Research Assistant (Lake Sampling/Hydrology)

IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA)

Kenora, ON, CA

IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. It features a collection of 58 small lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada. For over 50 years, scientists at IISD-ELA have conducted whole-ecosystem experiments and made significant scientific discoveries related to issues such as acid rain, mercury from air pollution, algal blooms and pharmaceutical chemicals in water systems. The facility is operated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development—an independent think tank headquartered in Winnipeg.

IISD-ELA acknowledges that the research facility is located on Treaty Three lands, and the care of these lands during experimentation and restoration to their original state is implicit in its mission. Many local schools in the region come to the facility to learn more about the science of aquatic ecosystems and how humans serve a role in sharing and working with one another to protect these resources.

The unique nature of the IISD-ELA facility and our whole-ecosystem approach to freshwater science provides an opportunity to deliver a different kind of educational programming and community outreach for a wide variety of audiences. IISD-ELA aims to inspire and train the general public and the next generation of research scientists, providing a platform for science education and innovation.

The Research Assistant will be involved in data collection for whole-ecosystem experiments and a long-term ecological monitoring program. The Lake Sampling/Hydrology program is responsible for the collection of water quality and biota samples from numerous research and long-term monitoring lakes and streams at the ELA, as well as the collection of meteorological data. The Research Assistant will work with other technical staff at the ELA to ensure research and facility operations are conducted and completed on a daily basis. The incumbent may also assist with data analysis and data entry. 


  • Operating various field vehicles (all-terrain vehicles, trucks, vans) on highways and gravel roads.
  • Using a variety of watercraft, including boats with outboard motors and canoes.
  • Collecting samples and data for a variety of limnological and hydrological parameters (physical, chemical).
  • Collecting samples and performing daily checks for the meteorological station.
  • Constructing/installing/maintaining field equipment as needed.
  • Downloading data from various data-logging devices.
  • Completing detailed and accurate field notes.
  • Entering data into databases (including Microsoft Excel and Access).
  • Occasionally, may be required to assist other field crews (fish, zooplankton, autotrophic ecology). 


  • Enrollment in a university or college program leading to a degree in biology, environmental sciences or another field of study relevant to freshwater research.
  • Work experience in environmental sciences or hydrology is an asset.
  • Knowledge of field sampling/water quality sampling is an asset.
  • Experience with meteorological instruments or meteorological data.
  • Experience operating small motorized vessels with an outboard motor and all-terrain vehicles is an asset.
  • Keen and hard-working individual.
  • Ability to do fieldwork involving manual labour such as hiking and lifting heavy objects (up to 50 lbs).
  • Willing to work long hours in diverse conditions (e.g. hot, cold, rain, snow, buggy).
  • Ability to work safely in a remote field environment that requires flexibility and teamwork.
  • Interested/willing to live in a remote location for up to 4–6 months (weekends excluded).
  • Willing to live in shared accommodations.
  • Organizational skills are an asset.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Access and Excel is an asset.
  • ATV training certification/experience is an asset.
  • Ability to speak French and/or Ojibwa is considered an asset.

 Possess or be willing to obtain a valid:

  • First Aid/CPR certificate
  • Pleasure Craft Operators Card
  • Valid criminal record check and vulnerable sector verification
  • Valid driver’s licence

Work Conditions: Room and board while at ELA are provided, including laundry facilities. Shuttle vans are available to transport people to/from the camp each week (to Winnipeg or Kenora), or the individual may decide to remain on site. More information about the IISD Experimental Lakes Area organization and the ELA research facility can be found at

Term: 4 months (starting May 4, 2020) with the possibility of extension for an additional 2–4 months. Please indicate on your application whether you are available for 4, 6 or 8 months.

Compensation: $577–$650/week based on the number of years of school completed.

Application deadline: February 17, 2020, 9:00 a.m. CST

To apply for this position, please visit to submit your resume and cover letter. Short-listed applicants will be invited to conduct a one-way video interview as part of the selection process, followed by an in-person interview or phone interview, depending on the location of the applicant. Please note that you will be contacted during the recruitment process only if selected to move onto the next stage. However, all applicants will be notified once the recruitment is closed. 

IISD-ELA is committed to equal opportunity. Candidates must hold appropriate work authorization for Canada. Only those candidates we wish to interview will be contacted.

Accommodations for job applicants with disabilities are available on request. Please contact [email protected].ca