Geoscience Sample Processing Laboratory (SPL) Technician

University of Calgary

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. 

More Information / Apply Now


Research assistant / technician


North America

Calgary , Canada





Research assistant / technician