Research Outreach Specialist
MAISRC works to develop science-based solutions to address the AIS issues facing Minnesota's lakes, rivers, and wetlands and to inspire action by others. Our research is focused on developing tools and methods for taking action on AIS by preventing spread, controlling populations, supporting AIS management, and advancing AIS knowledge among natural resource managers and the public. The Research Outreach Specialist supports this mission by developing and administering outreach activities for MAISRC and continuing to develop a novel program of stakeholder engagement and research translation that serves as a bridge between MAISRC and its diverse set of stakeholders.
The Research Outreach Specialist reports to the Associate Director and position responsibilities include developing a deep understanding of AIS issues, management challenges, and knowledge gaps throughout the state; serving as a liaison between MAISRC and various stakeholder groups to address those challenges and knowledge gaps; providing consultation to stakeholders on research findings and supporting the development of evidence-based management for local AIS issues; representing MAISRC at public meetings and speaking engagements; developing resources and content to share research outcomes and recommendations with a variety of audiences; serving as a resource to interdisciplinary research teams on outreach and research translation initiatives; event management and support; and supporting MAISRC outreach initiatives to continue to improve MAISRC’s efficacy in building networks and disseminating research results.
MAISRC supports about 20 research projects at one time, each with a diverse set of stakeholders and partners, and the Research Outreach Specialist plays an important role in coordinating external audiences and internal teams to maximize MAISRC’s ability to meet its mission to grow the capacity for AIS management in Minnesota. MAISRC’s staff is a small team with a big mission and the ideal candidate is someone who can manage a variety of simultaneous projects and meet multiple deadlines while maintaining a high level of initiative, systems thinking, creativity, and collaboration.
Key Areas of Responsibility
Stakeholder Engagement – 50%
- Build and maintain relationships with MAISRC’s primary stakeholder groups in order to understand their AIS management needs and serve as a liaison between stakeholders and MAISRC staff and researchers, to ensure the development of actionable science and the incorporation of outreach activities into research plans. ● Represent MAISRC on working groups and multi agency/organization committees to facilitate and deepen MAISRC’s engagement with current AIS threats and management challenges, identify knowledge and information gaps, leverage available resources, and recommend research-based solutions.
- Represent MAISRC and deliver public presentations at public speaking and meeting engagements with community partners and stakeholders to present locally relevant MAISRC updates and provide expertise on local AIS issues (e.g. lake association meetings, county AIS managers).
- Serve as a resource to interdisciplinary MAISRC research teams where stakeholder outreach and AIS/resource manager input are central to research activities and connect researchers with key stakeholders to support the implementation or application of the research findings.
- Build and maintain relationships with MAISRC staff and research teams, and maintain collaborative relationships with outreach and extension staff at the University, college, and departmental levels to disseminate MAISRC research findings and support implementation in the field.
- Assist the Associate Director with the implementation of an effective development program including collaborating on donor engagement and cultivation opportunities.
- Coordinate MAISRC staff and local partners to plan and host public events, including tours of the MAISRC Containment Lab, MAISRC’s annual Research & Management Showcase conference, etc.
- Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of MAISRC’s outreach program to continuously improve outcomes over time.
Research Translation – 40%
- Initiate and develop reports, factsheets, research summaries, and white papers that synthesize research findings to provide accessible information and recommendations to state and local managers, as well as other stakeholders.
- Serve as the primary point of contact for research and management related inquiries from stakeholders and the general public. Conduct fact-finding and research to respond to email inquiries and serve as a resource to stakeholders on how to interpret research and frame complex AIS issues.
- Receive and prioritize requests for speakers from stakeholder and community groups. Coordinate internal communications and logistics to connect MAISRC research staff with speaking engagements that are relevant to their area of expertise and advance MAISRC’s mission to expand AIS knowledge and capacity within the state.
- Design, organize, and deliver workshops with relevant local, state, federal, and tribal AIS/natural resource managers to share research findings and recommendations.
- Contribute to MAISRC communications initiatives by working closely with the Communications Manager and research teams to make research results broadly accessible and contribute to the generation of visual and written content for the MAISRC website, newsletter, annual reports, etc.
Administration – 10%
- Contribute to overall MAISRC activities such as strategic planning, reporting, and budgeting.
- Keep current with developments in the fields of science communication, community relations, and stakeholder engagement, and apply to MAISRC outreach activities.
- Assist with other duties as needed (e.g. scheduling relevant meetings, drafting meeting minutes, ordering outreach related equipment/supplies).
- BA/BS plus at least 4 years of experience or a combination of related education and work experience to equal eight years
- Demonstrated experience in community outreach, building stakeholder networks, and translating research and technical content for a public audience
- Master’s degree in environmental science, natural resources, or related field
- Strong writing ability, particularly with scientific and/or dense technical information, and appreciation for the role of science communications
- Strong public speaking skills and the ability to connect with multiple audiences
- Experience with facilitating effective workshops, meetings, and/or trainings
- Ability to work independently with little supervision, seek solutions to complex problems, and perform as part of a team
- Strong interpersonal and internal communication skills
- Dependability, accuracy, and attention to detail in all aspects of work
- Excellent time management skills and ability to adapt in a quickly-changing environment
- Experience working with diverse populations
- Experience with project management and working with external contractors
- Experience planning and coordinating special events
- Knowledge of issues related to aquatic invasive species
- Cell phone that can be used, as needed, for work purposes - reimbursement is not provided
- Access to reliable transportation to/from off-campus locations for outreach events and activities
- Ability to accommodate a work schedule that includes some evenings and weekends. Evening and weekend hours will vary seasonally to meet the outreach needs of MAISRC and community stakeholders
This is a full time (1.0 FTE), non-exempt, Civil Service appointment. Salary will commensurate with experience. Estimated starting salary will be $65,000/year. Appointment includes all University of Minnesota benefits for Civil Service employees.
In-state travel will occasionally be necessary to perform the responsibilities of this position. When travel is necessary, mileage and per diem will be provided according to university policies.
MAISRC supports the University of Minnesota’s Work. With Flexibility approach. Work location options for this position include working partially remote or entirely in the office. Some in-state travel and on-site work will be necessary.
The University of Minnesota recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.
The University provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more, please visit the University's Office for Equity and Diversity webpage.
Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work at the University of Minnesota. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.
Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to report complete vaccinations against COVID-19 or submit documentation requesting a medical or religious exemption on their first day of employment. To learn more, please visit the University’s COVID-19 Response webpage.
To apply, please visit https://z.umn.edu/MAISRCHiring (Job ID# 355186). To be considered, all applications must be submitted online and include the following:
- Cover letter detailing interest and fit for the position
- Resume including relevant experience
- Three recent, professional references
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Review of applications will be ongoing and will begin on May 8. For questions about the position or application requirements, please contact MAISRC Associate Director, Cori Mattke at [email protected].