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Technical-scientific Assistant in Chilean Patagonia

Reference HSFS2016-03  (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Water, Hydrology & Marine Ecology
Town/City Huinay
Salary Additional Information 550.000 CLP/ month ($835 USD) for the first 6 months, 650.000 CLP/month ($986 USD) from month 7 to 12
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Full Time
Level First Level
Deadline 01/04/2018
Company Name Huinay Scientific Field Station
Contact Name Vreni Häussermann
Telephone 0056652280368
Email huinayresearch@gmail.com
Huinay Scientific Field Station logo
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We are looking for one technical-scientific assistant for approximately two years (can be longer, too). You should be open to stay for at least two years. We are ideally looking for technicians with biological knowledge.


Key abilities:

  • fluent in English
  • excellent diving skills (>100 dives) and experience with cold-water (dry suit) diving and diving in difficult conditions, dive master certification or equivalent would be ideal. You need to bring your own complete dry suit dive equipment.
  • able to communicate in Spanish at a level proficient enough to send emails and make phone calls
  • experience with piloting remotely controlled devices (drone, ROV), or at least talent and strong interest for learning it


We cannot consider applicants without these key abilities!


In addition he/she should:

  • be an open, communicative, easy-going and nature-loving person who has no problems or rather enjoys living in an isolated and rainy place and is able to adapt to new situations.
  • be self motivated and able to deal with the difficulties of living in a small remote place with few people.
  • be organized and good at multi-tasking since it is necessary to simultaneously keep track of many different record logs, sampled specimens, the small library etc.
  • be friendly but at the same time able to demonstrate authority when enforcing the station rules to visitors and other people. Some intercultural experience and being above a certain age generally makes this easier.
  • have technical understanding and basic skills to take care of laboratory equipment (microscope, binoculars, aquaria, etc.) and diving equipment (compressor, tanks, regulators, cameras etc.).
  • be scientifically inclined and have an interest and understanding of ecology and taxonomy. Ideally, knowledge of or interest in invertebrates and their sampling and preservation is preferred, but please keep in mind that this is not a research position!
  • be flexible, patient and should be able to improvise. Experience in developing countries or, even better, in South America is of advantage.
  • have basic computer skills (Windows XP/7, MSOffice).
  • Have a driving license and ideally should have experience in driving small motor boats.


The assistants are in charge of and keep track of the day to day scientific activity at this field station and represent the scientific staff towards visiting scientists, tourists who come by etc. during the absence of the staff biologists. They are in charge of database work, keep track on ongoing projects, train and supervise interns etc. They can and should work quite independent, but follow the guidelines given by the scientific director/managing scientist and ask for feed-back when major decisions have to be taken.


The specific work tasks include:

  • assisting the scientific director/managing scientist in miscellaneous tasks and projects when required but also be able to foresee and resolve problems and work independently. We have 5 ongoing scientific projects plus long-term monitoring of the benthic communities.
  • supervising interns.
  • maintaining laboratory and diving equipment (daily care and evening checks when visitors are present, general maintenance, minor and simple repairs).
  • being the main contact person for visiting scientists by, for example answering general questions by e-mail ahead of the visits, requesting and administrating required forms, explaining logistics and infrastructure at the station, explaining lab rules, organizing the boat trips for scientists and generally helping to ensure that their lab work and daily life goes as smoothly as possible.
  • Touring visitors and explaining the scientific work and projects.
  • entering information in databases or supervising while interns do so (data includes literature, biology, oceanographic data and special observations in the Comau fjord).
  • preserving, logging, photographing and mailing of samples (ie. specimens).
  • administering information about visiting scientists (boat trips, rented equipment, time of stay, questionnaires, pictures) and keeping all visitor and publication information up to date.
  • accompanying visiting scientists on dive trips (of course not all visitors dive). Showing and explaining dive sites and ensuring that diving and sampling rules are respected (but the assistant is not required to guide scientific dives).
  • operating and maintaining the compressor.
  • helping with the acquisition and maintenance of equipment which involves searching for distributors, asking for prices quotes, tracking orders, organizing repairs, reporting complaints when necessary.
  • Support in piloting our ROV, and piloting a drone for filming


We offer:

  • 550.000 CLP/ month ($835 USD) for the first 6 months, 650.000 CLP/month ($986 USD) from month 7 to 12, and another raise after one year (-10% tax, -7% health insurance and -3% retirement insurance, the latter one can partially be reimbursed for foreigners when leaving the country (remark: general health insurance is pretty good in Chile and there is an additional health insurance for work related accidents and diseases)).
  • reimbursement of expenses for an additional dive accident insurance like DAN or equivalent (this insurance is mandatory for anyone diving at Huinay Scientific Field Station and must be contracted by the diver prior to dive activities at the station).
  • Free lodging and food on the station and free transport from and to Hornopirén on regular boat trips. You can also take the ferry that runs twice a week for approximately $3 USD. There are no expenses while you are at the station.
  • 4 days off for every 11 days of work and 20 days of vacation days (Monday through Friday) each year.


Please contact the Research Assistants (huinayresearch@gmail.com) if you need more information. 


We are looking forward to your applications consisting of (1) the application form (ask the research assistants for it), (2) a cover letter explaining your personal incentive to apply at Huinay Scientific Field Station and why you think you are qualified for the job, and (3) a CV (no longer than 4 pages). Please list 3-5 references that are able to speak of your abilities to deal with difficult and unknown situations, rather than just your professional abilities. Please do not send reference letters until you are asked for them. We will contact references for the short listed applicants only.
Please send the full application to huinayresearch@gmail.com only.


It is necessary that the successful applicant apply for their work visas prior to arrival at the station. Successful applicants will be sent copies of the work contract which need to be signed and returned for confirmation by a legal representative in order for you to apply for a work visa. This process can take up to 8 weeks.


DEADLINE: Until an adequate applicant is found!



We are always looking for interns to stay for around 8 weeks and help the assistants with all daily activities. See: http://www.environmentjobs.com/green-jobs/internship.22091.htm for more information.


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