We are recruiting a post-doc, lab manager, and a PhD student for start dates in 2024.
Posting at bottom of page.
I am always interested in discussing opportunities with motivated students and post-docs.
Whenever we have specific positions available, they are posted at the bottom of this page.
Please read through this page before contacting me as it contains important information.
Some highlights of working with us...
Fieldwork in stunning places.
A word about funding
Funding is THE single most limiting barrier when it comes to joining an academic research group in Canada. I'm posting this section because I am committed to open and honest communication about how funding works, what you can expect in my lab, and what is expected from people joining the lab.
Explanation, advice, and expectations
Note: This section is mainly for prospective graduate students and post-docs but it is important for undergraduate students to also have a general sense of the funding situation in Canada well ahead of applying for graduate studies.
You should enter a graduate program (any program in the world) with a clear understanding of how much funding is available to you, where this funding comes from (as there are implications for you in terms of what is required of you), what fees you will have to pay (on top of living expenses), and having assessed your finances and made a financial plan for yourself.
Here is some general information about how it works for Biology at uOttawa (and many other institutions in Canada) but note that for the most accurate and up-to-date information, refer to the university website:
At uOttawa, graduate students are guaranteed a minimum level of support. The typical graduate stipend for a student is made up of 1) salary you are paid as a teaching assistant and 2) a guaranteed minimum level of stipend support from grants that your supervisor holds. I aim to top students up beyond the minimum amount but extra support is contingent upon your success with scholarship applications and/or my success with grant applications(see below) and is not guaranteed if applications are still pending when you start your program.
Unless you receive an entrance tuition award, you will pay tuition from the support offered to you, as well as student fees. Note: Masters students from outside of Canada pay substantially more in tuition than Canadian students; Currently international PhD students with a high GPA are offered a tuition award that covers most of the extra international fees. And of course, you'll need to pay living expenses on top of this.
I may not be able to take a student if I do not have have existing funds to meet the minimum guaranteed support (and even if I do, the situation may still be unaffordable depending on the financial situation of the student). Many promising students are turned away from labs in Canada for this reasons.
It is uncommon for me to have funding to support a full post-doc salary in the lab but please contact me to discuss potential upcoming opportunities and funding options.
So how can we make it work? (graduate students and post-docs)
First. Contact me (or any prospective supervisor) as early as possible because securing funding takes time (if a funded position is advertised, timelines are relaxed a bit but you'll still want to apply for major scholarships/fellowships, and those deadlines may be up to a year in advance of your program start).
Second.I expect students and post-docs to apply for external scholarships/fellowships (suggestions below). External scholarships are a clear way to guarantee that minimum required support levels are met but also provide significant top-up to students, especially those working on funded projects. Students and post-docs who receive external funding also have more flexibility in terms of being able to develop their own research projects within the main themes of the lab. These scholarship are important and I offer students and post-docs a lot of support during development of these applications.
Third. It's mostly going to come down to successful grant applications. Securing funding is a PI's responsibility but graduate students and post-docs have several roles to play. Here's what I expect and why:
Many grants have deliverables outside of standard student theses or academic papers. These are things we promise to accomplish and deliver to the funder in return for the funding. In our case, much of our funding is in exchange for data to support specific conservation goals. Students and post-docs funded off of these grants take on shared responsibility for these projects and have a major role to play in working diligently and efficiently to meet our deadlines in this regard. We run the risk of losing funding (and more importantly, could jeapordize conservation programs) when we fail to deliver on our grant promises.
Writing funding applications requires a substantial investment of time and PI time is at a premium. To free up my time for grant application development, I expect all lab members to work with a high level of independence, contribute to basic lab and project operations (helping to organize lab meetings, applying for the collection permits needed for your fieldwork, etc.), and to participate in the mentorship and training of new lab members (pass on the training you have received).
Depending on your project, there may be opportunties to apply for grants to support non-stipend research costs (see below). Effective grant writing is an important skill to develop in academic biology (and in other sectors, especially if you plan to do conservation work) and so I encourage students to apply for these grants. Furthermore, when students receive funds that help cover research costs, that frees up lab funds for salary top-ups, conferences, etc.
Finally, research costs what it costs but I expect everyone in the lab to help take care of lab equipment so that it lasts us longer and to avoid wasting supplies etc.
Some scholarship and grant opportunities
This is not an exhaustive list. I will update it over time but I also encourage prospective lab members do some digging to find other opportunities.
