Characterization Applications/Research Specialist

ENG NanoFab

Competition No.  -    S107448667
Posting Date  -    Sep 23, 2022
Closing Date  -    Will remain open until filled.
Position Type  -    Full Time - Grant Funded
Salary Range  -    $62,866 to $87,009 per year
Grade  -    10
Hours  -    37.5

This position is a part of the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).

This position has a term length of 2 years with a possibility of extension and offers a comprehensive benefits package which can be viewed on our Benefits Overview page.

Location: Work primarily takes place at North Campus, Edmonton.

Working for the University of Alberta 

The University of Alberta acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community.

The University of Alberta is teeming with change makers, community builders, and world shapers who lead with purpose each and every day. We are home to more than 40,000 students in 200+ undergraduate and 500+ graduate programs, over 13,000 faculty and staff, 260,000 alumni worldwide and have been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for over a decade.

Your work will have a meaningful influence on a fascinating cross section of people—from our students and stakeholders, to our renowned researchers and innovators who are quite literally curing diseases, making discoveries and generating solutions that make the world healthier, safer, stronger, and more just.

How to Apply:

Please apply with the below documents

  • Resume and cover letter as one document (PDF preferred)
  • References
  • A portfolio of project descriptions, outlining your hands on contribution, technical experience, role and outcomes, related to the required characterization tools outlined in the qualifications.

Department Summary

The University of Alberta nanoFAB, is a $100M open-access technical service facility, catering to micro/nano scale fabrication and characterization needs As a trust-funded unit of the Faculty of Engineering it strives for administrative and financial sustainability. The nanoFAB caters to a diverse group of researchers and companies working in sensors, photonics, biotechnology, energy, materials and quantum, all utilizing micro and nano scale fabrication and characterization techniques. The nanoFAB supports a community that consists of greater than 300 academic and industrial groups and over 800 individual users. The mission of the nanoFAB is to empower researchers and companies to create new technologies through building and seeing at the smallest scales. This position is for candidates interested in working in a dynamic group, utilizing and developing skills to deliver the very best our equipment and process have to offer to reserchers and companies, to support their academic and commercial journeys.

The nanoFAB maintains two research and application groups: 1. Fabrication and 2. Characterization, each led by a Group Manager. This position is within the Characterization group, responsible for delivering on the development, fee-for-service, collaboration, and training mandate of the nanoFAB to meet the research and development objectives of the community it serves. As a member of the group you will be responsible for developing and expanding the micro/nano characterization capabilities, application and development within the nanoFAB to support outcomes to a wide variety of academic researchers and industrial clients, all supporting the overall strategic and financial sustainability mission of the nanoFAB.

Position Summary

The primary responsibility of the Characterization Applications/Research Specialist is the independent management and oversight of characterization capabilities, equipment, procedures, and policies in providing technical and developmental expertise that enables the nanoFAB to support the needs of its academic and industrial client community. The specific characterization capabilities and tools will include Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-Ray Microscopy, Focused Ion Beam, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, X-Ray Diffraction, other spectroscopy techniques and a variety of related materials analysis capabilities. For more information about the nanoFAB visit our website ( and for greater detail on our equipment, visit our Knowledge Base (

Duties include the independent operation, technical oversight and expertise, development, diagnostics optimization, calibration, documentation, safety management, initial troubleshooting, and basic maintenance of equipment, and associated hardware/software systems for data analysis, supporting all aspects of utilization, service, collaboration, and training. The incumbent leads the evaluation and interpretation of collected data, suggests further technical directions, and provides advice and guidance on special techniques, to achieve the outcomes required by nanoFAB clients. This position is also responsible for the independent planning, execution, and documentation of new tool and process installations, commissioning, and upgrades,as well as recommending changes to drive operational efficiencies. The incumbent also provides educational support services for technical courses offered through the nanoFAB, and contributes to fee-for-service projects as required. This position is the primary technical contact for all operational support on assigned tools and is expected to lead technical conversations and evaluations with clients, vendors, colleagues and service technicians. This position also has a secondary focus in supporting the administrative management of the nanoFAB, demonstrating leadership via contributions to various non-technical initiatives.


