PFAS & Stormwater Treatment

Job Type
Job Institution
University of Minnesota Duluth
Job Description

About the Job

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have become a pressing environmental issue of global proportions. As entities respond to updated guidance regarding health advisory levels of these harmful contaminants, new technologies to prevent the spread of PFAS from more dispersed and dilute sources will be critical.

The Natural Resources Research Institute is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to lead a new project funded by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) focused on the development of technology solutions for treatment of stormwater runoff contaminated with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The position will be based in Dr. Bridget Ulrich’s Environmental Chemistry Laboratory at NRRI Duluth and will involve collaboration with researchers in Dr. Chris Higgins’ laboratory at the Colorado School of Mines.

The postdoctoral researcher will lead the implementation of an experimental plan to evaluate PFAS sorption to activated carbon, biochar, and ion exchange materials. Research activities will be conducted in the laboratory as well as in the field. They will perform target and nontarget analysis of PFAS by liquid chromatography quadrupole time- of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS). They will also facilitate communication with project partners, contribute to dissemination and reporting activities, and contribute to student mentorship and laboratory leadership.

Terms of Employment:

This appointment is 100%-time, The position can be renewed annually for up to three years with satisfactory progress. Applicants should note their availability in their cover letter. A start date in summer of fall 2023 is preferred.


• Planning and execution of laboratory experiments (50%).
• Quantitative analysis to measure PFAS in water samples (20%).
• Data processing, analysis, interpretation, and manuscript preparation (20%).
• Additional duties, including reporting, dissemination, mentorship of other group members, and manuscript preparation. (10%).

Job Duties:

• Planning and execution of laboratory and field experiments.
• Operation of analytical instrumentation, including LC-QTOF-MS.
• Data processing, analysis, interpretation.
• Follow strict quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) protocols.
• Reporting and manuscript preparation.
• Coordination and communication with collaborators.
• Dissemination of results in conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications.
• Contribute to general research leadership duties including student mentorship and laboratory management.


Required Qualifications:

• PhD in Environmental Engineering or related field, obtained prior to the employment start date (Fall 2023 or sooner).
• Experience with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and/or liquid chromatography high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS).
• Strong attention to detail and ability to follow strict QA/QC protocols.
• Effective written and oral communication in English.
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
• Physical ability and dexterity to safely perform routine laboratory work, including transporting compressed cylinders and working in a fume hood.
• Valid US driver’s license with clean driving record.

Preferred Qualifications:
• Experience conducting experiments to evaluate sorption processes, including batch tests and column tests.
• Experience with liquid chromatography quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS).
• Experience with quantitative analysis of trace organic contaminants in environmental water samples, including sample preparation by solid phase extraction (SPE).
• Proficiency with R or similar computational software.

About the Department

The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the Minnesota legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research organization to inform state citizens and decision-makers while leveraging the power of the University of Minnesota. NRRI is guided by the forward-looking charter provided by the Legislature to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment, and economy for a sustainable and resilient future. We are a mission-driven, project-focused team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship.
With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine, MN, NRRI works across five strategic research platforms. These platforms address Minnesota’s soil, forest, water, and mineral resources:

1. Applied Ecology and Resource Management
2. Minerals and Metallurgy
3. Materials and Bioeconomy
4. Data Collection and Delivery
5. Commercialization Services

Working at the University

At the University of Minnesota, you’ll find a flexible work environment and supportive colleagues who are interested in lifelong learning. We prioritize work-life balance, allowing you to invest in the future of your career and in your life outside of work.

The University also offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes:

Competitive wages, paid holidays, and generous time off
Continuous learning opportunities through professional training and degree-seeking programs supported by the Regents Scholarship
Low-cost medical, dental, and pharmacy plans
Healthcare and dependent care flexible spending accounts
University HSA contributions
Disability and employer-paid life insurance
Employee wellbeing program
Excellent retirement plans with employer contribution
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) opportunity
Financial counseling services
Employee Assistance Program with eight sessions of counseling at no cost
Please visit the Office of Human Resources website for more information regarding benefits.

How To Apply
Applications must be submitted online. Visit the UMN careers page and search for Job ID: 355011.

To be considered for this position, please click the Apply button and follow the instructions. You will be given the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume.

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section.

Provide and upload a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information for three professional references.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).