Research Technician - Environmental Data Center at the Toolik Field Station

Apply now Job no: 518366
Classification:Research Technician 3
Grade:Grade 77
Work type:Staff Full-time
Administrative Unit:University of Alaska Fairbanks
School/Business unit:UAF Institute of Arctic Biology
Location: Fairbanks
Categories: Research/Science/Grants

Position Summary:

The Toolik Field Station at the Institute of Arctic Biology is seeking applications from enthusiastic individuals who are interested in summer ecological fieldwork in northern Alaska to work as a Research Aide at the Environmental Data Center. Responsibilities will include collecting data on plant phenological and greening events, arrival and departure status of bird species, as well as data entry and organization under general supervision.


10Community engagement (10% - at TFS) Engage with the TFS community Participate in Community based activities and initiatives to improve the TFS community as a whole. Example - participate in the DEI initiatives in camp. Help other departments at TFS when needed (dishes, shoveling, moving boxes, helping fix things)Essential
10Logistical support (10% - at TFS) Active communication with researchers about their support and equipment requests through the TFS online platform and using tools such as Slack and email. Help facilitate shipping of samples to researchers institutions. Regular communication and reporting to the SEDC Manager.Essential
15EDC Data and Analysis (15% - at TFS and Fairbanks) Assist the SEDC manager with maintaining baseline monitoring datasets of measurements and imagery and updating of the data repositories. Provide quality assurance and quality control of the datasets and metadata. When possible, automate the analytical processing of data using batch processing techniques and/or computer programing/ scripting languages (eg. R, python, etc.). Assist in updating the publication database. Write the Naturalist Journal when the Toolik Naturalist is not in camp. As needed, assist the SEDC Manager and GIS & RS Manager with new research site selection.Essential
15Updating, maintaining, and managing the common-use field and laboratory equipment (15% - at TFS) Provide, maintain, and schedule the use of common-use scientific equipment. Common-use equipment ranges from lab equipment such as microscopes and scales, to deionized water systems and autoclaves. Field equipment spans from water chemistry sensors, spectral reflectance to thermometers and anemometers. Researchers at TFS checkout common-use equipment online and the SEDC approves the use of all equipment and provides tutorials on how to properly operate the equipment. Regular maintenance and repair is needed on the common-use equipment to keep it functioning for all researchers working out of TFS. On a given day repair or maintenance of equipment may vary from repairing a leaking deionized water system, calibrating a piece of equipment, to examining the electrical connections in a sensor. Conduct web-based research to identify equipment and software to support TFS research. Occasionally prepare specifications and forward equipment or software quotes to the SEDC Manager for equipment/ supplies such as new drying ovens, cameras, field spectrometers, etc. Troubleshoot all equipment problems and report issues and resolution to the SEDC manager.Essential
50Field Data Collection (50% - based at TFS) Collect baseline environmental data throughout the year including plant phenology, plant greenness, active layer depth, bird and mammal identification, snow depth, and ice thickness. In addition to the baseline data, provide field support to projects at the station through field assistance for projects in camp, and remote access for projects that are not on-site at the station. Examples of field assistance and remote access include: year-round water sampling, permafrost sampling, plant cover and density measurements, plant phenology, insect & mammal trapping, river and stream discharge among others. Monitor autonomous instrumentation for the SEDC as well as for researchers. Types of autonomous instrumentation include time lapse cameras, meteorological stations with data loggers (Campbell Scientific and Hobo), and atmospheric monitoring equipment. Under intermittent supervision of the SEDC Manager when they are not in camp, plan and coordinate activities with the EDC seasonal technician and intern(s) to fulfill summer work requests.Essential

Toolik Field Station (TFS) is a research station operated and managed by the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Toolik Field Station and the surrounding areas are located on the ancestral hunting grounds of the Nunamiut, and occasional hunting grounds and routes of the Gwich’in, Koyukuk, and Iñupiaq peoples. TFS provides logistical, operational, and scientific support to visiting scientists conducting Arctic research. TFS is a remote facility located 360 road miles north of Fairbanks on the rural Dalton Highway.  There are no local services.  The population of the station can vary from 3 to 150 residents (over 400 different individuals annually) coming from all over the world. While remote, TFS is like a small village during the summer months. 

