Visiting Scientific Specialist and Data Curator at Illinois Natural History Survey

Tue, 2018-01-30 10:08 -- maphillips

Visiting Scientific Specialist, Data Curator

Illinois Natural History Survey

Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) has been the guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois—the state's biological memory. With a staff of over 200 scientists and technicians, INHS is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation. The mission of INHS is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and to acquire and provide natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. INHS 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.   PRI 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, in cooperation with other academic and research units of the University of Illinois and elsewhere, 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.

INHS is seeking to hire a Visiting Scientific Specialist, Data Curator to provide management support of tasks and staff for the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Microfungi Collections Consortium (MiCC) project, which aims to digitize information from over 1.2 million fungal specimens in collections at 38 institutions across the United States.  The position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

Overall direction and management of the workflow of this digitization project. Specimen selection, photograph, labeling, and upload of specimen records and images to an online database in coordination with the principal investigator (PI). Curate and maintain 1.2 million North American fungi specimens including transcription of labels and georeferencing of records. Closely collaborate with 38 outside institutions on project mission and deadlines. Supervise, mentor, and lead undergraduate students, graduate students, and hourly workers to achieve success and foster a culture of innovation and high-level performance at both individual and organizational levels. This includes task assignment, scheduling, ongoing performance management with coaching and feedback and travel approval. Organize, back up and transfer image files to the online portal and a central collection server. Contribute information for technical reports. Keep abreast of developments in this discipline. Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of PRI.


Required: A minimum of a bachelor’s degree with specialization in a biological science discipline with work in a herbarium, museum, or biological collection/laboratory. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position. Equivalent combination of education and experience related to the job totaling 2 years. Experience working with biological specimens. Must possess skills in herbarium collections and management, technical skills in online data management, and excellent computer skills. Effective communication, personal relations, organizational, and leadership skills. Demonstrated ability to perform effectively with a professional demeanor in a diverse and fast-paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities, with minimal supervision. 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. Proficiency in commonly-employed software and databases. Must possess strong interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively with other scientists, researchers, staff, and PRI clients.  Preferred:  Knowledge working with Symbiota software.

This is a full time, academic professional grant supported 12-month position subject to the continued availability of funding and programmatic need. The starting date is negotiable after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience. Generous vacation and sick leave.  State Universities Retirement System.  Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.

Applications must be received by February 7, 2018.  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 CV, and 3) the names and contact information (including e-mail addresses) of three professional references. All requested information must be uploaded for applications to be considered.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

For further information, you may contact Angela Young, Human Resources, Illinois Natural History Survey/Prairie Research Institute, at

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