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The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) and its five constituent surveys—the Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Illinois State Geological Survey, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, and Illinois State Water Survey—serve the state of Illinois and beyond by providing rigorous, objective scientific research, data, and expertise to help understand, manage, and protect our essential natural resources. With around 600 full-time staff, PRI is one of the largest research institutes at the University of Illinois.

PRI is based in Urbana-Champaign, a diverse, affordable, micro-urban community. Learn more about Urbana-Champaign

U of I HR provides more information about applying to and working at the University of Illinois, including available benefits.

If you have questions about any PRI open positions or the application process, contact a member of our human resources team:

blog posts

  • Director & Principal Research Scientist - Illinois Natural History Survey

     The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) which investigates and documents the biological resources of Illinois and other areas and acquires and provides natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources is seeking a Director who will provide strategic direction and overall administration for the Survey while also serving in a Principal Research Scientist role to administer research activities of the Survey by conceiving, recommending, implementing, directing, and participating in scientific research focused on the selected candidates area of study while contributing to the overall scientific mission of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI). This is an in-person position based in Champaign, Illinois. Applications must be received by 6:00pm (CST) on April 30, 2024. 

  • Associate Research Scientist, Engineering - Illinois State Geological Survey

    The Illinois State Geological Survey is seeking to hire an Associate Research Scientist, Engineering to develop and review engineering designs and models of geothermal systems.  Position is based in Champaign, Illinois. 

  • Senior Scientific Specialist, Stable Isotope Geochemistry - Illinois State Geological Survey

    The Illinois State Geological Survey is seeking to hire a Senior Scientific Specialist, Stable Isotope Geochemistry to contribute to research of the Basin Analysis Laboratory through measurement of carbon and oxygen stable isotope composition of calcareous rocks and fossils. This data will be used by our research team and extensive list of collaborators to study the chronostratigraphy and diagenetic history of the Illinois Basin and other basins around the globe. This work will support a wide range of Earth science investigations including critical minerals research, carbon capture and storage, as well as fundamental research on the deep time carbon cycle and perturbations of earth systems associated with mass extinctions. Manage and maintain our state-of-the-art high-throughput stable isotope laboratory equipped with a new Thermo Scientific Delta Q interfaced with a Kiel carbonate device and a Thermo Scientific Delta V with Gasbench II.  Position is based in Champaign, Illinois. 

  • Research Site Pond Technician (Hourly)

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a motivated individual to provide lab and fieldwork support for the Aquatic Ecology Research Facility. This position will be based in Champaign, Illinois. The application deadline is March 15, 2024. 

  • Fisheries Management Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking multiple (up to 2) technicians to conduct field and laboratory work in support of sportfish management projects in streams and reservoirs in Illinois. Fieldwork responsibilities include measuring limnological parameters and sampling fish using boat electrofishing in reservoirs and stream electrofishing gears in wadable streams. This position will be based out of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office in Gibson City, Illinois. The Application deadline is March 15, 2024. 

  • Aquatic Ecology Technician (Hourly): Illinois River Biological Station - INHS

    The Illinois River Biological Station is seeking a field technician to conduct applied research in aquatic ecology and large river systems throughout the state of Illinois. Technicians will assist large river ecologists in the collection and analysis of water and zooplankton samples.  This position will be 40 hours per week and will be located in Havana, Illinois. 

  • Fisheries Research Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Sport Fish Ecology Lab at the Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking 1 qualified Fisheries Research Technician to assist graduate student Justin Lombardo in a research project studying the effects of angling on spawning largemouth and smallmouth bass in southern Ontario, Canada. Transportation and Housing are provided. Application Deadline is March 9, 2024. 

  • Undergraduate Hourly Technician (INHS Herbarium) - Federal Work Study

    The Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium is seeking an Undergraduate Student to work on accessioning and organizing plant and fungal specimens. This position will require someone who can handle fragile objects with care and can keep materials well organized. This position will be located in Champaign, Illinois. 

  • Visiting Scientific Specialist, Environmental Assessments Researcher - Illinois State Geological Survey

    The Illinois State Geological Survey is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, Environmental Assessments Researcher (up to 3 depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to perform sponsored research on environmental assessments.  The assessments will involve evaluating potential environmental and geologic hazards and risks for Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) infrastructure improvement projects. IDOT's infrastructure projects range in size and can involve anything from a single property to hundreds of properties across many miles of existing or future highways.  IDOT uses the assessments completed by ISGS to protect workers and public safety, to reduce IDOT's liability, and to minimize delays by operating in an efficient and cost-effective manner.  May 2024 graduates are welcome to apply.  Position is based in Savoy, Illinois. 

