Research Assistant (Lake Sampling/Chemistry)

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. The facility is operated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development—an independent think tank headquartered in Winnipeg. 

IISD-ELA acknowledges that our research facility is located on Treaty Three lands and the care of these lands during experimentation and restoration to 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. Full room and board will be provided at the IISD-ELA facility, as well as travel to and from the facility (to Winnipeg or Kenora) on weekends. The Research Assistant (Chemistry) will be involved with data collection for whole-ecosystem experiments and for our long-term ecological monitoring program. 


  • Assisting with the analysis of samples from IISD-ELA lakes including:
    • Preparation and analysis of samples for nutrients, ions and other aquatic analytes using auto analyzers, spectrophotometers, fluorometers, chromatographs and various analytical devices
    • Entering data into databases (LIMS, Microsoft Excel, Access, etc.)
    • Assisting with the collection of samples in the field
    • Performing QA/QC protocols to ensure the quality of IISD-ELA data.
  • Operate various field vehicles (all-terrain vehicles, trucks, vans) on highways and gravel roads.
  • Use a variety of watercraft, including boats with outboard motors and canoes.
  • Collect samples and data for a variety of limnological, hydrological, meteorological and chemical parameters.
  • Download data from various data-logging devices.
  • Complete detailed and accurate field notes.
  • Enter data into databases (LIMS, Microsoft Excel, Access, etc.).
  • Communicate and interact with IISD-ELA staff, collaborators and the public to provide specific advice and general education about environmental issues.
  • Other duties as assigned.

 Required Skills & Qualifications:

  • Currently enrolled in a university or college program leading to a degree in biology, environmental sciences, chemistry or another field of study relevant to freshwater research.
  • 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.
  • Keen and hard-working individual who can work independently and as part of a team.
  • Must possess or be willing to obtain certifications that are valid for the duration of the work term:
    • First Aid/CPR certificate
    • Pleasure Craft Operators Card
    • Driver’s licence.
  • IISD-ELA will require the completion of criminal record and child abuse registry checks.

Asset Skills & Qualifications:

  • Work experience in the field of aquatic chemistry.
  • Work experience in environmental sciences or hydrology.
  • Knowledge of meteorology and field sampling/water quality sampling.
  • Knowledge of analytical methods for the determination of concentrations of nutrients, ions or other aquatic analytes in aquatic samples.
  • Knowledge of sample analysis methodologies using auto analyzers, spectrophotometers, fluorometers, chromatographs and various analytical devices.
  • Experience operating small motorized vessels with an outboard motor and all-terrain vehicles.
  • Knowledge of QA/QC protocols.
  • Organizational skills.
  • ATV training certification/experience.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Access and Excel.
  • Ability to speak French and/or Ojibwa.

The contract is for a full-time term position of 4 or 6 or 8 months (depending on availability) beginning May 4, 2020.

To apply for this position, please visit the online posting and submit your application through the online portal:  

All submissions must be in English.

Closing date: Monday, February 17, 2020, 9:00 a.m. CST

IISD-ELA is committed to equal opportunity. Candidates must hold appropriate work authorization for Canada.

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




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