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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 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:

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  • Grants and Contracts Assistant, Specialist, or Coordinator

    The Prairie Research Institute (PRI), a research and service institute of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, houses five large scientific surveys covering a wide range of expertise including biology, water resources, climate, geology, sustainable technology, and archaeology.  PRI’s mission is to provide objective, integrated scientific research and service that allow citizens and decision-makers to make choices that ensure sustainable economic development, enduring environmental quality, and cultural resource preservation for the people, businesses, and governments of Illinois. Learn more at go.illinois.edu/PRIjobs.

    Why Work at the Prairie Research Institute?

    Highlights of Employee Benefits

    The Prairie Research Institute is seeking two individuals to join our Grants and Contracts team (level is dependent on qualifications).

    Grants and Contracts Assistant: Entry level position, responsible for assisting in monitoring assigned grant and contract financial activity to ensure compliance with grant guidance and regulations. Provide assistance to Principal Investigators in creating budgets and spending plans for assigned grant submissions.

    Grants and Contracts Specialist:  Perform pre- and post-award administrative duties related to sponsored projects, with special emphasis on maintaining the data necessary for compliance with institutional policies and procedures, state and/or federal laws, and contractual obligations. Coordinate with PRI principal investigators (PIs).

    Grants and Contracts Coordinator:  Independently perform pre- and post-award administrative duties related to sponsored projects, with special emphasis on maintaining the data necessary for compliance with institutional policies and procedures, state and/or federal laws, and contractual obligations. Independently manage a portfolio of PRI principal investigators (PIs).

  • Hardware & Data Engineering with Radio Network for Environmental Monitoring

  • Fisheries Technician (Hourly) - Lake Michigan Biological Station

    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. 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. 

  • Senior Scientific Specialist, Archaeology - Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is seeking to hire a Senior Scientific Specialist, Archaeology (up to 4 depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to conduct and lead field archaeological investigations and analysis projects.  Position is based in the ISAS American Bottom Field Station in Collinsville, Illinois.

  • Assistant Research Scientist, Large River Ecology

    INHS is seeking a Large River Ecologist who will serve as coordinator for the aquatic macroinvertebrate component of the Long Term Resource Monitoring element of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program.  This position will coordinate field collection of benthic and colonizer macroinvertebrate communities among six LTRM field stations in the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, manage a lab responsible for identifying and enumerating aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa, monitor the status and trends of macroinvertebrates in the UMR, synthesize and analyze long-term data and communicate scientific findings through reports and scientific publications. Additional research into other areas of study related to aquatic macroinvertebrates and large river ecology will be encouraged.  This position is located in Havana, Illinois. Applications must be recieved by September 28, 2022.

  • Scientific Specialist, Archaeology - Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is seeking to hire a Scientific Specialist, Archaeology (up to 4 depending on applicant pool and programmatic need) to conduct field archaeological investigations and analysis projects. Position is based in the ISAS American Bottom Field Station in Collinsville, Illinois.

  • Office Support Associate - Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is seeking to hire a part-time Office Support Associate to provide support to the ISAS Business/Administrative Associate in the administration of grants and daily operation of the business office.   Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • GIS & Remote Sensing

    The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) is seeking to hire for GIS & Remote Sensing (Official title: Scientific Specialist, Geospatial Science) to provide technical support for two federally funded mapping data programs; staff routinely work in close collaboration.  For the Illinois State Water Survey, process and maintain Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data for the Coordinated Hazard Assessment and Mapping Program (CHAMP) with a focus on preparing digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) databases.  For the Illinois State Geological Survey, implement prescribed activities to process, maintain, and provide access to Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) point cloud data, derivative elevation data in vector and raster formats, and metadata for the Illinois Height Modernization Program (ILHMP).

