Biocontrol Research Assistant

Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Published: March 17, 2020
Langley, British Columbia
Internship Type
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Salary range
$16 - 18/ hour + 4% vacation pay (paid with each pay cheque)
Hours per week
Start Date
End Date


The Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is seeking a full time Research Assistant (RA) to work on three research projects focused on the development of sustainable pest management solutions.  The first project is focused on the development of Trichoderma-based biofungicides for control of foliar plant pathogens such as powdery mildew and grey mould.  The RA will work with a research team to plan, setup, and conduct trials to test the efficacy of new Trichoderma strains against these foliar pathogens in greenhouse and small plots.  The second project will examine the use of bee-vectoring technology to deliver a biofungicide for the control of fungal diseases in blueberry crops.  This project will involve setup of field plots, plant disease assessments and monitoring honeybee colony health.  The last project aims to develop a biocontrol strategy for cutworms in winegrapes using nematodes and fungal isolates.  Specifically, the RA will participate in planning and conducting laboratory bioassays and potted plant trials with two cutworm species to examine the use and timing of these biocontrol agents.

Duties and responsibilities

Under the supervision of lead Research Scientists, the RA will be responsible for laboratory and field based activities including trial planning, setup, monitoring, data collection, and analysis for the three project described above.

Specific duties include:

  • Daily reporting to lead Research Scientists on all aspects of the projects
  • Propagation and care of various plants in the greenhouse and growth chambers
  • Production of fungal isolates, counting, and evaluating fungal spore viabililty
  • Setup of laboratory and field experiments
  • Monitoring and accurate data collection
  • Keeping excellent notes and records for trials
  • Technical report writing
  • Daily cleaning of laboratory and greenhouse equipment
  • Work collaboratively with other research team members and industry partners

Knowledge and skills

This position would be suitable for a current student or new graduate from a program related to agriculture or horticulture with interest in biocontrol and the green economy.  The following skills and knowledge are preferred:

  • Basic laboratory skills including proper use of microscopes, balances, pipettes, biosafety cabinets and fumehoods
  • Use of spray equipment, including calibration, calculating spray rates, and handling biocontrol agents (example fungi and nematodes)
  • Ability to think critically and plan experiments
  • Ability to work well independently and in a team environment
  • Strong organizational, time management, and analytical skills
  • Good physical fitness and enthusiasm for working outside in all weather conditions

Education required

Possession of or working toward a degree or diploma in biology, horticulture, agriculture or a related field.

Certification required

  • Pesticide applicator licence would be preferred, but is not required.
  • A valid BC drivers licence

Eligibility criteria

Career-Launcher Internships are funded by the Government of Canada under the Youth Employment Strategy. For program criteria information visit their website.


Qualified interns are:

  • Post-secondary students and graduates
  • No more than 30 years of age at the start of the internship
  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons granted refugee status in Canada*
  • Legally allowed to work according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulations
  • Not receiving employment insurance during their internship
  • Available to work for at least six months
  • Not previous participants of a federal youth employment program
  • Not employees of the hiring employer prior to the start of their internship (does not apply to previous coop students or student interns)

*Refugee protection must be conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Persons awaiting refugee status, as well as those who hold a temporary visitor visa, student visa or work visa, are ineligible to participate in a Youth Employment Strategy initiative.

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