Research Assistant

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Join our team studying the paleoclimate and marine geochemistry! Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Research Assistant to join the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department. This is a regular, full-time, non-exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.   This position is available for a period of up to two years from date of hire, with funding available through December 2025.  Desired approximate start date is March, 1 2023 or sooner.


We are seeking a scientifically curious, reliable, and detail-oriented individual to assist with a variety of lab- and field-related activities in the Hines and Dunlea labs. Our labs perform cutting-edge research on long-term climate change and how it relates to the ocean over major climate transitions.   The individual will assist with general research needs and activities. Responsibilities for prepping samples (fossil deep-sea corals, foraminifera, seawater, porewaters, and marine sediment from around the world) for analysis would include acid-cleaning labware; high precision weighing; pipetting; acid digestions; flux fusion digestions; and elemental separation for isotopic analysis. An ideal candidate would be diligent about documenting protocols used, data entry, and visualization of experimental results. Additional responsibilities would include analyzing element concentrations and isotopic ratios on mass or emission spectrometers under the supervision of facility staff and up-dating and maintaining a comprehensive database of marine sediment geochemistry.


Online application forms should be submitted with a cover letter and resume. In your cover letter, please include information about your previous lab experience, previous experience with Excel and/or other programming languages, and why you are interested in this position.  Also include contact information for at least 3 individuals who are willing to provide a reference for you.


This is a two-year position that could be an opportunity to help recent college/university graduates develop skills and transition into the geosciences workforce or graduate school. 


The internal working title for this position could be either Research Assistant II, or Research Assistant III. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience.  


Essential Functions


  • Executes designated research tasks, making use of selected laboratory experiments, equipment, data acquisition and processing, statistical analyses or other investigative techniques;
  • Prepares data or material for analysis or presentation using standard research techniques;
  • Processes, analyzes, and organizes data according to established technical procedures;
  • Maintains records and databases related to research and/or research equipment.
  • Communicates effectively with supervisors, particularly regarding prioritization of tasks and division of time between laboratories.



  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Education & Experience


  • Bachelor's degree in a STEM field.
  • Some (geo)chemistry lab experience.
  • Familiarity with Excel and/or programming languages (e.g., MATLAB, R, Python).


Desirable, but not required

  • Experience in trace-metal-free clean lab environments.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Ability to learn new techniques.
  • Ability to troubleshoot instrumentation.
  • Ability to work professionally with people from many different disciplines.
  • Ability to document methods and results.
  • Experience with data analysis.
  • Experience with database entry and management skills.
  • Excellent communication, critical thinking, time management, and organizational skills


Applicants who do not have this experience, but are willing to learn, are encouraged to apply.

Special Requirements

WHOI is a federal contractor required to comply with Executive Order 14042. As such, WHOI has enacted a Mandated COVID19 vaccination policy effective December 8, 2021 where you must register your vaccination status in order to begin your employment. The registration process entails confidentially submitting a vaccination card and/or your vaccination status or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason.  

Physical Requirements

The position will be split between computer work and lab work. Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to: ability to lift 25-50 lbs; and/or carry 10-25 lbs.  Visual abilities to include near, far, and peripheral. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions and communicate effectively. Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, and bending. Other occupational requirements include working around others, with others, and alone. Physical duties are subject to change.


Sea Duty



Possible opportunity to go to sea for field sampling, but this is not required for the position.


When at sea, may work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.


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