The Spatial and Environmental Data Center (SEDC) at TFS is seeking a full time, year-round, Environmental Data Center Technician to join our team. The Environmental Data Center (EDC) offers support to the science community in four  ways; 1) collection of long-term baseline environmental and biological data, 2) management of common-use field and laboratory equipment, 3) assistance with field work, and 4) remote access (collecting data for scientific projects when their personnel cannot be on-site). The EDC Technician will work under the supervision of the SEDC Manager and alongside the meteorological station technician, seasonal technicians, and interns to fulfill these four objectives. 

This position will consist of shift work.  TFS shifts will be based at TFS throughout the year and are typically 2-4 weeks long.  For TFS shifts, room and board at TFS as well as roundtrip transportation between Fairbanks and TFS are provided.  Fairbanks shifts will be based at the Toolik administrative offices on the Troth Yeddha’ campus of UAF. Throughout the year, there will be opportunities for (paid and unpaid) off-duty time (typically 1-2 weeks).  Exact duration of shift lengths and off-duty time will be variable and flexible but must be arranged with and approved by the SEDC Manager ahead of time. Due to COVID19, paid quarantine is currently affecting the length of shifts and thus, schedules are less regular.  

EDC seasonal technicians will provide additional TFS shift coverage with the EDC Analyst to ensure continual availability of EDC support at TFS.  As needed, the SEDC Manager will also provide TFS coverage and support.  The SEDC Manager remains in regular contact with the station and EDC technicians when not on-site.  

The SEDC Manager has a similar schedule on-site overlapping with these positions as equally as possible, preferably for a week of each two week shift.  However, this is variable. Unless on leave, the SEDC Manager remains in regular contact with the station when not on-site.

Weather at TFS ranges from hot (70F) and dry during late summer, to cold (-50F) and dry in the winter as well as anything in between. It typically snows at least once a month throughout the year (yes, it has snowed in July). Fieldwork occurs in all of these conditions (although below -40F we stay inside) to complete the three objectives mentioned above. Did we mention mosquitoes?  We work in clouds of those too. 

In addition to the technical duties, engaging and interacting with the TFS community of students and researchers is an expected part of the job of everyone who works at TFS. Staff are also expected to help other departments at TFS when they are needed. 

Toolik Field Station is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment to everyone at the station. Each member of our staff is committed to working to build and sustain an equitable and inclusive work environment where cultural diversity is celebrated and valued.  We believe diversity benefits and enriches the TFS community. Read more about our commitment to supporting diversity at

Frequent Travel Demands:

Toolik Field Station (TFS) at the Institute of Arctic Biology, a remote field camp located at 284.5 Dalton Highway, is seeking a motivated candidate to work as Environmental Data Center Analyst. TFS is a remote facility located 360 road miles north of Fairbanks on the rural Dalton Highway. There are no local services. The population of the station can vary from 3 to 150 residents (over 400 different individuals annually) coming from all over the world. This position is based at TFS, typically on a 2-4 week on-site and two week off-duty rotation. Transportation between Fairbanks and TFS is provided for on-site shifts.


Interest in arctic flora and fauna and the ability to use field guides and keys to identify organisms
Experience with data collection (ecological, hydrological, meteorological, etc.), entry, and quality control.
Attention to detail and willingness to learn new skills
Familiarity with field equipment to measure greenness, discharge rates, water chemistry sondes, GPS units and handheld data recording.
Technical skills at troubleshooting and repairing field and laboratory equipment.
Ability to write and execute simple statistical analysis (Excel, R, other software).
Proficient in using Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Online Google products.
Strong organizational and record keeping skills and attention to detail.
Work independently under intermittent supervision of the SEDC manager to accomplish multiple tasks and work requests; assist the SEDC manager in advising the seasonal EDC technician and intern(s) when providing support to research projects.
Ability to seek input from supervisor as needed and to learn quickly by experience and instruction.
Ability to work independently in a team setting and to stay on task with a minimum of supervision.
Ability to interact positively with a diverse community of scientists (ranging from undergraduates to senior PIs) as well as federal and state agency personnel.
Strong communication skills (verbal, written, and interpersonal). This position requires frequent interaction with researchers as well as federal and state agency personnel.
Willingness to work in a remote field site and live in a community setting
Ability to use a variety of types of transportation to access field sites including, but is not limited to: driving a 4 wheel drive pickup truck along the Dalton Highway, access sites via truck and over the uneven tundra on snow machines, skis, snowshoes, hiking, and across lakes with motor boats, row boats and canoes.
Ability to participate in rigorous fieldwork under adverse conditions (hot, cold, sunny, windy, snowing, freezing).
Physically capable of traveling 10 miles (round trip) per day across uneven tussock tundra or snow while transporting required equipment (up to 50lbs) occasionally in inclement to severe weather.
This position requires living at a remote facility, often with limited privacy, for significant periods of time. Shifts will sometimes need to be shorter or longer than what is detailed above. The position will often be required to work significant overtime (on average 54 hours a week), and will regularly work 6+ days a week when on-site.
It is expected that all Toolik Field Station team members act as a team. In a remote location with a small staff and an important mission, everyone at TFS is expected to assist all others when safe and appropriate to do so. This includes, but is not limited to, basic housekeeping, janitorial, customer service, snow removal, food service, general labor, and other duties as assigned.


