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Food Pilot Plant Junior Specialist or Specialist

Food Pilot Plant Junior Specialist or Specialist – Food Science Pilot Processing Plant

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

WE TRANSFORM LIVES. Everything the College of ACES does is designed to improve the quality of life of the people in the state of Illinois, across the nation, and around the world. We discover, develop, translate, and disseminate knowledge to address societal concerns and train the next generation of experts and leaders in a way that empowers them to expand the boundaries of science to higher levels of understanding and influence.

Be a part of our story. The Food Science & Human Nutrition Pilot Processing Plant (FSHN-PPP) and the Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory (IBRL) are leading the way in food and bioprocessing research, teaching, and scale-up activities. Our facilities include over 60,000 sq. ft. of recently constructed and modernized pilot plant, laboratory, and collaborative space filled with over $15M in pilot-scale processing equipment. Our clients range from start-up businesses to Fortune 500 companies in addition to our work supporting major federal research grants, traditional classes, and continuing education opportunities for industry.

We are continually adding new capabilities to our program and are excited to build upon our excellent staff through a strategic hire with the following responsibilities:

  • Organize and perform the day-to-day research, operations, and safety oversight of the FSHN-PPP pilot plant, kitchen, and laboratory.  Prepare for research trials by students, faculty, and outside researchers. (25%)
  • Serve within a team of research specialists with overall responsibility for operating and maintaining all food and bioprocessing research equipment in facility. Ensure equipment is available and ready for use. (20%)
  • Provide expertise to faculty, students, and outside users performing research to ensure safe and successful use of facility equipment, including coordinating with outside contractors as necessary. (15%)
  • Assist with certain business functions including but not limited to: consumable supplies ordering, shipping, inventory tracking, and property accounting. (10%)
  • Implement technical training in the areas of equipment operation, safety, and research methodology/data analysis as it pertains to FSHN-PPP scale-up and testing. (5%)
  • Assist with research equipment and light facility repairs in the FSHN-PPP pilot plant, kitchen and laboratory.  Make recommendations for facility and equipment repairs, improvements, and upgrades. (5%)
  • Maintain FSHN-PPP to GMP standards.  Assist in creation of and enforce written operating and safety procedures for FSHN-PPP.  Participate in any inspections or audits as required. (5%)
  • Coordinate with other FSHN-PPP and IBRL technical specialists on activities in the facility.  Maintain general knowledge of procedures and equipment to serve as backup to other members on team. (5%)
  • Pursue ongoing professional development.  Stay abreast of developing processing technologies, industry product trends, and safety programs. (2.5%)
  • Represent FSHN-PPP at conferences, meetings, and other related activities as requested. (1.25%)
  • Serve as backup 24/7 emergency contact for Public Safety and Facilities & Services (1.25%)
  • Other duties as assigned (5%)

For a hire at the Specialist level there will be supervisory, scheduling and development roles within these duties.

Position Requirements and Qualifications



  • Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Biology, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Technical Systems Management, Food Science, or closely related field
  • For the Specialist level, knowledge and understanding of common food, chemical, and bioenergy industry processing techniques, GMPs, plant safety, and pilot scale processing equipment


  • For the Specialist level, Master’s degree in Chemistry, Biology, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Technical Systems Management, Food Science, or closely related field



  • 1+ years of work experience operating food, bioprocessing, or related equipment (3+ years for Specialist)
  • For the Specialist level, 3+ years of experience supervising and training others in an educational or production environment
  • Experience maintaining, troubleshooting, and repairing processing equipment
  • Knowledge of/experience with research principles, research methodology, and analyzing/interpreting research data
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills


  • 2+ years of experience working in a food or bioprocessing pilot-scale or production facility (5+ years for Specialist)
  • 1+ years of experience operating pasteurization, retort, spray drying, or extrusion equipment (2+ years for Specialist)
  • Experience in supervising and training others in an educational or manufacturing environment


Training, Licenses or Certifications:


  • Currently hold or ability to obtain a Certificate of Food Service Sanitation from the State of Illinois
  •  Driver’s License


Environmental Demands:

  • Ability to lift 50lbs
  • Ability to work in hot, cold, or wet environments or with equipment that is heated
  • Ability to stand, climb, or interact with equipment at various heights


Appointment Information

This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the closing date. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. Salary is commensurate with experience.


Application Procedures & Deadline Information

Applications must be received by 7:00 pm (CDT) on June 28, 2023. Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Jedi Brown at  For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.






The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing