Day: March 19, 2019

Job announcement: Strategic Content Specialist, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Prairie Research Institute (PRI), a research and service institute of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign centrally located between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, 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 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. Learn more at

PRI is seeking to hire a Strategic Content Specialist to develop plans for and carry out strategic marketing and communications solutions to effectively reach Prairie Research Institute’s (PRI’s) internal and external stakeholders.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

Content Creation

  • Write and edit content (including media releases, website content, newsletters, printed materials, etc.) that effectively conveys the PRI story to diverse audiences.
  • Create social media campaigns, schedules, graphics, and posts, and track social media metrics.
  • Ensure high quality, scientific accuracy, and appropriate voice and tone of all content.

Communication Planning and Development

  • Identify develop content strategies for PRI and its major units/programs based on organization’s strategic priorities and audience analysis.
  • Advise teams within PRI on content strategy.

Communication Management

  • Build and maintain relationships with PRI staff, including timely and effective communication about project requirements, deliverables, and timelines.


  • Analyze and measure effectiveness and impact of communication efforts.


  • Perform other duties as needed in order to further the mission and goals of PRI.
  • Keep abreast of trends, techniques, and tools in strategic communication, marketing, advancement, social media, and other relevant areas.


Required:   Bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, marketing, English/rhetoric, or a related discipline.  One (1) year of experience managing social media for an organization. Experience writing articles, social media posts, press releases, etc.

Preferred:  Experience working in a university or non-profit setting.  Experience writing about archaeology, geology, sustainability, and/or the natural world, or other scientific topics.

Successful candidates will have effective communication, personal relations, collaboration, organization, teamwork, 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.  Attention to detail, sound judgment, and strong conflict resolution skills.  Proficiency in commonly employed software.

Appointment:  This is a full-time Civil Service Marketing Associate position appointed on a 12 month service basis. The starting date is negotiable and salary is commensurate with experience.

Application: Applications must be received by April 2, 2019. Apply for this position using the “Apply for Position” below.  If you have not applied before, you must create your candidate profile at  If you already have a profile, you will be redirected to that existing profile via email notification.  To complete the application process:

Step 1) Submit the Staff Vacancy Application.

Step 2) Submit the Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability forms.

Step 3) Upload your cover letter, resume (months and years of employment must be included), and academic credentials (unofficial transcripts or diploma may be acceptable) and names/contact information for three references.

In order to be considered as a transfer candidate, you must apply for this position using the “Apply for Position” button here. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, contact Megan Weeks at  or 217-244-4768.  For questions about the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

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

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

Arizona State University released a free sci-fi anthology about the future of solar power

Read the full story from The Verge.

Over the last couple of years, organizations and companies have begun to look at science fiction in ways that go beyond mere entertainmentwith writers and thinkers pointing out that genre stories can be used as a practical tool to imagine optimistic futures. One such organization is Arizona State University, which recently released an anthology that imagined the future of solar power.

The Weight of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures is about “exploring human futures powered by solar energy,” and is part of a broader publishing program from the University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, which has released similar anthologies about optimistic futures in space and climate change since 2011. The Weight of Light is free to download in ePubHTMLiBook, and Mobi formats from the Center’s site.


Trader Joe’s listens to customer feedback, making big changes

Read the full story at SFGATE.

Tucked inside Trader Joe’s February edition of the Fearless Flyer, among the new items and seasonal promotions, was a “not-so confidential memo” to customers.

The grocery chain announced it will be taking more steps to reduce plastic and other packaging waste. As people become more conscious about reducing their plastic consumption, Trader Joe’s was facing mounting criticism for an “overuse of packaging,” especially in the produce section.

Get Off My Lawn

Read the full story in The Atlantic.

How a small group of activists (our correspondent among them) got leaf blowers banned in the nation’s capital


Pigeons With Tiny Backpacks Are Gathering Climate Data Now

Read the full story in Gizmodo.

Steadfast pigeon defenders have something new to crow about: The oft-maligned birds may be scientists’ latest tool in combating air pollution and tracking climate change.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom have developed a tiny set of sensors that can be strapped onto the backs of pigeons. Rick Thomas, the research fellow who leads the project, uses the birds to collect data on urban microclimates—the block-by-block variations in temperature, humidity, and winds that affect living conditions in major cities.

She Invented a Board Game With Scientific Integrity. It’s Taking Off.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

How Elizabeth Hargrave turned a passion for ornithology and spreadsheets into a popular game about birds.

Pesticides influence ground-nesting bee development and longevity

Read the full story from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Results from a new study suggest that bees might be exposed to pesticides in more ways than we thought, and it could impact their development significantly. The study looks at the non-target effects of pesticides on ground-nesting bees, a group that actually makes up the majority of bee species.

Study: Impact of food waste campaigns muted, but point toward right direction

Food waste campaigns are a low-cost way to curb waste at all-you-can-eat dining establishments, but they may need to be combined with other environmental changes to make a difference, says new research co-written by Brenna Ellison, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

New ‘hotspots’ tool pinpoints unsustainable consumption and production

Read the full story from U.N. Environment.

UN Environment launched in March 2019 a new tool that allows countries to see “hotspots” of unsustainable practices in consumption and production.

The tool, known as the Sustainable Consumption and Production Hotspots Analysis Tool, is an online application that analyses the environmental and socio-economic performance of 171 countries over the past 25 years to provide scientific evidence of areas where improvement can be made.

Making The Case For Building To Zero Carbon

Download the document.

CaGBC’s “Making The Case For Building To Zero Carbon” report demonstrates definitively that Zero Carbon Buildings offer meaningful greenhouse gas reductions and positive financial returns. Specifically, the study, a first of its kind in Canada, shows that Zero Carbon Buildings provide a positive financial return over a 25-year life-cycle, inclusive of carbon pollution pricing, and requiring only a modest capital cost premium.

Critically, the study shows that Zero Carbon Buildings can be built today and that operating cost savings will cover the needed investment. Furthermore, as the cost of carbon rises over time, the business case for Zero Carbon Buildings grows stronger. The economic case for Zero Carbon Buildings is reinforced over time with the rising cost of carbon, increased resiliency, and by avoiding costs such as future retrofits.

As seen in the infographic below, the report looked at a full range of building archetypes – low-rise office, mid-rise office, low-rise multi-unit residential, mid-rise multi-unit residential, primary schools, big box retail and warehouses in the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. CaGBC’s study is further confirmation that Zero Carbon Buildings are technically feasible and financially viable.

The “Making The Case For Building To Zero Carbon” report was developed with financial contributions from Natural Resources Canada, The National Research Council, Public Services and Procurement Canada, The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, REALPAC, the Government of Nova Scotia and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.



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