Job descriptions

Classified staff have job descriptions that outline the scope of their job. There is a position in our group that is classified as Scientific Instrument Technician. The OUS website has details on this Scientific Instrument Tech classification.

Technicians play an important role in research groups. This role is described well in a recent feature in Nature Magazine.

As part of the hiring process a specific job description is created. The following job description was written for our group:


Position Summary

This scientific instrument tech 1 position is in the research group of Prof. Ethan Minot in the Department of Physics. The employee will provide instrument support and device fabrication support for nanoelectronics research. The position is funded by research grants.

Position Duties

30% Research Development and Analysis: Assists higher level analysts by gathering and compiling raw data from instruments including an atomic force microscope, optical microscope and electrical probe station.

5% Purchasing: In consultation with faculty investigators, determine the desired specifications for equipment that is to be purchased or constructed. Obtain quotes for the needed equipment.

20% Design: Under guidance by faculty investigators make detailed computer aided design (CAD) drawings for these micro and nanoelectronic devices. Under guidance by scientific faculty investigator design new chemical vapor deposition systems. Under guidance by faculty investigator, design and write software for controlling scientific equipment and instruments such as chemical vapor deposition systems and electrical probe stations.

30% Fabrication: Perform all duties required to fabricate micro and nanoelectronic devices. Typical tasks include photolithography, reactive-ion etching, thermal evaporation, electron-beam evaporation, chemical vapor deposition of carbon-based materials. Construct or refurbish equipment such as thin-film deposition systems. Fabricate simple mechanical parts in a machine shop such as brackets for holding equipment.

5% Preventive Maintenance: Maintain equipment such as chemical vapor deposition systems and vacuum pumps.

10% Consultation: Provide students with training on the standard operating procedures for fabrication processes and metrology techniques. This will include photolithography, atomic force microscopy, chemical vapor deposition and thin-metal-film deposition.

Decision making guidelines

The employee is expected to decide:

  • Which companies should be contacted to obtain quotes.
  • What maintenance schedule is appropriate for a given piece of equipment.
  • When a new user is qualified to use equipment on their own.
  • When has a refurbish or build project has reached a satisfactory stage of completion.
  • Which of multiple projects has highest priority.
  • When an instrument is malfunctioning.
  • When a faculty investigator needs to be contacted to assess a situation.


Position Summary

Graduate research assistants typically work on a faculty research project. The money that is funding the research is also funding the assistantship position. The research grant market is highly competitive, and funding agencies expect results, thus your professors need the most motivated graduate assistants who are capable of getting the work done, communicating results, and being a team player. In exchange, you get hands-on experience with cutting-edge research in your field of interest. You may eventually be able to tailor your duties to conduct specific research that leads to the completion of your degree.

Assistantship appointments range from 0.20 FTE to 0.49 FTE (FTE meaning full-time employment). An assistant on a 0.30 FTE appointment, for example, is expected to provide 156 hours of service during a 13-week academic term. When a student is offered an assistantship, the administering academic department provides the details of the appointment (e.g. contract dates, FTE, monthly stipend, expectations of position). Contact your department for more information on possible assistantship positions available in your graduate program.

Position Duties

  • To perform the full duties of service as determined by their departments,
  • To be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours each term of their appointment during the academic year (9 credits during the summer), and
  • To be making satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree.
  • Please note, audit registrations and enrollment in OSU Extended Campus courses may not be used to satisfy enrollment requirements for graduate assistant salary/stipend, tuition remission, or health insurance benefits.

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