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Graduate Research Assistantship - Illinois Natural History Survey/PRI


Illinois Natural History Survey/ Prairie Research Institute


Research Assistantship



Description, Responsibilities, and Qualifications

Project Description

A Ph.D. Graduate Student Assistantship is available at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign starting in the Fall 2021 semester to explore the efficacy of innovative corn rootworm management practices for rotated corn in Illinois and Indiana. This project is part of a larger Corteva Agriscience-sponsored project evaluating futuristic & diverse approaches to enhance the sustainability of rootworm management in multiple Corn Belt states.

The student will work under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Spencer (Illinois Natural History Survey/UIUC), Dr. Nick Seiter (Department of Crop Sciences/UIUC), and Dr. Christian Krupke (Department of Entomology/Purdue University) and will work with other researchers and faculty at the University of Illinois as well as representatives of Corteva Agriscience. The home department of the successful applicant will be the Department of Crop Sciences at UIUC and must meet the minimum admission requirements for the Crop Sciences Graduate Program

Required Qualifications

  • Must apply ( and be accepted into the Crop Sciences Program ( at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Hold a valid driver's license (there will be travel between on-farm sites during the field seasons)
  • Have a strong work ethic and the ability to work safely and effectively in the field (alone and while supervising others)
  • Have the ability to work closely and communicate effectively with a diverse group of growers, students, and collaborators
  • Interest in application of integrated pest management principles in field crops
  • Interest in exploring use of aerial drones and other tools for pest monitoring
  • Must have a Master’s degree in Entomology, Biology, or a related field. Highly competitive applicants will have field or laboratory experience with insects or field crops. 
  • The successful applicant will need to be available to being work as an hourly employee during the Summer of 2021 and will transition to the RA position in the Fall.


This position includes a 50% research assistantship with a tuition waiver through the Department of Crop Sciences beginning in the Fall 2021 Semester (8/16/2021). The current monthly stipend for this assistantship is $2,220.24 plus tuition waiver. 

Application Procedure

For full consideration please email to Dr. Joseph Spencer at (Reference "Graduate Application" in subject line), and include your name on all attached files.  The successful applicant will be expected to formally apply to the Crop Sciences graduate program at UIUC.

  1.  A cover letter that explains your career goals, why you are interested in the position, and how you meet the qualifications listed above
  2. Unofficial transcripts
  3. A CV
  4. The names and contact information of three professional references
Contact Info

Contact Name

Dr. Joseph Spencer

Contact Email

Start Date

Monday, August 16, 2021