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Geoscience Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL) Technician, Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Job ID: 17105

Updated: December 11, 2018

Location: Main Campus

Position Overview

The Department of Geoscience in the Faculty of Science is currently seeking a Full-time Regular Geoscience Sample Processing Laboratory Technician.

The SPL technician provides technical support to faculty, students, other technical support staff, and external clients in the processing of geologic materials for teaching and research.  The SPL Technician's work varies from simple to moderately complex tasks, with significant attention to detail and a sense of craft sometimes required. The SPL technician reports to the Geoscience Technical Manager.

The work mainly involves the operation and maintenance of equipment that is used to process geologic samples in a variety of fashions (e.g. crushing/sieving samples into various size ranges, rock coring, rock cutting and polishing thin sections for slide mounting) for various types of subsequent analyses (e.g. microscope viewing, X-ray diffraction, geo/thermochronology lab, microprobe, among others). The SPL technician may also train personnel in some techniques.

Position Description

Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):

Laboratory operation and oversight

  • Oversee day-to-day operation of the equipment and laboratories including procurement of chemicals and supplies, repairs, and other laboratory services in liaison with the Department Technical Manager.
  • Ensure equipment is in good working order at all times by tracking its usage, performing calibration and repair as required (and keep records of the same).
  • Ensure safe and efficient practices are used.
  • Ensure cleanliness of facilities to minimize sample cross-contamination.
  • Establish and ensure fair access procedures for users, and ensure safe and efficient laboratory practices.
  • Maintain a database of services provided with the ability to provide information for billing purposes.

Rock processing services

  • Sample processing techniques commonly used in SPL can include thin sections, polished sections, grain mounts, fluid inclusion slides, polished slabs, feldspar stained sections and stained slabs, polished slabs, drilling core plugs, split core samples, vacuum impregnation of epoxy to accommodate fractured/permeable samples, use of techniques for water-sensitive samples, rock grinding/milling, rock digestions, grain size analysis with particle analyzers and sieve separation.
  • Research quality sample processing will be required, in consultation with users in some cases.
  • Cut and/or core prepared slabs (cut and rough polished) for undergraduate courses and research.
  • Development of specialized techniques may be required in consultation with researchers and instructors.

Student training/research support

  • Provide accurate and informed advice to faculty, undergraduate/graduate students and external users concerning processing methods and techniques, appropriate application thereof.
  • Provide appropriate instruction and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students and researchers on rock processing techniques and the correct and safe use of equipment, either one-on-one or small groups.
  • Ensure cleanliness is maintained at all times to minimize potential of contamination.

Safety and Compliance: 

  • Maintain a clean and safe work place.
  • Maintain user training records, chemical inventories in Chematix, hazard assessments, lab inspections, all equipment operating procedures and maintenance records. 
  • Remove non-hazardous waste in a timely fashion via university procedures.
  • Maintain standard operating procedures for all equipment and techniques.

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • Technical diploma and/or direct experience in a field that involves operating and maintaining equipment of a similar nature such as lapidary experience.
  • A good "sense-of-craft" is required, particularly in polishing thin sections.
  • Some equipment training will be provided, while other tasks can be learned through apprentice-type learning, self-directed learning, or in consultation with other experts.
  • As such, a demonstrated ability to become proficient using equipment by researching methodology and experimenting with procedures is required.
  • Mechanical aptitude with the knowledge and ability to carry-out basic repairs and maintain equipment (saws, drills, etc.).
  • Basic knowledge of rocks and minerals, and their physical properties, is an important asset to facilitate precise cutting and processing of rock samples without breakage.
  • Strong organizational skills, a collegial approach, and good communication and interpersonal skills to work with diverse clients.
  • Experience in working in a chemical laboratory setting is an asset. 

Application Deadline: This position will remain open until filled; however, applicants will be reviewed as they are received.

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

Additional Information

This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Technical Job Family, Phase II.

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website. For more information about the Faculty of Science visit Careers in the Faculty of Science.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.


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