Scientific IT Specialist at Perimeter Institute

More info:  external link
Location:  Waterloo, ON, Canada

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) seeks a creative individual with experience in both scientific research and information technology (IT) to fill a new hybrid research / IT position within the Institute. The successful applicant will bring his / her own vision to the position and help define it. A key aspect of the position is to assist PI’s scientific staff in making effective use of IT resources. We expect this position’s activities to evolve over time as needs and opportunities arise.

The initial mandate of the position is twofold. First, directly assisting Researchers in their use of IT resources and improving their ability to use currently known and available tools. Second, provide leadership by introducing Researchers to the best new IT resources that are available to them. This would include defining and sharing knowledge regarding these practices with the rest of the worldwide theoretical physics community, furthering PI’s role as a community resource. This includes but is not limited to: the use of end-user software, software coding, collaboration technologies, and social networking tools. On a case-by-case basis, the successful applicant may also negotiate a fraction of his / her time for use in independent research.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:
• Act as a knowledge broker among Researchers. That is, find and test new programs and practices, advertise them, and be prepared to train others in their use
• Research and follow up on suggestions made by others regarding new software packages, equipment, etc. and their applicability to PI’s research;
• Participate in the creation of a “standard”, yet highly productive, Researcher IT environment (desktop hardware, software set-up), maximizing the use of open source software and/or popular commercial packages;
• As demand dictates, be a liaison with SHARCNET (or other HPC) resources. Be ready to help researchers to gain the expertise available at these facilities. Assist with the deployment and management of any PI large scale computing clusters.
• Work with other IT staff to refine standard IT service and support to better suit PI’s scientific community
• Bring or quickly develop an expert level knowledge in the use of the main packages used by Researchers, including Mathematica, Maple, LaTeX, etc.;
• Bring in depth knowledge of Linux and to a lesser extent Windows/Mac to assist Researchers with technical problems; participate in architectural planning for efficient use of IT throughout a research program

Candidate Profile:

A PhD or PhD-level experience in Physics, Math, Computer Science or closely related discipline which necessitated the in depth use of IT resources

• Familiarity and comfort with scientific / scientist culture and operating procedures
• Extensive experience conducting research in Physics (preferred) or a closely related discipline; i.e., direct familiarity with research processes
• Expert level IT skills, particularly with respect to Researcher end user applications
• Experience working in a team environment in a support role
• Ideally, operational experience in IT systems

Leadership Skills, Knowledge and Attributes
• A positive, outgoing personality with a genuine interest in engaging Researchers and assisting them to improve their use of IT
• Dynamic, quick-learner who can deal easily with the rapidly changing demands and possibilities of IT technology and researcher needs
• Able to build strong relationships within the Research community and become a trusted, expert advisor
• Strong verbal and written skills. The candidate must be able to demonstrate and communicate improved ways of using IT through a variety of media and presentation methods
• Ability to advocate for the effective use of technology within the research community both within PI and externally
• Teamwork-oriented problem solving attitude

Qualified and interested applicants are invited to apply online at under the “Careers” section by Friday, December 11, 2009.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority