Research Technician in the Integrative Community Ecology Unit (Armitage Unit)

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST; see is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The university is located on 85 hectares of protected forestland overlooking beautiful shoreline and coral reefs. The campus is striking architecturally, and the facilities are outstanding (OIST campus video tour). There are no academic departments, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. Outstanding resources and equipment are provided and managed to encourage easy access and collaboration. English is the official language of the University, and the university research community is fully international, with more than 50 countries represented. OIST is rapidly gaining recognition in the worldwide academic community as a model for excellence in education and research.


1919‐1 Tancha, Onna‐son, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495


Position summary:

The recently-established Integrative Community Ecology Unit at OIST is recruiting a full-time technician to support data collection and analysis on projects concerning the biogeography of species interactions — particularly those between plants and microorganisms.

Duties will include performing DNA extractions and preparing samples for sequencing, making gnotobiotic plant and microbial cultures, husbandry and curation of plants and microbial strains in the lab, and working closely with other lab members in support of their research projects when needed. There will also be many opportunities to assist with fieldwork on Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan and to obtain additional training in particular instrumentation or protocols.

The successful candidate will be self-directed, eager to learn, and capable of working closely with others as well as independently. Prior experience with DNA sequence preparation and analysis is required, while some combination of skills in axenic microbial technique, plant husbandry, scientific programming, and field ecology is desired.


Unit summary:

We employ theory-informed experiments to mechanistically identify how species interactions — such as competition and mutualism — vary over time and space to influence population dynamics and ecosystem functioning. Our research agenda is community ecology-focused but values the diversity of backgrounds and expertise, hence the “integrative” in our name.



1. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Biology, Microbiology, Environmental Science, or any related discipline.
2. Experience with DNA sequence analysis (extraction, PCR, quality control, sequencing).
3. Proficiency in spoken and written English.
4. Ability to learn, apply, and modify new lab techniques as the need arises.
5. Excellent organizational and record-keeping skills.


1. Experience in one or more of the following topics is desirable, but not required:
    a) Axenic laboratory technique
    b) Isolation and culturing of microorganisms
    c) Plant husbandry
    d) Field ecology research – preferably related to plants and/or microbes

2. Working proficiency in statistical and/or bioinformatic programming (R, Unix, etc.).

3. Proficiency (or an interest in becoming proficient) in the Japanese language.

4. Desire to assist with fieldwork in tropical conditions.


Prof. David Armitage (PI of Integrative Community Ecology Unit)


Summer 2021, but very flexible


Term: Full-time, fixed term appointment for 2 years (w/3-month probationary period). This contract is renewable.

Working hours: 9:00-17:30 (Discretionary)


In accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations

Relocation, housing and commuting allowances
Annual paid leave and summer holidays
Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid )
Welfare pension insurance (kousei-nenkin)
Worker's accident compensation insurance (roudousha-saigai-hoshou-hoken)


To apply, please email your submission documents as a single PDF file to Dave Armitage at the following address: david.armitage[at] with the subject header “Technician Application <your name>”

(Please replace [at] with @ before using this email address)

Informal inquiries prior to applying are welcome.


In a single PDF, please include the following:

1). A cover letter describing your fit for the position, your research background, and any other relevant information.
2). Your curriculum vitae
3). The names and contact information of three references, at least one of whom should be a former employer. Reference letters are not necessary at this point.


Review of applications will begin on March 1, and will continue until the position is filled.


  • OIST Graduate University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, students and staff. The University strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.
  • Information provided by applicants or references will be kept confidential, documents will not be returned. All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications.
  • Please view OIST policy for rules on external professional activities
  • Further details about the University can be viewed on the OIST website