Job Listings

Assistant Director of Operations & Safety-IBRL

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Job Location:
Urbana, 61820
Laboratory and Research
Assistant Director of Operations & Safety - Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL),

Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



WE TRANSFORM LIVES. Everything we do is designed to improve the quality of life of the people of the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.

Be a part of our story. The Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) is leading the way in food and bioprocessing research, teaching, and scale-up activities. Our facilities include over 50,000 sq. ft. of recently constructed and modernized pilot plant, laboratory, and collaborative space filled with over $15M in pilot-scale processing equipment. Our clients range from start-up businesses to Fortune 500 companies in addition to our work supporting major federal research grants, traditional classes, and continuing education opportunities for industry.

The primary responsibility of the Assistant Director of Operations & Safety is to ensure an efficient, safe, and innovative research environment within the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory and associated facilities.

We are continually growing our program and are excited to further build our excellent staff through a leadership hire with the following responsibilities:


Research (50%)

-       Accountable for ensuring the IBRL & FSHN-PPP are optimized for safe, efficient, and innovative research utilizing the unique assets of the programs' facilities and personnel to serve a wide range of constituents including academic researchers, industry scientists and engineers, and students.

-       Coordinate short-term research project priorities and schedule in close partnership with department supervisors and program leadership.

-       Provide peer leadership and mentorship to a large (~15) team of research specialists to ensure precise research and development outcomes.

-       Coordinate with IBRL technical specialists on activities in the facility and assist with cross-department coordination. Maintain general knowledge of procedures and equipment to advise and serve as backup to members of specialist team.

-       Develop and maintain research project documentation workflow to increase robustness in on-boarding and reporting.

-       Supervise a team of employees completing or supporting contracted research.

Research Safety & Regulation (25%)

-       Accountable for creating and implementing safety plans for IBRL and FSHN-PPP. Foster a culture of safety through modelled behavior, documented trainings, encouraging reporting and continuous improvement, and consulting with researchers and users on process-specific safety needs.

-       Serve on College of ACES safety committee and regularly update faculty, students, and other users of IBRL & FSHN-PPP facilities on safe work practices. Liaison with safety groups on campus to ensure compliance with various regulations and initiatives.

-       Develop and implement technical training in the areas of equipment operation, safety, and research methodology/data analysis as it pertains to IBRL pilot plant scale-up and research.

-       Accountable for maintaining IBRL & FSHN-PPP to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards and provide oversight to other regulatory requirements, audits, and inspections.

-       Serve as the primary emergency contact for 24/7 contacts by Public Safety and Facilities & Services for the FSHN-PPP and IBRL.

Operations (20%)

-       Accountable for efficient and dependable implementation, modification, and repairs of facilities or research equipment to ensure high reliability and accuracy of results.

-       Accountable for completing weekly and monthly operational walks, safety walks, and coordinating preventative maintenance contracts with department supervisors and business office.

-       Supervise F&S employees assigned to IBRL and serve as primary contact and work order entry to other shops.

-       Provide support to business office and department supervisors on topics such as inventory tracking, property accounting, and project budget tracking.

Educational Outreach & Other (5%)

-       Represent IBRL at conferences, meetings, and other related activities.

-       Lead class and industry tours to expand awareness of program.

-       Pursue ongoing professional development. Stay abreast of developing processing technologies, industry product trends, and safety programs.

-       Other duties as assigned.


Position Requirements and Qualifications



-       Bachelor's degree in Chemistry, Biology, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Technical Systems Management, Food Science, or closely related field


-       Master's Degree in Chemistry, Biology, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Technical Systems Management, Food Science, or closely related field



-       2+ years of experience installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing industrial processing equipment.

-       2+ years of experience working in an operational role in a pilot plant or larger-scale processing facility.

-       Experience developing safety plans, training employees, and developing emergency response plans.

-       Knowledge of/experience with research principles, research methodology, and analyzing/interpreting research data

-       Knowledge and understanding of common food, chemical, and bioenergy industry processing techniques, GMPs, plant safety, and pilot scale processing equipment.

-       Strong written and verbal communication skills

-       Experience in forming and maintaining professional relationships in academic, corporate, and construction trades environments.

-       Experience in supervising and training teams of 3 or more individuals in an educational or manufacturing environment


-       5+ years of work experience operating food or bioprocessing equipment in an industrial setting

-       Formal safety certification or training

Training, Licenses or Certifications:


OSHA 10 or 30 hour

Environmental Demands:

Ability to lift 50lbs

Ability to work in hot, cold, or wet environments or with equipment that is heated

Ability to stand, climb, or interact with equipment at various heights

Appointment Information: This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience. 

Application Procedures & Deadline Information

Applications must be received by 6:00 pm (CST) on December 13, 2023 (extended closing date). Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact the search chair, Doug Wolters, via email at For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing

Requisition ID: 1021527

Job Category: Research

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