TAP is hiring!

TAP homepage
Screenshot of Technical Assistance Program (TAP) homepage.

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is hiring! If you’d like to be part of a team that helps companies and communities throughout Illinois (and sometimes beyond!) to make their operations more sustainable, there are currently two employment opportunities for you to consider. Both are remote work options.

Technical Sustainability Professional [Official Title: Visiting Scientific Specialist, Technical (entry-level) 1021853 or Senior Scientific Specialist, Technical (higher level)]. The successful candidate will “collaborate with businesses, manufacturing, and industrial entities as well as municipal agencies, colleges, and universities throughout Illinois to improve sustainability, provide technical assistance in identifying opportunities and implementing sustainable solutions associated with materials, processes, water and wastewater, energy utilization, waste minimization and recycling…For full consideration, please apply by 6:00 p.m. Central on February 5th, 2024; however, this search will remain open until the position is filled.” For more information or to apply, visit https://illinois.csod.com/ux/ats/careersite/1/home/requisition/8866?c=illinois&z4krb695=&m=-5&u=-100.

Sustainability Technician–Academic Hourly. This position is estimated to work 20-30 hours per week, dependent on project and funding availability. The successful candidate will “work on pollution prevention and energy efficiency (P2E2) assistance with ISTC clients, including industrial and manufacturing businesses. Activities include assisting during site visits as well as conducting primary data analysis. This position will work with ISTC clients to promote their successful sustainable efforts by developing case studies, fact sheets, reports, and other material to communicate and highlight sustainability efforts and practices. Some travel required…Application review will commence immediately and continue until positions are filled.” For more information and application instructions, visit https://blogs.illinois.edu/view/7426/416100677.

Job announcement: ISTC and ISWS seeking Associate Research Scientist, Emerging Contaminants

ISTC and the Illinois State Water Survey are seeking an Associate Research Scientist, Emerging Contaminants to plan, conduct, supervise, and formulate collaborations on research on inorganic and organic pollutants, especially focusing on emerging contaminants (e.g., pharmaceuticals and personal care products, per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, agriculture chemicals (P and N), microplastics, and other contaminants including lead) and excessive nutrients in groundwater, surface water, and wastewater.

Application deadline is June 15, 2019.

Visit http://go.illinois.edu/istcjobs for more information and to apply.

Challenges of Carbon Utilization Have Regional Solutions

istc director kevin o'brien speaks at technology summit in San Antonio Texas
Advances in carbon utilization technology holds diverse options for job and economic development, according to ISTC Director Kevin O’Brien.

Emerging technologies for carbon dioxide (CO2) utilization present significant opportunities for job creation and economic growth, said Kevin O’Brien, director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in a presentation to the Eighth Carbon Dioxide Utilization Summit Feb. 22 in San Antonio, Texas.


But success in deriving those benefits from carbon utilization depends on the assets (economic and human) of each particular region, O’Brien emphasized to energy, chemical, plastics, and construction industry leaders at the conference.


Mature regional partnerships for workforce development, higher education, economic development, government support, and responsive research and development capabilities are some of the factors that contribute to development of a sustainable CO2 value chain.


O’Brien pointed to reasons why Illinois, where coal underlies nearly the entire state and remains a $2.5 billion annual industry, is seizing on every advantage it has to align with the potential of carbon utilization innovations.


  • Illinois research universities have leading programs in engineering, engineering geology, carbon capture, and other scientific innovation. One example is the use of CO2 as a fertilizer substitute at the University of Illinois. In a major agricultural state with nutrient loss problems and where the climate is expected to reduce carbon retention in soil, synergies abound.
  • College curricula, community colleges, economic development professionals, political leaders, and employers are already connected to existing supply chains.
  • The University of Illinois’ Prairie Research Institute, ISTC’s parent organization, has assembled decades-long reservoirs of valuable data on Illinois weather, regional climate, soil, groundwater, stream flow, and other factors that is relevant to an economic pivot toward carbon utilization.


On the research front, a Midwest Regional Approach to Carbon Utilization workshop is being planned for June 28 by co-organizers ISTC, the Gas Technology Institute, and the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.


Other regions will have different assets and opportunities. For instance, carbon utilization will necessitate pipelines or another cost-effective transportation method for captured CO2. Markets with a track record for facilitating transportation will be ahead of the game, O’Brien said.

Electric Coops Seek Veterans for Skill Positions

Serve our co-op serve our country logoThe National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has job openings and wants America’s veterans to apply.

The organization’s “Serve Our Coops/Serve Our Country” initiative has established a website to tap into the skills of armed forces veterans to join the energy sector.

Across the nation, 750 electric distribution cooperatives anticipate the need for 15,000 workers. They seek various skills for electrical and mechanical engineers; network administrators and specialists, cyber security IT specialists; marketing; accounting and finance; human resources; GIS supervisors and technicians; generation/transmission dispatchers; electric linemen and many others.

The program is focused on supporting member coops with work force education and training and to care for the veteran communities that live in suburban and rural areas.

DOE Sparks Science Learning with New Newsletter

STEM Spark newsletter header reads: S T E M Spark U.S. Department of Energy Energy Education News - August 2016 This Issue: Wind Energy - Next Issue: Solar Energy. header has green background with white lettering except for STEM and the word spark has gold dashes in a ray coming off the top of the letter k in the word Spark.


