GC Jobs

Graduate Student – PhD - Research Affiliate Program

Reference number: AGR24J-023788-000550
Selection process number: 23-AGR-RAP-76A
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Science and Technology Branch
Agassiz (British Columbia), Burnaby (British Columbia)
The projected start date is May 21, 2024 (or depending on the candidate's availability or needs) with an end date of March 31, 2028. It is expected that the student will work 18 hours per week.
$28.99 to $37.53 per hour (Varies as per the level of education and experience.)

For further information on the organization, please visit Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

For further information on the Research Affiliate Program (RAP), please visit Research Affiliate Program (RAP)

Closing date: 3 May 2024 - 23:59, Pacific Time

Who can apply: Persons residing in Canada, Canadian citizens, and Permanent residents abroad.

To be considered for Research Affiliate Program (RAP) work opportunities, all candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria by the date of appointment:

- Be recognized as having full-time student status at an accredited Canadian post-secondary academic institution (this includes students with a disability deemed to have full-time status). Individuals pending approval of acceptance or in the process of submitting applications are encouraged to apply, as proof of enrollment will only be required prior to the start date.

- Be enrolled in an academic program that requires research as part of the curriculum.

- Be the minimum age to work in the province or territory where the job is located.

Update: Please note that the selection process has been amended to extend the closing date to May 3, 2024 - 23:59, Pacific Time.

Important messages

We are committed to providing an inclusive and barrier-free work environment, starting with the hiring process. If you need to be accommodated during any phase of the evaluation process, please use the Contact information below to request specialized accommodation. All information received in relation to accommodation will be kept confidential.

Assessment accommodation

AAFC is committed to diversity and inclusion and is proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s best diversity employers. We welcome all applicants and strongly encourage candidates to self-declare if they belong to an Employment Equity designated group (i.e. Aboriginal Peoples, Persons with Disabilities, Visible Minorities, or Women).

Persons are entitled to participate in the appointment process in the official language of their choice. Applicants are asked to indicate their preferred official language in their application.

Communication for this process will be sent via email. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure accurate contact information is provided and updated as required. Candidates who apply to this selection process should include an email address that accepts emails from unknown users (some email systems block these types of emails).


The successful candidate will examine the seasonal change in virus titres in high-bush blueberries and their aphid fauna over two growing seasons to determine temporal trends in aphid-mediated virus transmission and the optimal timing of aphid controls for sustainable virus management. This will require development and implementation of a proof of concept qRT-PCR assay to detect viruses in both blueberry and aphid vector tissue, as well as identification and characterization of disease symptomology and aphid vectors. In collaboration with the BC Berry Breeding Program, the successful candidate will also investigate the susceptibility of advanced blueberry breeding selections to aphid attack through lab and field studies examining aphid abundance and host plant preference, using healthy and virus-infected plants. The candidate will be responsible for establishing and maintaining aphid colonies, and developing and implementing blueberry virus inoculation methods in support of experiments examining the influence of host choice, host infection status, and aphid infection status on aphid abundance and feeding behaviour.

The candidate will coordinate and perform activities in both field and laboratory environments, including the collection and curation of samples, the development, adaptation and implementation of approaches and experiments, data analysis, and the preparation of scientific manuscripts and presentations. They will also provide assistance with staffing, training, and supervising summer students, managing laboratory operations, and will be expected to work as part of a larger team and interact effectively with project collaborators.

Work environment

This is an exciting opportunity for a student with a keen interest in understanding plant insect interactions and the management of plant viruses and their insect vectors in blueberry crops in British Columbia.

Day-to-day work will take place at Simon Fraser University and a Government of Canada research facility in the company of colleagues and advisors. A safety orientation will be provided at the work sites. All course work will be carried out at the university, and a significant amount of the work (about half the time) will take place at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Research and Development Centre in Agassiz. There is also an opportunity to carry out computer-related work at home or other location.

Updates on findings will be presented to advisors in person or by video conference. Findings of significance will be presented at scientific venues.

AAFC is committed to diversity and inclusion. We have several networks dedicated to ensuring that the department continues to grow as an inclusive, accessible, respectful and diverse workplace. All employees are encouraged and welcomed to join the networks and participate in their activities and events.

• The Gender and Sexual Diversity Inclusiveness Network
• The Indigenous Network Circle
• The Managers' Community
• The Persons with Disabilities Network
• The Student Panel of Representatives for Orientation, Unity and Training
• The Visible Minorities Network
• The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network
• The Young Professional's Network

Positions to be filled: 1

Information you must provide

Your résumé.

A covering letter

Contact information for 2 references.

A list of the courses you have taken as well as any courses that you are taking now, or that you will be taking this academic year

In order to be considered, your application must clearly explain how you meet the following (essential qualifications)

Currently enrolled or will be enrolled by the date of appointment in a PhD program at Simon Fraser University with specialization in Biological Sciences.

Note: Must be currently recognized as having full-time student status in the academic institution in which you are presently enrolled, pending approval of acceptance or in the process of submitting your application. Proof of enrollment will be required prior to start date and the student must be returning to full-time studies for your next academic term.

Degree equivalency

• Experience planning and conducting entomological research.
• Experience with insect sampling techniques and using taxonomic keys for identification.
• Experience with molecular techniques (i.e. DNA isolation, purification, PCR based amplification), equipment, and software for analysis.
• Experience using statistical software programs.

*In the context of student recruitment in the Federal Public Service, the experience can be acquired through studies, work experience, or volunteer activities.

The following will be applied / assessed at a later date (essential for the job)

English essential

Information on language requirements

• Knowledge of insect biology (pests, natural enemies).
• Knowledge of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and the methods used to identify and assess changes in insect populations.
• Knowledge of molecular methods and tools for genetic analysis.

• Adaptability
• Teamwork
• Planning and Organizing
• Problem solving

• Ability to use scientific instruments and tools and to apply and adapt scientific techniques and methodologies.
• Ability to make observations, collect and accurately record data, analyze and interpret results.
• Ability to work independently.

The following may be applied / assessed at a later date (may be needed for the job)

Operational Requirements:
• Possession of a valid, class 5 (British Columbia) driver’s license, or other provincial/territorial equivalency.

Conditions of employment

Reliability Status security clearance - Each student hired through the Research Affiliate Program (RAP) must meet the security requirements of the position as a condition of employment and, therefore will be asked by the hiring organization to complete security-relevant documents.

Other information

The Public Service of Canada is committed to building a skilled and diverse workforce that reflects the Canadians we serve. We promote employment equity and encourage you to indicate if you belong to one of the designated groups when you apply.

Information on employment equity

Applications submitted by email will not be accepted. You must apply online through https://www.canada.ca/en/services/jobs/opportunities/government.html.

Persons with disabilities preventing them from applying online are asked to contact the email referenced below under “Contact Information.”

Candidates will be required to pay for their own travel related to assessment and successful candidates will be responsible for obtaining their own living accommodations.

Successful completion of both a RAP work assignment and your educational program may lead to a temporary or permanent federal public service position for which you meet the merit criteria and conditions of employment.


Preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with the exception of a job located in Nunavut, where Nunavut Inuit will be appointed first.

We thank all those who apply. Only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

Contact information

RAP Team – Research Affiliate Program
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