  • Fisheries & Aquatic Ecology Field & Lab Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey/Lake Michigan Biological Station - Zion, IL

    The Lake Michigan Biological Station, which is part of the Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking technicians to participate in daily research activities related to monitoring yellow perch population dynamics, nearshore and tributary fish assemblages, benthic invertebrate and zooplankton resources, biological community assessment of nearshore artificial reefs, and sport fish harvest dynamics along the Illinois shoreline of Lake Michigan. This position will be located at the Lake Michigan Biological Station in Zion, IL. Fieldwork will also occur in various locations throughout Cook County and Lake County, IL. 

  • Avian Field Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a field technician to assist with ongoing bird and plant-related research. Duties will include conducting point counts for Illinois birds, using playback recordings to detect focal species, nest searching and monitoring of focal species, assisting in wetland bird capture and banding, entering data, and assisting with report preparation for the contracting agency.  This position will be 40 hours per week and will be based out of the Chicagoland area in Illinois. Fieldwork will primarily take place in the greater Chicago region. 

  • Stream Ecology Summer Internship - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking a summer intern for The Larimore Stream Ecology Internship. This internship will provide the selected intern with knowledge and real-world experience to prepare them for a graduate program in stream or aquatic ecology. This internship opportunity will run from June 6, 2024 - August 5, 2024. The application deadline is March 25, 2024. 

  • Scientific Specialist, Historic Architecture - Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is seeking to hire a Scientific Specialist, Historic Architecture (up to 2 depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to conduct historical research on architectural and archaeological resources (standing buildings and architectural structural remains encountered during archaeological investigations) encountered during investigations for Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to identify and evaluate those eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in accordance with the rules and regulations of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470) and its implementing regulations (36 CFR 61, Appendix A) and the Illinois State Agency Historic Resources Preservation Act (20 ILCS 3420).   Position will be based in either Champaign or Jacksonville, Illinois. 

  • Stream and River Research Technicians (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey/PRI

    The Stream Ecology lab at the Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking up to 7 research technicians to conduct bioassessments of aquatic life in streams and rivers in Illinois.The position will be stationed in Champaign Illinois, but travel will occur throughout the state.

  • Prairie Research Institute Librarian - Clinical Assistant or Associate Professor - Funk ACES Library

    The University Library at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks a dynamic and collaborative individual to serve as the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) Librarian. The Prairie Research Institute comprises five state scientific surveys and conducts transformative research in numerous scientific disciplines, including geology, ecology and biodiversity, hydrology and water, and weather and climate. The Prairie Research Institute Librarian will be based in the Funk ACES Library and work closely with other subject specialists and units across the University Library to provide robust research support for the Prairie Research Institute. Applications must be submitted by 6:00 pm on March 1, 2024, for consideration. 

  • Medical Entomology Field Technician (Hourly): Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Illinois Natural History Survey’s Medial Entomology Lab is seeking undergraduate students or hourly technicians for seasonal field and lab work on mosquito and tick surveillance and research. The position is based at the Illinois Natural History Survey Medical Entomology Lab, within the University Research Park. 

  • Sustainability Technician – Academic Hourly

    This position will be part of the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) at ISTC. This position will primarily support others who work with companies and organizations to evaluate and identify opportunities to improve their sustainability, and to support and document their actual implementation of sustainability activities associated with materials, processes, water and wastewater, energy utilization, waste minimization and recycling.

  • Sustainability Scientist, Technical

    The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) is seeking to hire a Technical Sustainability Professional (Official Title: Visiting Scientific Specialist, Technical (entry level) 1021853 or Senior Scientific Specialist, Technical (higher level) 1018252) to collaborate with businesses, manufacturing, and industrial entities as well as municipal agencies, colleges, and universities throughout Illinois to improve sustainability, provide technical assistance in identifying opportunities and implementing sustainable solutions associated with materials, processes, water and wastewater, energy utilization, waste minimization and recycling. 

    The Technical Assistance Program (TAP) of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. ISTC integrates applied research, technical assistance, and information services to advance efforts in the areas of pollution prevention; water and energy conservation; and materials recycling and beneficial reuse.

  • Seasonal Aquatic Ecology & Lab Technician (Hourly) - Lake Michigan Biological Station, Zion Illinois

    The Lake Michigan Biological Station is looking for a fisheries Technician to participate in daily research activities related to monitoring yellow perch population dynamics, nearshore and tributary fish assemblages, benthic invertebrate and zooplankton resources, biological community assessment of nearshore artificial reefs, and sport fish harvest dynamics along the Illinois shoreline of Lake Michigan. 

  • Seasonal Fisheries Technician (Hourly): Kaskaskia Biological Station - Sullivan, Illinois

    The Illinois Natural History Survey is seeking seasonal technicians to conduct in-person angler interviews at fishing lakes within the central Illinois region as part of a research project to investigate the effects of harvest regulations on angler catch rates and satisfaction. Positions will run from May - October, with flexibility for a later start date and earlier end dates to accommodate school schedules.