Job vacancy

Research Programmer

Illinois Natural History Survey

Prairie Research Institute

University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) has been the guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois—the state's biological memory. With a staff of over 200 scientists and technicians, INHS is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation. The mission of INHS is to investigate and document the biological resources of Illinois and other areas, and to acquire and provide natural history information that can be used to promote the common understanding, conservation, and management of these resources. INHS part of the Prairie Research Institute (PRI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, which is centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. PRI houses five large scientific surveys covering a wide range of expertise including biology, water resources, climate, geology, sustainable technology, and archaeology. PRI’s mission is to provide objective, integrated scientific research and service, in cooperation with other academic and research units of the University of Illinois and elsewhere, that allow citizens and decision‐makers to make choices that ensure sustainable economic development, enduring environmental quality, and cultural resource preservation for the people, businesses, and governments of Illinois.

INHS is seeking to hire a Research Programmer to maintain a MySQL pipeline that imports, exports and curates the core data aggregated into the Catalogue of Life. This position is based in Champaign, Illinois.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Use SQL to migrate data from flat formats to federated, relational databases, including aspects of merging, correcting, cleaning, annotating, resolving conflicts, formatting, and enhancement (e.g. semantics) of the data.
  • Format data to meet biodiversity informatics data formats, for example Darwin Core Archive
  • ( and CoL Data Submission Format
  • (‐your‐data).
  • Identify and communicate potential routes to optimizing current and future migrations.
  • Work as a liaison between the CoL editor, dataset providers, and software developers.
  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of PRI.
  • Keep abreast of developments in this discipline.

Qualifications: Required: Bachelor's degree in computer, information or data science. Alternate degree fields will be considered/accepted depending on the nature and depth of the experience as it relates to this position.

Proficiency with SQL, including ability to manipulate, merge, transform, and compare data. Intermediate experience with MySQL. Well documented, demonstrable equivalent experience in alternative SQL dialects, e.g. PostgreSQL will be considered. Understanding of data transformation pipelines within a scripting environment. Successful applicant must be creative and self‐motivated with the ability to work independently and as a part of the team. Effective communication, personal relations, organizational, and leadership skills.

Demonstrated ability to perform effectively in a diverse and fast‐paced work environment consisting of multiple and changing priorities with stringent deadlines, under minimal supervision. Sound judgment and strong conflict resolution skills. Knowledge of SQL, including ability to manipulate, merge, transform, and compare data. Intermediate knowledge of MySQL.

Preferred: Master's degree in computer, information or data science. Strong MySQL experience. Intermediate experience coding one or more modern programming languages. Basic experience with Git and Github including making pull requests, filing issues, and communicating within online communities. Demonstrated ability to cross‐walk technical domains (e.g. act as a conduit between biologists and computer scientists or application developers). Demonstrated commitment to open‐source principles, practices, and communities. Basic knowledge of Git and Github. Intermediate knowledge of one or more modern programming languages.

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

This is a full time, academic professional grant supported 12‐month position subject to the continued availability of funding and programmatic need. The starting date is negotiable after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience. Generous vacation and sick leave. State Universities Retirement System. Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.

Applications must be received by March 4, 2018. To apply, all candidates must submit an online profile through Qualified candidates must upload a letter detailing qualifications noted above, curriculum vitae, and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and e‐mail addresses of three professional references. All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered.

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. For further information, please contact Hannah Dorsey in Human Resources at

For technical questions regarding this position, please contact: Dmitry Dmitriev,

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 To learn more about the University’s commitment to diversity,
please visit