Marine Biology and Aquaculture, Laboratory and Technical Support Officer

Townsville, Australia
05 Dec 2019
End of advertisement period
05 Jan 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

Position Overview

The Laboratory and Technical Support Advisor supports ongoing maintenance and development of the Marine and Aquaculture Research Facilities (MARF) to ensure researchers and students are able to perform experiments effectively in any of the facility’s controlled environmental laboratories or the outdoor saltwater and freshwater systems. The incumbent conducts mechanical repairs including welding, plumbing, pump repairs and pipe fitting. 

The Laboratory and Technical Support Advisor assists and advises researchers and students on design, implementation and setting up of experiments. The incumbent provides technical support to ensure ongoing availability and optimal operation of water systems and aquariums for research and experiments. 

Division of Research and Innovation 

The Division of Research and Innovation plays a pivotal role in the University by developing and implementing research policy, identifying and fostering research strength, and promoting and coordinating collaboration with governments, industry, publicly funded research agencies and other universities. The Division is comprised of: Policy and Projects, Research Infrastructure Directorate, Research Services, Graduate Research School, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The Cairns Institute.

Research Infrastructure Directorate 

The Research Infrastructure Directorate enables and engages in high quality research by providing research facilities and expertise to JCU and external researchers.  The Research Infrastructure Facilities: eResearch Centre Advanced Analytical Centre, Orpheus Island Research Station, Daintree Rainforest Observatory, Fletcherview Research Station, Marine and Aquaculture Research Facility and Operations; facilitate research, providing a support framework, expert discipline and technical knowledge, experimental and instrumental capabilities, data capture, management and analytics and play a role in education and engagement.

Organisational Charts

James Cook University

Principal Accountabilities

  1. Manufacture and design facility infrastructure including welding of materials using MIG, TIG or ARC welding methods for equipment to meet the needs of research and experiments.  Manage and maintain the workshop facilities and keep in a safe and orderly condition.
  2. Operate the process control system, monitoring water flow, water temperatures, holding tank levels, laboratory and room temperatures, pumps and filtration equipment, advising on technical issues and rectification plans.
  3. Design and write computer monitoring programs or program changes under guidance from the Laboratory and Technical Support Specialist and run and apply computer spreadsheets and databases to assist with daily operations and resource allocation within the facility.
  4. Analyse operational data and resolve problems through structured and timely fault finding, repair, adjust and replace equipment to ensure adequate water provision to all systems.
  5. Ensure seawater and freshwater systems are operating at optimum levels by performing routine cleaning and maintenance on various plant and equipment including pumps, filters, scrubbers and skimmers and control/monitoring equipment.
  6. Assist researchers or students with cost effective design, construction and setting up of experiments, ensuring experiments will not impact any other experiment on the system and consideration is given to specific aquatic animal husbandry techniques for each experiment, across a potentially broad range of marine species.
  7. Participate in the overall management, development and modification of the separate water systems including developing and modifying pumping, filtration, and plumbing to enable future expansion, assisting in allocation of resources.
  8. Maintain in-depth current knowledge of WHS legislation to ensure adherence within the laboratory and outdoors, conducting inductions for the MARF workshop, ensuring appropriate signage and standard operating procedures are in place.
  9. Support the University's commitment to the principles of reconciliation, which exemplify respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the valuing of justice and equity for all Australians.
  10. Demonstrate a commitment to the University values.
  11. Support the principles of the TropEco program and engage in commitment to JCU sustainability goals and objectives. 


There are generic responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff. Your specific level descriptor can be found within the Enterprise Agreement.

Generic Accountabilities

There are generic responsibilities that apply to all James Cook University staff.

  1. The Laboratory and Technical Support Advisor is required to observe the lawful and reasonable directions, policies and decisions of the University Council, understand and comply with the Enterprise Agreement, the Statutes and Rules of the University, the policies and decisions of the University Council and other appropriate University authorities, as in force from time to time.
  2. The Laboratory and Technical Support Advisor is required to demonstrate a personal commitment to ensure personal safety and the safety of others and contribute to the continuous improvement of our WHS performance. This includes the effective implementation and compliance with James Cook University WHS policies, procedures and safe systems of work, together with all relevant legislation, duties and obligations. Contribute to the continuous improvement of our WHS performance.
  3. The Laboratory and Technical Support Advisor is required to exercise proper discretion in all matters affecting the well-being of the University which involve public writing or speaking in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct.

Special Conditions

  • It is a requirement of this position to participate in an on-call roster system.
  • It is a requirement of this position to hold a current First Aid certificate.
  • It is a requirement of this position to hold a current c class driver’s licence.
  • It is a requirement of this position to hold, or be able to obtain the necessary welding qualification(s). 

Selection Criteria

Selection and appointments will be assessed against selection criteria.


  1. Degree qualification in Marine Biology or Aquaculture with subsequent relevant experience; or extensive experience and specialist expertise or broad knowledge in technical fields; or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and/or education and/or training.
  2. Demonstrated broad experience with water quality analysis and management techniques with proven ability in the design and implementation of new concepts, experiments, and laboratory and field equipment.
  3. Demonstrated understanding of Workplace Health and Safety regulations and how they apply to carrying out functions in a research facility.
  4. Demonstrated experience in pump servicing/refurbishment in a wide range of centrifugal pump types. Proven ability in welding and other maintenance activities including necessary qualifications.
  5. Demonstrated well developed written and oral communication skills and willingness to interact with internal and external stakeholders including taking school tours, liaising with students and staff in relation to research activities and facility maintenance.
  6. Demonstrated high level organisational and time management skills, with the ability to manage own workflow and prioritise tasks within a small self-sufficient team ensuring attention to detail and that research continuity is achieved.


  1. Demonstrated experience with aquatic animal husbandry and culturing of microalgae.
  2. Demonstrated experience in plumbing design techniques for aquatic animal systems coupled with experience in PLC control systems, programming, installation, and a range of analogue sensor applications.