Marissa Baskett has a list of funding opportunities and all sort of other great resources here.
Talk to other students! Find out where they have found support!
How our recruitment process works
* undergraduates, scroll down to bottom of this section for relevant information
Get ready to reach out
Prospective graduate students: Because of the timelines for scholarship applications in Canada and evaluation of entrance awards at uOttawa, I strongly encourage you to reach out to me at least a year in advance of when you want to start. For example, for a September start, you'll want to reach out in the summer of the year prior. This timeline is relaxed for students who apply to work on funded projects (follow timelines in the posted position).
Prospective post-docs: Unless advertised, I do not have funding to cover post-doc salaries. Interested post-docs should contact me to discuss NSERC and other opportunities to develop a funding application (see above). These applications take time to develop and you will want to contact me at least six months before you are hoping to start and ideally in summer as most fellowship applications have fall deadlines.
The lab has a formal process for considering applicants. I am not able to respond to inquiries until I receive the following information:
1) A statement clearly outlining your research interests and career goals
2) A statement explaining how your previous experiences and training have prepared you to undertake the type of work we do in my lab. I do not expect your experiences to be perfectly tailored to current research projects in the lab but I am looking for specific insight as to how your previous coursework or training may apply to graduate studies/project work in my lab, especially if you are coming from outside of Ecology, Evolution, or Conservation Biology.
3) Your CV and transcripts (official transcripts are not needed)
I will do my best to respond within a week (feel free to remind me after that as emails sometimes get lost).
Applicants whose research interests and experience seem to be a good fit for the lab will subsequently be asked to submit a one-page proposal outlining potential work they could undertake in the lab as well as the contact information for three referees. This will launch the formal application process.
Meet the team
I meet with applicants one-on-one. During this meeting, I will tell you a bit more about the lab and ask you a set of standard questions aimed at getting to know more about your interests and experiences, approach to research, and what you are looking to get out of your time in the lab. You will also have a chance to ask me any questions about my style, the lab, uOttawa, etc.
Following this meeting, we arrange for a separate meeting with the rest of the lab. Usually during this meeting, we ask applicants to give a 15-30 minute talk about their previous research (recycled conference talks are fine!). This brings the lab up to speed on your interests and experiences. I leave after the talk to give applicants an opportunity to meet with current lab members and to "interview the lab". It is also an important opportunity for current lab members to get to know applicants and have a say in who we recruit--afterall students spend a lot of time working with one another and should have a say during recruitment.
For post-docs, this is typically the final step!
Apply to graduate studies at uOttawa
The final step is a formality for applicants who are invited to join the lab.
The typical deadlines for application to the biology program at uOttawa is February 1 for a May or September start and September 1 for a January start. Applications can be submitted outside of these dates but students are not guaranteed consideration for an entrance tuition award if they miss these deadlines.
To apply, you will be required to submit:
a copy of your NSERC, OGS proposal or equivalent style proposal
letters of support from two referees
Undergraduates make meaningful contributions to our research program and we are excited to work with junior students! Here's how you can get involved in research in the lab!
We are happy to consider work study and co-op students. Students enrolled in those programs should keep an eye out for ads at the appropriate times during the year.
On occassion we have part-time technician positions available outside of these programs. When available, these positions will be advertised below. We do not work with students on a volunteer-basis. However, we occassionally invite students to participate in one-off field or lab events to "test out the waters".
Outside of formally advertised positions, I'm always happy to talk about research with uOttawa students so feel free to reach out!
The lab is happy to work with two or three Honour's Thesis students each year. Students in the co-op program or who are eligible for an NSERC USRA are encouraged to email me in January of the Fall before their Honour's project to explore the possibility of engaging in data collection in the summer before their official Honour's course begins.
Funding opportunities for Undergraduates
Click here to learn more about funding opportunities for uOttawa undergraduates.
NSERC Undergraudate Summer Research Awards (open to Canadian students from any institution; these awards are very competitive typically awarded to students with GPA equivalent of +90% average)
uOttawa Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (open to second and third year students, including international students).
Post-doc: We are recruiting a post-doc with experience analyzing genomic data to address questions in evolutionary ecology and conservation. (January 2024 start preferred). Please click here for details.
PhD: We have openings for PhD students who want to work on projects within any of the major lab themes. I am especially interested in students who are interested in conservation or population genomics (May or September 2024 start).
Lab Manager: We are recruiting a lab manager to start in January 2024. Please email me for details.