insect and plant identification.
  • Physical requirements include: 
    a. Ability to lift and carry equipment weighing 40-50 pounds
    b. Ability to use binoculars
    c. Tolerance of bugs and working in inclement weather as needed
    d. Dexterity required to handle birds at times



  • Experience analyzing complex data from a variety of environmental sources to assess ecological patterns and processes using a variety of statistical (e.g. SAS, R), geographical (e.g. ArcGIS), and organizational (e.g. Microsoft Access, Excel) software.
  • Experience with scientific writing and project administration. 
  • Skill and experience with wildlife data collection methods and technologies including conducting point counts, territory mapping, re-sighting banded birds, radiotelemetry, and deploying and maintaining monitoring technologies (i.e. digital audio recorders and camera traps).
  • Bird handling and banding experience, including experience with a variety of capture techniques including mist-netting. 
  • Holding a sub-permit or ability to obtain sub-permit to band and tag birds; and
  • Experience deploying and troubleshooting wildlife tracking technologies. 

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, visit the UMN Careers website and search for the Job ID number on this post. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position. Applicants are required to send a cover letter and full CV.
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 accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-8647.


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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).

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