DOE has produced a new resource to help cultivate the next generation of science and environmental experts. The first in a new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education monthly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is all about wind energy.  Topics include:

  • Wind Energy Overview
  • How Does a Wind Turbine Work?
  • Learn How to Build a Wind Turbine Model
  • Offshore Wind Buoy Tour of “Open Hatch” Vessel
  • And much more about wind energy!

Regular sections in the newsletter include:

  • Student contests through the DOE
  • Classroom activities on the newsletter topic
  • Career resources
  • Upcoming DOE events

The newsletter is free to subscribe to and only requires a valid email address. This newsletter is made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).


The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois, of which ISTC is a division of, also does its part to nurture science talent in our schools. Recently PRI organized a website where its diverse mix of scientists and researchers discussed how they prepared for success in green science careers. They also share their thoughts about the prospects for green jobs in the future.



New Employment Opportunities at the Prairie Research Institute

ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Prairie Research Institute (PRI) also houses the IL Natural History Survey, IL State Archaeological Survey, IL State Geological Survey, and IL State Water Survey.


PRI has announced two new employment opportunities:

  • Associate Director for Computing and Data Services – responsible for the operations of the PRI Computing and Data Services planning, policy, and direction of information technology for PRI and to serve as a member of the PRI Operations
  • Associate Director for Finance – responsible for overseeing and directing the business and financial operations and activities within PRI and serving as a member of the PRI Operations Team

More information about both positions and how to apply can be found on the PRI jobs website.


Note: Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, and status as a qualified individual with a disability. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity (See Inclusive Illinois). The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

Prairie Research Institute logo

Position Opening: Director, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center

Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
Prairie Research Institute
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites applications and nominations for the position of Director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. For over 25 years, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) has been a leader at both the state and the national level in promoting industrial ecology, pollution prevention, natural resource conservation, and sustainability research, education and outreach. It was established by the Illinois General Assembly and is one of the five surveys comprising the Prairie Research Institute. By integrating environmental research, technical assistance, demonstrations, and communication, ISTC acts as a catalyst to improve economic vitality, encourage efficient use and conservation of resources, and achieve a healthier, sustainable future for the people of Illinois.


The Director will lead the Center in the execution of its mission and in maintaining and enhancing its tradition of excellence.


We seek candidates with national visibility, proven leadership and managerial skills and a commitment to promoting sustainability.


Specific Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide vision and leadership to the staff of ISTC to help the organization best carry out its mission, including strategic planning processes, action plans, accountability frameworks, and performance reporting systems.
  • Inspire, empower, and mentor staff to achieve success and foster a culture of innovation and high level performance at both the individual and organizational level.
  • Encourage organizational structures that promote quality improvement, group processes, and stakeholder involvement.
  • Lead the conceptual development and delivery of organizational products and services.
  • Direct and manage development of budgets, and policies and procedures related to oversight of human resources, buildings, and equipment.
  • Advance the Prairie Research Institute’s mission by serving on the Institute’s management team; and promote the University’s goals of encouraging student mentorship, experiential learning, and collaboration with university faculty.
  • In concert with the Prairie Research Institute leadership team, advice and counsel policymakers and elected officials at the local, state, and national level; and actively engage with public and private groups, industry, media, peer organizations, and the public on sustainability issues.
  • Network with key staff from federal and state agencies, corporations, and foundations, as well as assist in attracting funding from these organizations in support of the Center’s mission.
  • Build partnerships with public and private organizations to obtain and leverage the necessary resources to advance programs and services.


  • Graduate degree required; PhD preferred.
  • Demonstrated leadership, managerial, and supervisory ability.
  • Demonstrated ability to conceptualize, lead, and build successful programs that enhance public good by influencing private sector activity, government policy, or social change.
  • Outstanding communication, facilitation, and interpersonal skills.
  • Experience in grant-writing and fundraising.
  • Understanding of and appreciation for sustainable technologies and practices.

The Director position is a benefits eligible, academic professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis. Salary range is $155,000 to $165,000 annually. The expected start date is as soon as possible.


TO APPLY: This posting will remain open until filled. To apply, all candidates must submit an online profile through https://jobs.illinois.edu by the close of the posting period. Qualified candidates must upload a letter which details qualifications noted above, resume, and the names and contact information of three professional references. All requested information must be submitted for the application to be considered. Incomplete information will not be reviewed.


For further information regarding application requirements, please contact Susan Key, Human Resources, susankey@illinois.edu.


For technical questions, please contact: Dr. Nandakishore Rajagopalan, Search Chair, nrajagop@illinois.edu.


The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. The administration, faculty, and staff embrace diversity and are committed to attracting qualified candidates who also embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. www.inclusiveillinois.illinois.edu.

ISTC Seeks Web Applications Development Specialist

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC), a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is looking for a qualified individual to develop, maintain and evaluate Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) websites and database driven web applications with responsibility for training staff on the use of the applications through various modes of communication.


Salary for this position is $55,000 – $60,000 per year commensurate with experience and education. This is a regular, academic professional, full-time grant supported 12-month position renewable each academic year upon satisfactory progress within the position. The estimated starting date is May 16, 2013 (negotiable).


Please see https://jobs.illinois.edu/academic-job-board/job-details?jobID=29791&job=web-applications-development-specialist-division-of-illinois-sustainable-technology-center-a1300091 for the complete job description, required education and experience, and instructions for application. Applications must be received by March, 29, 2013.


For further information please contact Erica Hanson, Human Resources, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, 217-333-6897. For technical questions, please contact: Nancy Holm, Search Committee Member.