Stellebosch University

Stellenbosch University

Central Analytical Facilities

Staff Scientist: Electron Microscopy

(Ref. SAF/266/0919)

The Central Analytical Facility (CAF) at Stellenbosch University is a rather unique comprehensive core facility which employs approximately 40 members of staff, supporting a wide range of analytical facilities. The aim of the CAF is to ensure optimal utilisation of expensive multi-user research equipment in the service of the research community at Stellenbosch University, and the South African research and development sector in general.

The Electron Microscopy (EM) Unit of CAF houses state-of-the-art EM equipment, including a Zeiss Merlin FESEM with S-TEM, EDS, CL, SE, BSE and cryo capabilities, a Zeiss EVO MA15 analytical SEM which includes EDS, WDS, SE, BSE and a cryo stage, a LEO Variable Pressure-SEM which includes SE, BSE and CL detectors, as well as a state-of-the-art ThermoScientific Apreo Volumescope with in situ ultramicrotome for 3D imaging. Additionally we house a Zeiss Axioimager with Zeiss’s Shuttle-and-Find system for correlative imaging of light and electron microscopy (CLEM). The Unit operates laboratories on both the Stellenbosch Campus and the Tygerberg (medical) Campus of the University.

This recruitment seeks to appoint a manager for the CAF EM Unit. The ideal candidate will have significant experience in managing EM facilities in support of research and will have proven experience in analytical electron microscopy, including the analysis of either or both biological materials and hard materials. The incumbent will have a publication record reflecting experience in one or more of the EM modalities that are important to Stellenbosch University. These are: CL imaging of minerals; EDS analysis of synthetic and natural minerals; WDS analysis of synthetic and natural minerals; SE imaging and particle/fibre size and morphology characterisation; STEM imaging; 3D serial block-face imaging; BSE imaging of compositional variation; Chemical mapping; CLEM. This person will have the necessary scientific vision to plan the future expansion of services of the facility. They will have the necessary technical experience to drive successful competitive grant applications for new equipment. They will have excellent interpersonal skills so as to be able to manage the staff of the unit and the training and capacity building activities that the unit performs. Note that the job requirements published below are somewhat below this “ideal candidate” profile. This is to also cover applications from recent PhD graduates with a less experienced profile, but who are sufficiently outstanding academically that the selection committee might be convinced that they could manage a core facility. If you are a recent PhD graduate with relevant expertise, lots of enthusiasm for electron microscopy and an exceptional accademic record, please consider submitting an application.


The incumbent will be responsible for all aspects of the functioning of the EM Unit and the management of its staff, including:

  • Overseeing the proficient operation of all Electron Microscopes within the EM Unit;
  • Overseeing correct sample preparation for application in Geological, Engineering, Biological, Materials and Medical Sciences;
  • Strategic planning of the imaging and analytical functions of the unit so that research at Stellenbosch University is optimally served whilst accommodating sufficient industry users that the facility functions cost-effectively;
  • Ensuring the development of key strategic services such as quantitative micro-elemental analysis for major and trace elements in the hard materials realm and 3D serial block-face imaging in the biological realm;
  • Ensuring quality control on reports to industry;
  • Ensuring efficient managing of data storage and user access control;
  • Planning and developing grant applications for new equipment;
  • Presenting results at local meetings and national conferences;
  • Publication of novel methods and findings in accredited journals;
  • Managing the unit’s training of students in EM operation and application of analytical software;
  • Ensuring adequate maintenance of electron microscopes and ancillary equipment such as coating and drying apparatus, pumps, water chillers and UPS systems;
  • Financial management of the unit to ensure that it operates cost effectively;
  • Communicating with service engineers from various manufacturers to ensure efficient maintenance, operation and training on current and new equipment.


  • MSc or PhD in a relevant field, note that candidates with an MSc qualification will be expected to have at least three years’ experience in the management of SEM facilities;
  • Experience in the operation of Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) and relevant sample preparation for both SEM and TEM;
  • Relevant research experience in electron microscopy, as evidenced by publications in accredited journals that were a direct result of the applicant’s own work;
  • Good communication skills;
  • Expertise in technical aspects of Electron Microscopy;
  • Expertise in one of more of the key services provided by the unit, as evidenced by publications in peer reviewed journals, i.e. CL imaging of minerals; EDS analysis of synthetic and natural minerals; WDS analysis of synthetic and natural minerals; SE imaging and particle/fibre size and morphology characterisation; STEM imaging; 3D serial block-face imaging; BSE imaging of compositional variation; Chemical mapping; CLEM;
  • Enthusiasm for Electron Microscopy;
  • Excellent communications and report writing skills in English.


  • Bi- or multilingualism in languages relevant to the Stellenbosch research community (South African indigenous languages, German, French, and Portuguese being most relevant).

Commencement of duties: 1 November 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter

Closing date: 14 October 2019

Enquiries regarding this post: G Stevens on 021 808 3127, or at

Enquiries regarding remuneration/benefits as well as technical assistance with the electronic application process: Human Resources Client Services Centre on 021 808 2753

The University will consider all applications in terms of its Employment Equity Plan, which acknowledges the need to diversify the demographic composition of the staff corps, especially with regard to the appointment of suitable candidates from the designated groups.

The University reserves the right not to make an appointment.

Your application, comprising a comprehensive curriculum vitae (including the names and e-mail address of at least three referees), must reach the University before or on the closing date of the advertised post.

Apply online at

The University reserves the right to investigate qualifications and conduct background checks on all candidates.

Should no feedback be received from the University within four weeks of the closing date, kindly accept that your application did not succeed.