College-level work in biological sciences, experience with plant and bird identification, ecological fieldwork experience.
Preferred Experience Includes: Interest and familiarity with arctic flora and fauna. Attention to detail and willingness to learn new skills. Prior experience with ecological data collection, entry, and summary. Experience with herbaria.


Required Experience:
Two years of course work towards a Bachelor's degree in a field of science (Biology, Ecology, Geography, Chemistry, Environmental science, or a comparable field).
Two years of experience relevant to this position or a combination of training and experiences.
Valid AK driver’s license or able to obtain one within three months of being hired.

Preferred Experience:
Bachelor's degree or higher in a relevant field of science (Biology, Ecology, Geography, Chemistry, Environmental science, or a comparable field)
Two years of post-bachelors work experience, or graduate school experience.
Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder, or willingness to be certified.

This is a full-time, Grade 77, minimum $21.81 hourly, DOE, 12-month position complete with a competitive salary and UA employee benefits package. This position is open until filled with the initial application review taking place on January 3, 2022. To ensure your application is considered, apply by 11:55 pm, 1/2/2022.  Applications received after this date may not be considered.

*To be eligible for this position, applicants must be legally authorized for unrestricted employment in the United States. No work visas will be sponsored for this position.

Effective immediately, all new UAF hires, whose job function or work location results in the employee being subject to the UAF vaccine requirements guided by the Federal Contractor Employee vaccine mandate*, must be fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO- authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine or have obtained a university-approved disability/medical or religious exemption by January 18, 2022, or before their start date if after January 18, 2022.

*Employees based on UAF’s Troth Yeddha’ (Fairbanks) campus, regardless of university affiliation and remote work status; Employees based in UAF research units outside Fairbanks (including Seward Marine Center, Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, HAARP, Poker Flat, Lena Point, and Toolik Field Station); and Employees, regardless of their work location, paid by or directly working on impacted UAF federal contracts.

Term Position:

This position is a term-funded position and is reviewed annually for contract renewal at the University's discretion.

Reasonable Accommodation Statement:

The University of Alaska (UA) is responsible for providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities throughout the applicant screening process. If you need assistance in completing this application or during any phase of the interview process, please contact UA Human Resources by phone at 907-450-8200.

Affirmative Action Statement:

UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

Background Check:

The successful applicant is required to complete a background check. Any offer of employment is contingent on the background check.

Probationary Period:

Pursuant to University Regulation 04.07.020, new employees of the University are employed in an at-will probationary status for the first six months of employment. During the probationary period, employment may be terminated for no reason or any reason. Promoted employees also serve a probationary period with limited rights of retreat.

Public Disclosure Statement:

Your application for employment with the University of Alaska is subject to public disclosure under the Alaska Public Records Act.

University of Alaska is a Drug-Free Workplace. University of Alaska campuses are Tobacco-Free.

Training Policy:

It is the policy of the University of Alaska (UA) that all employees are required to complete training to meet the requirements of the positions they hold, and to complete the required training within a specified period to remain employed at the UA.

Contact Information:

If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact University of Alaska HR at 907-450-8200.

Advertised: Alaskan Standard Time
Applications close:

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