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Research Assistant & Technical Writer, ESSA Technologies Ltd, Vancouver.

ESSA Technologies Ltd. (ESSA) is an employee-owned Canadian environmental consulting company with offices in British Columbia and Ontario. For over 35 years, ESSA has been tackling, reducing and resolving complex natural resource and environmental management problems in over 40 countries around the world. ESSA’s mission is to bring together people, science and analytical tools to sustain healthy ecosystems and human communities. We accomplish this mission by working collaboratively with our clients and colleagues in a manner that is professionally fulfilling and healthy. At ESSA, we are passionate about what we do and enjoy working with professionals who share our values and mission. ESSA is conveniently located on Granville Street near West Broadway in Vancouver, B.C. Learn more about us at

The Opportunity

Due to a retirement, we are seeking a motivated, service-oriented and highly skilled Research Assistant & Technical Writer to support our project teams. The scope of responsibilities includes: research and information synthesis; complex documentation support; maintenance of current archives (corporate cataloguing/reference systems); assistance with proposal development; reviewing and editing scientific/technical content in project reports; recording/writing up workshop proceedings; assisting with the development of marketing materials; writing user documentation.

The role requires excellent technical writing skills and advanced computer skills in document mastering (e.g., Word, Adobe, common graphics file operations).

Specific responsibilities include:

Business development support

  • Search online tendering services for business opportunities relevant to ESSA’s corporate business plan; circulate relevant postings to staff; download and track the status of requested proposal documentation; download and circulate addenda as needed.
  • Assist with proposal writing as needed by: preparing a proposal template document with mandatory and rated criteria to guide the proposal writing team; contributing corporate experience content; reviewing the final proposal and conducting a technical/copy edit.


  • Conduct literature searches, summarize relevant information, keep records of associated metadata; use literature search results to write content for reports; search online for PDF versions of publications requested by other professional staff; summarize/manipulate data with formulas, pivot tables, graphing; extract data from Access or SQL Server into Excel.
  • Conduct beta testing on ESSA’s custom decision support systems, which includes: systematically exploring the menus and options of the tool; thoroughly documenting “bugs”; reporting all findings to the developers in sufficient detail to enable them to reproduce the bugs and fix them.

 Writing, editing and document preparation

  • Prepare document templates; compile and review material for complex multi-authored reports; conduct professional master document formatting (Word 2010+, creating and working with PDF files); trouble-shoot formatting issues.
  • Review and edit report content for clarity of expression, flow, sentence structure, language level, grammar, content styling, etc; flag technical errors/inconsistencies for report writers; ensure written work products are easy to understand for a multi-disciplinary audience.
  • Develop user documentation for ESSA’s software tools (manuals, instructional tutorials); incorporate photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts to increase users’ understanding.

The role requires a Bachelors or Master’s degree in the natural/life or social sciences plus a minimum of 5 years’ recent experience fulfilling a similar role. Strong ability to understand the topic at hand (fish/wildlife and marine ecology, climate change, environmental assessment, species at risk, etc.) is very important. The skills and abilities required are:

  • Excellent English writing and communication skills; familiarity with scientific writing style.
  • Superlative, fastidious attention to detail to catch errors/omissions and internal inconsistencies of form in written content, formatting errors, and structural problems in documentation.
  • Able to clearly explain technical material to specific target audiences.
  • Strong research skills utilizing on-line libraries, journals, and reports.
  • Computer Skills:
    • Advanced skill with Word 2010+, e.g., automated TOC and lists of tables/figures, captions, cross-references, columns and tables, graphics, pagination, section breaks, formatting styles, etc.
    • Intermediate+ Excel skills, i.e., data manipulation/summary with formulas, pivot tables, graphing.
    • Advanced skill with Bluebeam or Adobe Acrobat, e.g., generating high quality PDF files, editing PDF files by adding headers/footers, fine-tuning text, inserting/deleting pages, etc.
    • Experience with web-based authoring, e.g., Google Sites.
  • Highly versatile with strong organizational skills and the ability to multi-task.
  • Proactive and results oriented, with strong problem solving skills.
  • Ability to work with little instruction/supervision and to work effectively and collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams.

Assets include:

  • Experience with Access and SQL Server.
  • Familiarity with updating WordPress web pages.
  • Spanish and/or French language skills.


We welcome candidates looking for an opportunity to work on interesting and challenging projects with a welcoming team of highly skilled professionals. We offer a competitive compensation package that includes benefits and profit sharing. We will consider the successful candidate’s preference for a 4 or 5 day work week based on experience, mutual interests and fit.

Please email a cover letter and résumé to by June 30, 2015 with “Research Assistant/Technical Writer” in the subject line. We will review all applications and conduct interviews with select candidates in July. The successful candidate will join ESSA on or about September 1, 2015.


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