Employment Opportunities

The Water Resources Center seeks applications for a Research and Extension Coordinator (REC) to manage major grant programs, develop an independent research and/or Extension program, and assist WRC leadership with other strategic activities. 

This position is responsible for managing the Watershed Innovations (WINS) program and all USGS-funded programs. The position also coordinates activities funded by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and large-scale extramural grants. The REC will develop an Independent research or Extension program with a water-related focus dependent on the individual’s background and training. 

This position can be appointed at either of two job classifications - Research Project Specialist 1 or Research Project Specialist 2 - based on individual qualifications and experience described below. Base responsibilities of the position are described for appointment as a Research Project Specialist 1 with additional expectations noted for a Research Project Specialist 2.


Coordinate Grant Programs (60%)

The majority of this position will focus on managing  WRC grant programs and other grant activity. The WINS program and some USGS programs allocate funding through requests for proposals (RFPs). The REC will manage  all aspects of the RFP process in consultation with the WRC director, including identifying research priorities, developing and disseminating RFPs, obtaining proposal reviews, coordinating funding recommendations, tracking progress of funded projects, and communicating program outcomes to relevant audiences. Additionally, the REC is responsible for coordinating work and compiling progress reports on projects funded by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and other large-scale sponsored projects. For appointment as a Research Project Specialist 2, the individual will be fully responsible for the RFP processes, with occasional guidance from the WRC director.

Develop an independent research or Extension program (30%)

Commensurate with the individual’s background, expertise, and interests, the successful applicant will develop a research and/or Extension program. This work should relate to one or more of the focus areas in the WRC’s Strategic Plan and complement the programming of WRC Extension Educators. While applicants with training in any water-related field will be considered, expertise areas of particular need are social science, agricultural and resource economics, informatics and data science, and integrated modeling. Appointment as a Research Project Specialist 2 includes an expectation of seeking grant support for research or Extension activities, with desire for the successful applicant to eventually support 30% of their salary from their extramurally funded projects. Research Project Specialist 2 appointees also can seek an affiliate status with the Water Resources Science graduate program to advise graduate students.

Service and other administrative duties (10%) 

The REC will assist WRC leadership with strategic activities such as coordinating the WRC advisory board, representing the center on boards and councils, and contributing to professional development workshops for graduate students.


Required Qualifications and Experience

  • (Research Project Specialist 1)  MS or equivalent degree in a water related field 

  • (Research Project Specialist 2)  PhD or equivalent degree in a water related field

  • At least two years of relevant work experience

  • Evidence of excellent written and oral communication skills and experience communicating research findings and information

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Experience seeking extramural grant funding

  • Record of peer-reviewed research-based publication

  • Record of successful Extension programming 

  • Experience in reviewing grants

  • Experience with research program planning and administration, including ability to work with senior administrators and researchers

About the Water Resources Center

As part of the National Institutes for Water Resources, the Water Resources Center serves as a hub connecting academic water experts with stakeholders in government, industry, and nonprofit organizations in the state. The center currently supports over 100 scientists involved in more than 30 research projects and annually hosts dozens of education and training events attracting more than 6,000 participants. It also actively engages with students as the administrative home of the interdisciplinary Water Resources Science graduate program. The Water Resources Center is a unit of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Water Resources Center is committed to a diverse, inclusive, and accessible work environment. We are dedicated to aligning our work with the true diversity of Minnesotans, addressing inclusivity as we strive to diversify our staff, stakeholders, and perspectives.  We champion thoughtful and open communication as all people are valuable, deserving of respect and consideration. We are committed to confronting biases, conscious and unconscious, and enhancing accommodations for the differently abled.

How to Apply

Applications are welcomed and encouraged from all qualified individuals regardless of background and identity. Veterans and individuals from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. 

All applications must be submitted online by clicking one of the links below:

Apply online (external candidates)

Apply online (current University of Minnesota employees)

Alternatively, visit humanresources.umn.edu/content/find-job and search for Job ID 344316.

This position is available immediately and will remain open until filled. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis upon submission. For fullest consideration please apply by December 1, 2021.

A complete application includes the following electronic documents:

  1. A curriculum vita including a research publication list

  2. A cover letter that contains a point-by-point description of how your qualifications and experience meet our required and preferred qualifications and have prepared you to fill this position

  3. A diversity statement indicating how you have integrated diversity, equity, and inclusion into your work

  4. The names and contact information (email address, telephone number) of at least three (3) professional references who can speak to your qualifications for this position

For additional information, contact Jeffrey Peterson (jmpeter@umn.edu).