NRRI Temp/Casual Water Quality Scientist

Job ID: 360725
Location: Duluth
Job Family: Supplemental Employee
Job Code: 0001
Employee Class: Civil Service

About the Job

Water Quality Lab Field Scientist Temp Casual Position

This position will be responsible for performing laboratory and field work for the NRRI Central Analytical Laboratory (NRRI 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.

Primary Functions:
This position will perform various chemical and physical laboratory analyses following NRRI CAL standard operating procedures, safety protocols, and quality assurance practices (QA), as well as keep detailed records of analytical results. This includes operating complex laboratory equipment (e.g., UV/Vis spectrophotometer, fluorometers, FIA auto-analyzers, TOC analyzers). (40%)

This position will assist with environmental field work as needed. Field sites are located across Duluth and Northern Minnesota and significant vehicle travel will be required. Sampling locations are often remote and require strict adherence to field safety protocols. Field tasks may include field data collection using multi-probe water quality meters; collection of surface water, groundwater, and sediment samples; measurement of stream flow; and maintenance of remote water quality monitoring stations among other tasks.(30%)

The position will perform general maintenance and upkeep of the NRRI CAL. With seasonal help from
undergraduate students, the researcher will be responsible for regular cleaning of glassware used in low level nutrient analyses, preparation of reagents and materials used in water quality analyses, pre-cleaning and preparation of sample containers, and monitoring inventory of chemical and other consumable supplies. (20%)

This position will help train undergraduate students in basic laboratory procedures (i.e., sample processing, glassware cleaning, materials preparation). They will assist the Laboratory Manager with monitoring of undergraduate workers and graduate students in field and laboratory settings as needed. (10%)


Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree in chemistry, environmental science, biology, water resources, or related fields by time position starts or a combination of related education and work experience to equal four years.

Required work experience :

  • Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, environmental science, biology, water resources, or related fields by time position
  • Ability to pay close attention to detail.
  • Ability to plan ahead, stay organized, and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and work closely with team members.
  • Basic computer skills needed to work with spreadsheets, databases, and instrument software.
  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record.

Additional preferred work experience :

  • Experience with the following laboratory instrumentation: UV/VIS Spectrophotometer, Lachat FIA System,
    Discrete Analyzers, Fluorometer, Ion Chromatography Systems, Total Organic Carbon Analyzer, pH Meters,
    Turbidimeter, and Hydro lab and YSI multi-parameter sondes.
  • Experience with chemical methods for analysis of surface waters, including total and dissolved nutrients,
    dissolved organic carbon, chlorophyll, color, pH, turbidity, alkalinity, hardness, and suspended solids.
  • Familiarity with laboratory quality assurance and control (QA/QC) protocols and good lab practices (GLPs).
  • Experience with field collection of environmental samples.
  • Experience in flow gauging wadable streams.

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 360725.  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) 624-8647.


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).

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