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Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Officer

City: Saskatoon 

Organizational Unit: Aquatic and Crop Resource Development 

Classification: RO 

Tenure: Continuing 

Language Requirements: English 


Note: The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group Woman will be privileged in this hiring action.

The NRC Advantage

Great Minds. One Goal. Canada's Success.


The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is the Government of Canada's largest research organization supporting industrial innovation, the advancement of knowledge and technology development. We collaborate with over 70 colleges, universities and hospitals annually, work with 800 companies on their projects, and provide advice or funding to over 8000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) each year.


We bring together the brightest minds to deliver tangible impacts on the lives of Canadians and people around the world. And now, we want to partner with you.  Let your expertise and inspirations make an impact by joining the NRC.


At NRC, we know diversity enables excellence in research and innovation. We are committed to a diverse and representative workforce, an open and inclusive work environment, and contributing to a more inclusive Canadian innovation system. 


NRC welcomes all qualified applicants and encourages candidates to self-declare as members of the following designated employment equity groups: women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities.


Please advise of any accommodation measures required to enable you to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner. They are available to all candidates for further assessment. Related information received will be addressed confidentially.

Your Challenge

Do you want to have an impact on the global food industry? Can you find your purpose in areas such as vertical farming, production capacity and food sustainability? If putting your creative thinking towards adapting crops to simulated environments is where you want to be, we want to get to know you. 


We are looking for out of the box thinkers to take us into a new frontier of agriculture. This Research Officer (RO) position is purpose driven with the ability to have an impact on how food is produced in Canada. It supports NRC’s Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Research Centre (ACRD) and direct research projects that focus on controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The RO would be someone who shares our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Respect and Creativity. RO activities include the development of proposals for new research initiatives, project management, and providing service to NRC clients. The RO would also provide input into the overall direction and research priorities for program areas within the Research Centre. 

To support the goals of the NRC and the ACRD Research Centre, in the development of advanced agriculture technologies. The incumbent will collaborate with plant researchers in the areas of cell technologies, genomics, systems biology, physiology, pathology, below ground traits, microecology and analytical chemistry to accelerate crop design for CEA in range of Canadian environments. The RO will establish an international calibre research program focused on agriculture in controlled growth environments that incorporates plant phenomics and automation. The RO would be expected to translate discoveries into powerful new tools for enhancing plant research and high-density, soil-less, plant production in northern, isolated and urban environments with a focus on sustainability. The RO would work in a multi-disciplinary team environment with researchers and technical experts at NRC and would form collaborative research activities within Canada and internationally. It is expected that the RO will provide meaningful contributions to the ACRD Research Centre’s goal of providing solutions that enhance and increase the sustainability and long-term health of Canada’s agricultural industry with a focus on sustainable production for both northern and urban regions. 

Screening Criteria

Applicants must demonstrate within the content of their application that they meet the following screening criteria in order to be given further consideration as candidates. Expect to provide detailed answers to screening questions as part of the application process.


PhD degree in science or engineering in a discipline related to horticulture engineering, controlled environment agriculture, biosystems engineering or related discipline. 


An MSc with relevant work-related experience and training would also be considered.  

For information on certificates and diplomas issued abroad, please see Degree equivalency.


Successful candidates should take multi-disciplinary and collaborative approaches that incorporate the greatest number of experience points below, clearly addressing these points in the screening questions with the support of a covering letter and curriculum vitae: 

  1. Experience conducting research in the field of controlled environment agriculture.
  2. Experience in optimizing plant growth and health in controlled environments with a focus on industry-relevant applications. 
  3. Experience with control systems incorporating feedback control of environmental variables.
  4. Experience with plant imaging or other sensing technology to monitor plants and their environment. 
  5. Experience with robotics and automation would be considered an asset.
  6. Experience in project leadership and management, publication of high-impact research articles, and communicating scientific findings at international conferences.
  7. Experience in working in multi-disciplinary teams involving both biological and engineering expertise.

Condition of Employment

Reliability Status

Assessment Criteria

Candidates will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Technical Competencies

  1. Knowledge of engineering applications for controlled environment agriculture (CEA).
  2. Knowledge of plant physiological and developmental factors that optimize crop production outcomes in CEA.
  3. Knowledge of one or more of the following: sensing, robotics and automation applications for CEA. 
  4. Knowledge of high-throughput phenotyping with emphasis on non-destructive methodologies would be considered an optional asset.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Research - Continuous professional learning (Level 3)
  • Research - Results orientation (Level 2)
  • Research - Initiative (Level 2)
  • Research - Teamwork (Level 3)
  • Research - Creative thinking (Level 4)
  • Research - Communication (Level 3)

Competency Profile(s)

For this position, the NRC will evaluate candidates using the following competency profile(s): Research.


View all competency profiles


Relocation assistance will be determined in accordance with the NRC's directives.

Salary Range

This position is classified as a Research Officer (RO), a group that is unique to the NRC. The RO group uses a person-based classification system instead of the more common duties-based classification system. Candidates are remunerated based on their expertise, skill, outcomes and impacts of their previous work experience. The salary scale for this group is vast, from $57,220 to $161,754 per annum, which permits for employees of all levels from new graduates to world renowned experts to be fairly compensated for their contributions.  


  • The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group Woman will be privileged in this hiring action.
  • How your answers are provided is instrumental in selecting the candidates for assessment. Please be aware that the assessment board cannot and will not make assumptions about your Education and Experience. Therefore, clearly answer all application questions providing concrete examples with significant details to explain WHEN, WHERE and HOW you acquired each experience. Please be sure to include substantiating details that clearly outline the breadth of experience as well as relevant timelines. The length of time can be important so please include how many months or years you did this work. Resumes will only be used as a secondary source to validate the experience described in the answers to the screening questions. If you are the successful candidate, we will validate the information that you provided by contacting your relevant references at the end of the process.
  • The ability to communicate in writing will be assessed throughout the selection process.
  • Failure to answer the screening questions or provide appropriate or factual information in the application may result in the rejection of your application. 
  • Please note that we are unable to contact candidates for incomplete or possible missing information.
  • A pre-qualified list may be established for similar positions for a one year period.
  • NRC employees enjoy a wide-range of benefits including comprehensive health and dental plans, pension and insurance plans, vacation and other leave entitlements.
  • Preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. Please include citizenship information in your application.
  • The incumbent must adhere to safe workplace practices at all times.
  • We thank all those who apply, however only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

About Saskatoon

Saskatoon is the perfect city for people who enjoy the natural world, a diverse cultural environment and want to find a place they can call home. A wonderful place to raise a family, Saskatoon enjoys one of the lowest costs of living among major cities in Canada. 

Located in the heart of the prairies, the city is home to about 300,000 people, has one of the most diversified economies in the country, producing products and services that are in demand throughout the world. With a solid infrastructure, natural resources, research and development facilities, and a well-educated workforce, the Saskatoon region is continually creating new opportunities for business and individuals. 

There are six dominant industries within the region, including mining/energy, manufacturing, transportation, life sciences, construction and agriculture. Wages in the Saskatoon region are competitive when compared with the rest of the province and country. In large part due to low housing costs and good wages, people in Saskatoon have a good standard of living compared to more expensive cities.

For more information on living in Saskatoon: Life in Saskatoon | 



Please direct your questions, with the requisition number (12863) to:


Telephone: 613-314-6733

Closing Date: 4 October 2021 - 23:59 Eastern Time



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