Research Scientist

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, Illinois
Commensurate with experience
May 31 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Research Scientist
Materials Research Laboratory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is seeking a highly motivated Research Scientist to participate and/or actively support research in the areas of x-ray scattering and cryo-magneto analysis of materials. The Research Scientist will provide comprehensive technical support and user training for equipment, procedures, and safety in the broad areas of materials microanalysis and microfabrication.

The successful candidate will become a member of the dedicated staff of approximately 20 scientists and engineers, who maintain major research instruments in the MRL's core facilities for soft materials characterization, scanning probe microscopy, laser and optical spectroscopy, electron microscopy, surface analysis, x-ray diffraction, and nanofabrication facilities including two cleanrooms. Over 1,000 researchers from across our campus as well as other academic institutions, industry, and national laboratories use the facilities, logging more than 100,000 user hours annually. The lab is recognized as one of the premier mid-sized user facilities in the nation. For details, please visit us online at

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit

Responsibilities include:

  • Actively participate in research using x-ray scattering techniques in new materials, such as ceramics, semiconductor multilayers and super lattices, polymer and biological materials, etc. The use of new, high-resolution detector capabilities just added to the x-ray lab will be emphasized. A second set of responsibilities will involve similar work in the MPMS (magnetic property measurement system) and PPMS (physical property measurements systems).
  • Prepare and deliver primary and advanced training on the various techniques and instrumentation available in the x-ray analysis laboratory such as XRD, SAXS/WAXS, XRF and Laue camera systems, and in the MPMS and PPMS laboratory in the MRL.
  • Formulate, compile and distribute suitable suggestions for documentation improvements for collective staff scientist review. Incorporate approved modifications into training documents and procedures.
  • Perform routine preventative maintenance tasks which vary among daily, monthly, and annual basis for assigned laboratory instrumentation. Examples include daily checks to ensure instruments are running correctly; monthly proactive checks to ensure no hazards are present (e.g. x-ray enclosure fail safes are functional); annual maintenance service on vacuum pumps and supporting mechanical equipment.
  • Analyze performance and procedures for assigned equipment during regular operation and scheduled maintenance routines to determine if modifications are necessary to improve or augment their reliability, performance, or capabilities.
  • Identify hazards and/or potential failure modes by comparing equipment usage and performance to establish safety protocols while conducting user training or performing maintenance. If the equipment is not operating within tolerances or any engineering safety controls are malfunctioning, determine corrective actions to hardware, operating procedures or user training in conjunction with the assigned staff scientist and implement the changes.
  • Perform facility-wide safety tasks as assigned.
  • Conduct department or campus specified lab inspections for assigned operating areas and participate in reviews of non-assigned areas as requested.
  • Assume additional responsibilities to promote the unit's mission as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master's degree in engineering or physical sciences.
  • Three years of hands-on laboratory experience via degree coursework or independent research.
  • Three years of instructional/training experience delivering technical information.
  • Two years of experience with x-ray analytical tools.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD in engineering or physical sciences.
  • Experience working in a multi-user academic research facility.
  • Familiarity with a wide variety of analytical tools such as XRD, XRF, SAXS, PPMS and MPMS systems.
  • Chemistry background necessary for identifying chemicals for waste processing.

This is a full-time, benefits-eligible academic professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications.

To apply, please complete a candidate profile at and upload the following as a single file: a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references. To ensure full consideration, all requested information must be submitted by July 5, 2019. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date.

For further information regarding application procedures, contact Summer Redman at or 217-300-5400.

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.