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Life Cycle Assessment Specialist ~ Research Scientist 3 - Job ID 61364

*This position may be located at one of the MPCA office locations: Duluth, Brainerd, St. Paul, Rochester, Detroit Lakes, Marshall or Mankato.

**This position has the ability to offer a flexible work arrangement that allows a hybrid schedule (both in office location and/or telework).

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Job Summary
(This vacancy is being reposted. If you applied during the original posting period (12/10/22 - 01/03/23) you do not need to reapply as you are already under consideration.)

The work will include adapting existing open-source models and performing life cycle assessments (LCA), equilibrium, and simulation modeling to develop an integrated framework capable of quantifying and visualizing environmental impacts of different material and product scenarios. The position will also include synthesizing quantitative results to provide insights about different land management scenarios.

Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a discipline and methodology for quantifying and evaluating the environmental and climate impacts of a product, material, process, or activity. An LCA can provide valuable, comprehensive data for assessing a range of impacts across the full life cycle of a product system, from materials acquisition to manufacturing, use, and final disposition. LCA studies identify key materials and processes within products' life cycles that are likely to pose the greatest threats, promoting responsible design, redesign, and management of items and processes to reduce overall environmental impacts and reduce use and release of more toxic materials. These assessments enable organizations to make changes and improvements for greater sustainability.

The primary purpose of this position is to lead LCA research and analysis for a broad range of materials and products and direct research projects aimed at reducing resource needs and environmental harms of high-impact items. In conducting these studies and related environmental research and analysis, this position is responsible for developing the research procedures and techniques associated with determining the life cycle impacts of a product or material and making management recommendations. The secondary purpose is to serve as the Resource Management and Assistance Division’s (RMAD) technical expert on LCA. In this capacity, the position is responsible for identifying and recommending actions to address areas within the LCA that contribute significant environmental impacts, aligning with data-driven interventions and strategies.

Minimum Qualifications
A Master’s degree in Sustainability/Sustainable Design, Engineering, Natural Resources Management, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Industrial Ecology, Sustainable Development, or related fields.

Minimum of two years of experience modeling the life cycle impacts of materials and products, including familiarity with methods of quantifying all the resource inputs and subsequent waste and pollution outputs for each life cycle phase of an item (i.e., material extraction, transportation, manufacturing processes, use, disposal, etc.)

Experience with LCA modeling software and ability to learn new software as it becomes available.

Ability to support the establishment of coherent LCA models and the creation of new underlying LCA databases.

Ability to design and implement methods of normalizing data sets across all units of measurement and data analysis.

Ability to analyze and interpret several environmental indicators related to the resource inputs and subsequent waste and pollution outputs in an LCA such as greenhouse gas emissions and human toxicity.

Demonstrated leadership in task or project leadership and management of LCA projects.
Strong communication and collaboration skills with the ability to relay technical information in order to best partner with internal staff and external partners.

Preferred Qualifications
Certification in LCA modeling and analysis.

Strong background in environmental engineering, toxicology, material flows and systems, or product design and development.

Experience evaluating and interpreting scientific data with database implementation, modeling, statistics, and quality assurance.

Experience coding in Python, R, or Julia, with the ability to write code to support development of methods and models. Experience in other programming languages with demonstrated initiative and capability to quickly learn Julia, Python, or R may also apply.

Ability to summarize results and findings and provide visuals for reports, and present technical information to a wide range of audiences that have varying technical expertise at conferences and other events.

Robust analytical skills and demonstrated ability to apply theoretical concepts to a real-world situation.

Demonstrated ability to grasp new concepts, develop new skills, and work independently.

Physical Requirements
Must be able to travel. May require occasionally lifting and/or carrying such articles as file folders, ledgers, and small office equipment.

Additional Requirements
A driver’s license is an essential function of this position. This requires possession of an unrestricted Class D Driver’s License. The job offer is contingent on confirmation of a valid driver’s license AND a satisfactory DLR check.

Requires a Class D Driver's License: a single unit vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of less than 26,000 pounds. This is a basic driver's license. Operators may also tow vehicles/trailers as long as the gross combination weight does not exceed 26,000 pounds.