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Research Hydrogeohemist

Date: April, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): David Blowes
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Department: Earth Sciences


Main Campus - EIT 5004


35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Groundwater Geochemistry and Remediation Group (GGR) in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo is a collection of dynamic individuals led by David Blowes and Carol Ptacek who are committed to advancing understanding of the fate, transport, and remediation of dissolved metals, metalloids and nutrients in groundwater.  This research includes detailed field investigations, laboratory studies, development of reactive barriers and other passive remedial solutions, and development of mathematical models to predict the complex geochemical behavior of these systems.  The UWaterloo research team consists of approximately 30 individuals including research staff, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students.  The research team works in close collaboration with several individuals and research teams across Canada and internationally in both academic and government organizations.  In addition, the research team maintains partnerships with a number of Canadian and international mining and industrial sector companies.  The Research Hydrogeochemist is accountable to the Principal Investigator, and will work collaboratively with a team of internal stakeholders (the Principal Investigator, co-investigators, research staff and students) toward achieving major project objectives and contributing to the ongoing growth of the research program.  Responsibilities will include: managing the operation and maintenance of sophisticated analytical instruments; publication of primary research articles; supporting students and post-doctoral fellows in the laboratory; the continual improvement of the laboratory safety management plan; select administrative duties such as billing and grant writing; and developing/implementing experimental protocols.  This job was created to ensure the objectives of the GGR research program could be met by hiring personnel with extensive experimental and analytical experience to provide continuity and support for students and post-doctoral fellows.

Key Accountabilities:


Contribution to the non-traditional stable isotope research program

  • Operation and maintenance of analytical instrumentation, including but not limited to a multi-collector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometer, high-resolution inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometer, and other analytical instruments
  • Troubleshoot and repair instrument breakages
  • Analyze samples, including purification (e.g. Cr, Zn, etc.)
  • Develop and implement laboratory methods for purification and analysis of samples for non-traditional stable isotope measurements
  • Support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the pursuit of similar activities


Development and execution of laboratory experiments

  • Conduct laboratory experiments
  • Carry out analyses at synchrotron facilities
  • Prepare research papers based on results for submission to peer-reviewed journals
  • Present results both internally and externally (e.g. conferences, workshops)
  • Support graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the pursuit of similar activities


Contribution to the overall management of an advanced geochemistry laboratory

  • Develop and implement laboratory-wide safety procedures and training protocols
  • Participate in select administrative duties (e.g. analytical billing)
  • Assist in the preparation of grant applications

Position Requirements


MSc in Environmental Chemistry, Earth Science or a related discipline


3+ years of experience.


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Yes Yes Yes SigmaPlot

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Presentation skills, communication, working in a group, frequent meetings and interaction with co-workers  

Level of Responsibility:

Leadership, training

Decision-Making Authority:

Primarily independent decision-making, regular communication with Principal Investigator (In-person and via email) for direction and priorities.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Attention to detail, varied work, time management, deadline pressures, demand for thoroughness and accuracy

Working Environment:

Office based, laboratory based, clean room environment, loud environment, occasional travel