Job Listings

Assistant Research Scientist, Economic Geology - Illinois State Geological Survey (146448)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Job Location:
Urbana, Illinois
Laboratory and Research

Assistant Research Scientist, Economic Geology

Illinois State Geological Survey

Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) is a premier state geological survey serving the needs of the public, government, and industry with earth science information and research relevant to natural resources, environmental quality, economic vitality, and public safety. ISGS is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Learn more at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

ISGS is seeking to hire an Assistant Research Scientist, Economic Geology to conceive, recommend, implement, direct, and participate in geologic mapping of bedrock and interpret structural geology of 7.5-minute quadrangles in Illinois, develop and write external research programs relating to economic and industrial minerals, including critical minerals, and work with other staff to ensure the success of the state-wide geologic mapping program and critical mineral development.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Serve as principal investigator leading research and geologic mapping projects, including management of grant funding and production of project, grant, or contract deliverables.
  • Conduct field work, including mapping and describing geologic structure, lithology, and economic geology, including critical minerals, for state-wide 7.5-minute geologic quadrangle mapping program, and in support of critical mineral investigations.
  • Construct bedrock and structural geologic maps, including cross sections, geologic columns, and detailed reports on the structural, stratigraphic, and economic geology (including critical minerals) of each quadrangle.
  • Plan and direct core drilling operations, including location siting and planning, drilling logistics, measuring, logging, and describing core.
  • Investigate the factors controlling the distribution and occurrence of critical mineral resources and other geologic resources within Illinois. This would include geologic, tectonic, and other earth processes that drove the geological evolution of the Illinois Basin, and ultimate formation of many of the mineral resources.
  • Identify relevant research needs and project opportunities, including collaborations with the mineral industry, and governmental agencies.
  • Develop proposals for external funding and secure funding to support independent research.
  • Prepare internal reports, reports to sponsoring agencies, and scientific reports for publication in Survey publications.
  • Publish results of investigations in Survey publication series and other venues and formats, including peer-reviewed journal articles, public information pamphlets and posters, geologic maps, web pages, scientific abstracts, and databases.
  • Interact extensively with stakeholders, mineral resource industry, governmental agencies, and the public.
  • Provide authoritative and current information on the results of research projects for the public, other scientists, industry, and/or governmental agencies, and communicate research results through writing and public speaking.
  • Supervise and lead staff to achieve success and foster a culture of innovation and high-level performance at both the individual and organizational levels. For direct reporting staff, this also includes task assignment, scheduling, ongoing performance monitoring and evaluation, career/position mentoring, and leave/travel approval.
  • Ensure the safety of staff and equipment.
  • Contribute in the areas of education, outreach, and/or other service to the Survey, PRI, the University of Illinois, and the state of Illinois.
  • Enhance the reputation of the Survey and PRI at the state and national level.
  • Actively participate in professional societies and associations.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of PRI.
Required Qualifications:
  • Master's degree in geology, economic geology, or related discipline.
  • Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position.
  • At least 3 years related industry or research experience with master's degree.
  • Demonstrated expertise in specialized area of research. Supervisory and/or team leadership experience.
  • Must have an understanding of a wide range of geological processes including sedimentology, stratigraphy, structure, mineralogy, proficiency with field mapping techniques; an understanding of the integrated geological history of Illinois; and an understanding for minerals, including critical minerals as recently defined by the United States Geological Survey, which are becoming of increasing importance for national security and technological advantage.
  • Ability to establish a research program which includes both independent and collaborative research and geologic mapping projects. Potential to effectively acquire and manage project funds and resources.
  • Capacity to effectively manage research as a principal investigator and effectively supervise and mentor associated personnel.
  • Early career track record for publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Effective communication, personal relations, organizational, and leadership skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities with stringent deadlines, under minimal supervision.
  • Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to make sound value judgments, translate research findings into management recommendations and/or fundamental ecological concepts, both verbally and in writing to granting agencies and to the scientific and lay communities.
  • Affinity for cooperative or interdisciplinary research with scientists at the Survey, professionals at other Surveys or other academic units, as well as governmental and other academic institutions.
  • Proficiency in commonly-employed software and databases.
  • Fieldwork will occur in both rural and urban settings, some of which may be under adverse conditions (e.g. inclement weather, remoteness, and moderate physical exertion), will include overnight travel for up to one work week at a time.
  • Position involves lifting and manipulating field equipment and other items weighing up to 75 pounds and hiking over uneven terrain. Valid driver's license.

Preferred Qualifications: Ph.D. in geology, economic geology, or related discipline. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. Record of active participation in professional societies and associations.

This is a full-time regular 12-month academic professional position subject to the continued availability of funding and programmatic need. The starting date is negotiable and the salary is commensurate with experience.

Applications must be received by July 2, 2021. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after this date. To apply, please visit to complete an online profile and to upload 1) a cover letter that clearly articulates how your qualifications and experience make you a viable candidate for this position and should address the qualifications listed above, 2) a rsum/CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional (not personal) references. All requested information/documentation must be submitted for applications to be considered. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

For further information please contact Lori Walston-Vonderharr, Human Resources, Prairie Research Institute, at or 217-244-2401.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility

This website is part of the HigherEdJobs network.