College of Engineering’s ARI offers new job opportunities

The Illinois Applied Research Institute has begun its search for new employees beginning with a new director.

The institute was launched by the College of Engineering in August. Its offices are located at the University Research Park in the former Science Applications International Corporation building, while its laboratories will either be built within the research park or will be located in space shared with the University.

The institute has three employee at this time. William Dick is the director of operations, Brent Trenhaile is the senior research scientist, and Normand Paquin is the former assistant dean of research for the College of Engineering. The institute currently has no director, but it began the official search for one Tuesday. Dick said the ARI is looking for eight to 10 core employees by the end of June.

The purpose of the institute is to apply the basic understanding that is obtained from fundamental research to the world, Dick said.

“For graduate students, the institute will provide large opportunities for research internships,” he said. “There may also be some opportunity for research assistantships, but they would come along the research projects funded by the industry and the government research agencies.”

These internships will become available during the Spring semester of 2013 when the institute will start receiving projects from its future partners.

“The institute sees itself working with major corporations, small businesses in the local Champaign-Urbana area and government research agencies,” Dick said.

These major corporations include Lockheed Martin and SAIC.

Graduate students will find more then internships, but full-time opportunities at the ARI, Paquin said. Those who eventually decide to work elsewhere will have received the necessary credentials and experience from the ARI.

“The opportunity for students would be upon graduation,” said James William Bell, executive director for marketing and communications in the College of Engineering. “These jobs would be more available and significantly more of them would be within Champaign-Urbana.”

While the ARI seeks graduate students and professional employees, there will be a “substantial need for undergraduate research workers,” Dick said. There would be no curriculum or course work, similar to undergraduate job opportunities in laboratories and offices in engineering and physical science. These jobs will become available in the summer of 2013.

Dick said the applied research that will take place at the ARI will focus on technical and geographic opportunities such as combustion- and hydrogen-related energy.

Dick said the ARI will be funded by the College of Engineering and the University for the first five years, while the program costs will be paid by the research contracts.

“At the end of the third year, there will be a comprehensive review of the program — its strengths, its weakness and how far along it has gotten toward its goals,” he said. “Then we will decide whether to continue the institute and whether to tap campus resources to continue for the administration of the institute of the next two years.”

Jacqueline can be reached at [email protected]