Jobs North

Research Associate (Permafrost Hydrology)

Wilfrid Laurier University
February 14, 2022
Job Type
  • $81,883.00 /annually


Position Summary 

The Research Associate (Permafrost Hydrology) is responsible for providing research and administrative support, field and technical support, data analysis for Laurier’s Global Water Futures (GWF) research program, as well as the institution’s broader northern research portfolio, as identified by the leadership team within the Office of Research Services (ORS). The role is integral in ensuring that established project goals and institutional commitments are met through high-quality, evidence-based science, thus maximizing the research impact achieved. This position reports to the Manager, Research Partnerships in the ORS, with the principal investigators (PIs, Laurier faculty members) of the identified research projects providing day-to-day direction. The Research Associate’s duties include preparing for and conducting field work in locations through the Northwest Territories (NWT), in collaboration with Laurier faculty, students, and occasionally external partners, providing technical and logistical support for field work, and other tasks related to the field-level support of Laurier’s northern research portfolio. The incumbent interacts with a multitude of internal stakeholders, and potentially institutional partners and community stakeholders, for specific projects. As such, working with a high degree of professionalism, and exercising sound judgement and discretion in the performance of duties are important soft skills for this role.

This position is based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Please note there is option to be based on site for the duration of the contract or travel 4-5 times to the Yellowknife location from another location in Canada over the duration of the contract.

The incumbent will assist in the co-ordination of and will participate directly in project planning and field-level assessments at various Northern locations. This position will be required to travel and participate in field work that is expected to occur a few times per year. This may include two weeks of time in remote locations each travel period.


Global Water Futures (GWF) is a multi-institutional research program that is funded in part by a $77.8-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). The overarching goal of the program is to deliver risk management solutions - informed by leading-edge water science and supported by innovative decision-making tools - to manage water futures in Canada and other cold regions where global warming is changing landscapes, ecosystems, and the water environment. As a core GWF partner, Laurier researchers lead several multi-year research projects situated throughout the Northwest Territories; the institution employs several Research Associates to support the research goals and commitments outcomes. A key aspect of this position is to provide permafrost expertise and to consider the interactions between permafrost and water systems across the NWT.

Research and Administrative Support:

  • Support principal investigators (PIs) and their research teams in shaping and designing project goals and long term objectives and actions;
  • Engage/liaise with community members and partner organizations (academic, government, Indigenous government and communities) in collaborative projects, with direction and guidance from PIs;
  • Assist in preparing annual reports, presentations, manuscripts for peer review, proposals and budgets relating to NWT focused Global Water Futures (GWF) projects;
  • Collaborate with other research associates, PIs, etc., on various aspects of GWF as well as with other intersecting laboratories at Laurier and partner organizations; and
  • Option to engage in outreach activities on Laurier’s behalf, including giving talks on Laurier research initiatives across the territory, engage with First Nations groups, schools and NGOs.

Field Research and Technical Support:

  • Provide logistical and technical support for GWF researchers conducting permafrost studies in key regions of the NWT, linking to integrated observations of changes in climate, snow, vegetation, lakes and streams in order to consider environmental and water resource changes related to a warming climate, as well as to infrastructure and resource development
  • Maintain, operate, and/or install field instrumentation and conduct field work for sample collection, both independently and with PIs and collaborating partners, including community members and partnering institutions, using a wide combination of methods including (but not limited to): surface energy balance stations, temperature sensors, ground probing and drilling, water level sensors and stream gauging, unmanned aerial vehicles, and geophysical methods such as ground penetrating radar and ground resistivity methods
  • Laboratory work could include analysis of soil and peat samples (at partner facilities);
  • Support undergraduate and graduate students, and partnership members undertaking field research, specifically with respect to field collection techniques in seasonal conditions;
  • Maintain high degree of consideration for self and team safety in extreme field environments.