  • Project Manager - Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

    The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is seeking to hire a Project Manager (up to three, depending on applicant pool and programmatic need). The Project Manager will perform functions during post award for a portfolio of projects. Examples of post award activities include, but are not limited to, (1) managing the collection of and updating information for Foreign Nationals (FN) or UIUC and subawardees; (2) managing and updating project budgets; (3) managing conflict of interest filings for UIUC and subawardees; (4) assist project engineers to develop and monitor various schedules, performance metrics, and reporting functions for projects; (5) maintaining project related Staff Plan updates and HR Transactions in PRI’s internal PRIDE system; (6) scheduling on-going project meetings; (7) coordinating with PRI Sponsored Research Coordinator/Fund Manager on project budget; (8) subaward coordination/monitoring, including subawardee invoice review (for PI final approval).  This is a hybrid position based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Communications Intern

    The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) is hiring a science storytelling intern to assist the communications team in sharing innovative research in archaeology, atmospheric science and climate, biodiversity and ecology, geology, hydrology and water, and sustainability.   During this paid internship, you'll gain experience curating and sharing social media content from PRI’s high-impact research that benefits Illinois, the nation, and the world. Depending on the selected candidate’s interests and professional goals, the internship experience could include writing stories, creating illustrations and infographics, producing videos, or other forms of storytelling.

  • Visiting Scientific Specialist, GIS - Illinois State Geological Survey

    The Illinois State Geological Survey is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, GIS to participate in research activities related to coal mines and data. Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Scientific Specialist, Archaeology - Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is seeking to hire a Scientific Specialist, Archaeology.   The archaeologist will work in the statewide program office of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's Transportation and Architecture Sections to coordinate  environmental survey information from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) or other state or federal agencies with ISAS archaeological and architectural projects for the purposes of (1) characterizing the research potential of said projects, (2) ensuring accurate and timely performance of archaeological and architectural projects, (3) completing archaeological and architectural compliance reports, and (4) assisting the IDOT Cultural Resources Unit in implementing a construction monitoring policy.  Position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

  • Fisheries Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Kaskaskia Biological Station is seeking 1-2 Fisheries Technicians to conduct field and laboratory work in support of research projects on sportfish management and invasion biology in lakes and rivers. Current research projects include spatial ecology and food web effects of habitat enhancements in reservoirs, experimental harvest regulations, and the ecology and management of invasive carp in the Illinois River. 

    This position will be based out of the Kaskaskia Biological Station in Sulllivan, Illinois and will work under the direction of Dr. Joe Parkos. 

  • Hourly Research Assistant - Sediment Laboratory, Illinois State Water Survey

    Assist the ISWS Sediment Laboratory Analyst by performing various duties as needed: prepare samples for analysis, prepare supplies and material for analytical methods, washing bottles/caps, taring bottles/glass filters, data entry, and general laboratory upkeep.

  • Aquatic Ecology Database Developer (Hourly) - INHS/PRI

    The Illinois River Bioloical Station is seeking a database developer to to assimilate disparate long-term and targeted biological monitoring and research data sources into a functional database repository that is updateable and queryable across projects. The position will also require metadata creation, data analytics and involve data integration platforms. The database developer will also participate in the design and development of API and backend components to generate data metrics and facilitate user access. 

  • Archaeological Field Technicians – American Bottom Field Station - Illinois State Archaeological Survey

    The Illinois State Archaeological Survey is seeking to hire Archaeological Field Technicians (Hourly Assistants) to serve as excavators and surveyors capable of performing basic archaeological identification, interpretation, and recordation tasks under the direct supervision of a Research Archaeologist. Duties include, but are not limited to, participation in Phase I field surveys, Phase II site testing, Phase III archaeological mitigation projects, and associated analysis activities based at the ISAS American Bottom Field Station in Collinsville, Illinois. These are full-time (40 hours per week), non-benefits eligible, field/laboratory positions with an hourly rate of $16 to $18 depending on qualifications.

  • Fisheries Technician (Hourly) - Illinois Natural History Survey

    The Sam Parr Biological Station is seeking field technicians to conduct field and experimental work as well as laboratory tasks in support of research projects on sportfish management and invasion biology in lakes and ponds. This position will be based out of the Sam Parr Biological Station in Kinmundy, IL.

  • Hourly Research - WaterOperator.Org, Illinois State Water Survey

    The Illinois State Water Survey is seeking an hourly research assistant to conduct research and gather information from water and wastewater related websites, evaluate research data quality, develop written summaries based on research, and develop scientific content for water/wastewater operator website.

  • Student Hourly (Multidisciplinary) Research - Illinois State Water Survey, PRI

    Water Supply Hydrology research programs seeking student hourly research assistant to help with preparing digitally available GIS data and analyzing streamflow statistics regionalization at the Illinois State Water Survey.