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Research Assistant: Dalhousie University (deadline June 1st)

02 May 2022 10:20 AM | Jeff McKenna (Administrator)

Research Assistant

Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Truro, NS

Dalhousie University is a vibrant community of 12 faculties, 6,000 faculty and staff, and 19,000 students. An influential driver of the region’s intellectual, social and economic development, Dalhousie has campuses in Halifax and Truro and a satellite of its Medical School in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University is a small research-intensive campus located in Truro, NS. Offering technical, undergraduate and graduate programs in agriculture, environment and related life and social science disciplines, the Faculty of Agriculture educates future leaders and generates knowledge and innovative solutions for healthy, sustainable societies.

The Wild Blueberry Research Program (WBRP) is located in the Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences. Its mandate is to undertake research and development activities that will provide the wild blueberry industry with the technology based products, processes and services that will increase berry yields, improve plant growth and development, enhance berry quality and composition, and strengthen production sustainability and efficiency. The physical location of the research program is room 38 of Cox Institute at the Truro Agricultural Campus with laboratory and field research facilities also being located at the Wild Blueberry Research Centre (WBRP) located in Debert, Nova Scotia.

Research and development activities associated with the WBRP consist of a combination of field and laboratory components. Research interest presently include: (i) assessment of plant canopy health and presence of abiotic and biotic stresses through the use of remote sensing technologies; (ii) impact of floral blight diseases on plant growth, development, berry yield and postharvest quality; (iii) molecular responses of wild blueberries to fungal pathogens; and (iv) development of site specific management practices. Field research activities will be based at the Wild Blueberry Research Centre and also at commercial fields located throughout the Maritimes.

Job Summary:

Reporting to the Director, Wild Blueberry Research Program (WBRP), the Research Assistant will focus on

the remote sensing of wild blueberry fields systems to determine canopy coverage and density, presence of pest pressures, and estimation of berry yield potential and quality.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Perform activities associated with field research and development including filing required documentation; preparing specified treatments; organizing travel to sites; site preparation; and the operation of field equipment such as tractors, sprayers and ATVs.

  • Operate unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems to assess canopy coverage and density, field topography, presence of pest pressures, and estimation of berry yield potential and quality.

  • Assess imagery and other data collected, generate orthomosaic field images, analyze the data using a variety of programs (e.g. QGIS, ArcGIS, OTB, geospatial Python libraries), and generate prescription maps to be used for farm management operations.

  • Access and collect relevant data including agrochemical usage, fuel consumption, yield and pest incidence and severity, and process and analyze relevant on-farm data.

  • Assist with the preparation of literature reviews, scientific publications, research proposals and research reports. Produce and edit plain language research bulletins. Assist with library searches. Write procedures and prepare charts and graphs.

  • Assist with technology transfer of research and development activities at formal and informal meetings and functions.

Note:This position will require travel to sites across the Maritime provinces, including on occasion overnight travel, as well as work outside normal working hours. Compensation will be in accordance with the collective agreement.


Undergraduate degree in geography, plant science or other related field with approximately one to two years relevant experience (or equivalent combination of training and experience) is required. Demonstrated experience with land management systems, GIS and GPS is required, as is experience related to remote sensing in managed land systems. Post graduate training and an associated degree in plant or environmental sciences (e.g., M.Sc.) will be viewed as an asset. Special Flight Operations Certificate for UAV operation and Pesticide Applicators License must be obtained within six months from date of hire. Must demonstrate strong analytical, organizational and time management skills.

Strong interpersonal and communication (verbal and written) skills are required. Must have a valid class 5 Nova Scotia drivers license. This position requires regular walking in a variety of field conditions. The successful applicant must have the ability to work outdoors with exposure to allergens (e.g. dust, pollen) and chemicals (e.g. pesticides), and in a variety of weather conditions, and manually lift items of between 10 and 20 kg on occasion.

Note: This position will require travel throughout the Maritime provinces.

Salary Range: $18.05 - $21.90 per hour (commensurate with experience)

Please note: This position will start as a temporary position with potential to transition to a temporary position.

Deadline for applications: June 1st

How to apply: send application to [email protected] in PDF format

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