Data Analysis and Modelling:

  • Organize, structure, and summarize collected data, in the form of spreadsheets, databases, and reports using appropriate software;
  • Assist in data analysis and data pre-processing;
  • Assist in analyzing data output from permafrost hydrology models
  • Work closely with GWF project PIs to ensure data privacy, using appropriate platforms for data management, etc.


  • MSc or PhD in geographical and/or geophysical sciences, preferably with extensive research experience on permafrost and hydrology, modelling and/or related fields of study,
  • At least two (2) years’ experience working in a comparable research environment with demonstrated understanding of multi-disciplinary projects in permafrost environments;
  • Experienced with planning and executing complex, interdisciplinary research programs in remote and logistically challenging regions of the NWT;
  • Proven ability to work in a team environment with PIs, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as other scientists, partner organizations and community members;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, ability to positively interact and work with internal colleagues and external collaborators, members of communities and partner organizations;
  • Efficient use of Excel and Word and uses various permafrost and hydrological related models and software;
  • Experience in computer modeling and coding experience an asset (e.g. R, Matlab)
  • Detail oriented, independent, resourceful, innovative, flexible, accessible;
  • Experience and confidence in field-based work with preference for remote locations or northern environments;
  • Interest in and ability to work and live in remote areas in the north for periods of time (weeks);
  • Demonstrated experience in data management an asset;
  • Experience in writing lab reports and research papers, and making presentations;
  • Previous publications, authorship of policy papers and other research dissemination an asset;
  • A valid G driver’s license is required and willingness to travel and work in northern locations;
  • Willingness to operate snowmobiles, ATVs, and/or small boats in field environments.


$81,883.00 annual salary inclusive of a $10,000 premium for residing in the Northwest Territories.

$71,833.00 annual salary for location elsewhere in Canada.

Hours of Work:

The normal hours of work while in the office are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Flexibility in hours will be required, including evening and/or weekend work and longer hours per week (44 hrs/week baseline) dictated by preparation for field work, conducting field work and/or requirements for meetings in remote northern locations. It is expected that this irregular schedule would occur for a few consecutive days, or up to 1-2 weeks at a time, possibly 3-4 times per year or more.

This is a full-time, limited term position until August 31, 2023.

Wilfrid Laurier University endeavors to fill positions with qualified candidates who have a combination of education, experience, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position while demonstrating Laurier's Employee Success Factors.

Equity, diversity and creating a culture of inclusion are part of Laurier’s core values and central to the Laurier Strategy. Laurier is committed to increasing the diversity of faculty and staff and welcomes applications from candidates who identify as Indigenous, racialized, having disabilities, and from persons of any minority sexual and gender identities. Indigenous candidates who would like to learn more about equity and inclusive programing at Laurier are welcomed to contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. Candidates from other equity deserving groups who would like to learn more about equity and inclusive programing at Laurier are welcomed to contact Equity & Accessibility. We have strived to make our application process accessible, however if you require any assistance applying for a position or would like this job posting in an alternative format, please contact Human Resources. Contact information can be found at

Should you be interested in learning more about this opportunity, please visit for additional information and the online application system. All applications must be submitted online. Please note, a CV and letter of introduction will be required in electronic form.

Company Info

Wilfrid Laurier University is a leading multi-campus university that excels at educating with purpose. Through its exceptional employees, students, researchers, leaders, and educators, Laurier has built a reputation as a world-class institution known for its rich student experience, academic excellence, and global impact. With a commitment to Indigenization and commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, Laurier’s thriving community has a place for everyone.

Laurier has more than 19,000 students and 2,100 faculty and staff across campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, as well as locations in Kitchener and Toronto. The university is committed to providing an inclusive workplace and employing a workforce that is reflective of local and national demographics. Our locations are situated on the traditional territories of the Neutral, Anishnawbe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. We recognize the unique heritages of Indigenous peoples and support their intentions to preserve and express their distinctive Indigenous cultures, histories, and knowledge through academic programming and co-curricular activities. Laurier’s Centre for Indigegogy is one example of how Laurier honours Indigenous knowledge.

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