Given the nature, uniqueness, scale, and scope of the nanoFAB, all tools, processes, and procedures are managed independently. This position is highly independent, with little day-to-day oversight in scheduling, managing, developing, deploying, documenting, upgrading, and maintaining safely all technical aspects of assigned capabilities within the nanoFAB. 

  • Manages and independently provides technical competency in planning and executing technical service and training support of assigned capabilities to nanoFAB clients, through understanding client needs and requests, defining scope of work, recommending appropriate instrumentation/experiments and analysis/interpretation of collected results and other data. 
  • Develops proficiency and technical competency with assigned techniques and equipment; leads and provides in-depth explanations verbally, through presentations, and prepared documents.
  • Independently recommends, plans, develops, and demonstrates new procedures, experiments, processes, or instrumentation to achieve client needs. 
  • Independently performs existing, as well as proposes and implements new, experimental procedures, qualifications, preventative/process maintenance, documentation and protocols to address any corrective actions, maximize system performance and ensure highest levels of utilization and revenue generation of assigned capabilities.
  • Independently and proactively identifies instrumentation advancements and improvements to increase competitiveness, uniqueness, revenue generation or utilization of assigned capabilities.
  • Acts as technical lead in new equipment evaluations, providing meaningful technical evaluation reports to inform and justify purchasing decisions.
  • Independently prepares documents and recommendations related to operational and equipment needs, including gap analysis, financial comparisons, and technical assessments of capabilities, procedures, and policies, assigned or affecting assigned responsibilities.
  • Manages and independently plans the commissioning, qualification, and documentation of new equipment and upgrades, to maximize availability, utilization, and integration with academic and industrial client needs.
  • Independently communicates and directs the technical and administrative needs of client requests and appropriately guides them through nanoFAB workflows, policies, procedures, and technical offerings, through proactive understanding of client needs and aligning with nanoFAB capabilities and procedures.
  • Provides assistance and technical competency in addressing client community support in the preparation and review of scientific manuscripts, documents and data.
  • Assists and supports the development and implementation of undergraduate, graduate, and external educational courses, including preparation of presentations, course materials, and demonstrations, as well as laboratory support and grading as required.
  • Stays current with developments in applicable fields related to assigned technical areas of responsibility, through independent review of literature, vendor information, and hardware manuals, as well as suggesting attendance to relevant training courses, workshops, lectures, and conferences.
  • Coordinates and hosts site visits for equipment service engineers, application specialists, and other visitors to the nanoFAB.
  • Communicates technical developments, tool concerns, service interruptions (with estimated durations and recovery status) to both nanoFAB staff and the broader user community, accurately and in a timely manner.
  • Independently documents, updates, modifies, and maintains accurate and timely records of operational activities, technical developments, training, standard operating procedures, retrospectives, workflows, and policies on assigned equipment, systems, and processes through the nanoFAB’s digital information management system, website, and external sources, to drive transparent reporting, knowledge transfer, promotion, and repeatability. 
  • Participates in and supports nanoFAB committees, ad hoc initiatives, and other administrative planning activities, including purchasing committees for instruments and support infrastructure, internal safety committees, and internal advisory groups.
  • Maintains a safe work environment and culture, reporting all safety and disciplinary actions as they arise.
  • Provides regularly scheduled one-on-one meeting updates of activities, successes, challenges, and any comments or suggestions enhancing operational efficiency of overall facility activities.
  • Independently reviews, recommends, and orders chemicals and consumables as needed.
  • Performs other duties as required and assigned by nanoFAB management.

Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in Science, Engineering or related field
  • Minimum of 2 years of hands-on experiences working with any combination of SEM, TEM, FIB, XPS, X-Ray Diffraction or other spectroscopy and materials analysis tools.


  • M.Sc. in Science, Engineering or related field
  • Minimum of 5 years of hands-on experiences working with any combination of SEM, TEM, FIB, XPS and X-Ray Diffraction or other specitroscopy and materials analysis tools.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experiences with related microscopy and spectroscopy (EBSD, EDX, AFM, Raman, FTIR) would be an asset.
  • Demonstrated ability for public speaking, strong critical writing skills, including providing technical presentations/seminars and writing technical documents.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Note: Online applications are accepted until midnight Mountain Standard Time of the closing date.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.