University of Waterloo

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Director, Research Ethics

Director, Research Ethics

Requisition ID 
Job Category  
5470 - Office of Research
Job Status 
Regular Full-Time
Hiring Range 
$106,045 - $132,557

More information about this job


The incumbent has two distinct sets of primary responsibilities. In this role, the incumbent is required to:

  • serve as a key point of contact and ethical expert (i.e. Director, Research Ethics) for all ethics compliance activities involving research
  • provides overall operational strategy for the Central Animal Facility (CAF) while also overseeing animal care technical services to four satellite facilities


Through active participation at a senior level in national organizations and committees (e.g. Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards, Canadian Council on Animal Care), the incumbent will participate in policy development at both national and provincial levels and contribute to the evolution of research ethics and practices in other universities and research institutes across Canada.


Establishes institution - wide direction and priorities for the ethical conduct of research

  • Monitors the status of our current policies and practices relative to best practices in other institutions and ensures uW is at the leading edge
  • Translates organizational strategy into functional tactics and operating guidelines
  • Keeps key institutional stakeholders (e.g. Secretariat, Deans, Chairs, researchers) informed of ethical matters arising in both national and international jurisdictions which have institution - wide implications
  • Participates in the development of the long-term vision and planning for the organization (e.g., risk management survey) and the Research Office
  • Develops the annual plans for ORE, operating budgets, revenue targets and priorities for both the Office of Research Ethics and the Central Animal Facility
  • Participates as a member of Senate Graduate and Research Council to advise on ethical implications of matters brought forward for approval and to recommend nominations to ethics committees to ensure appropriate staffing
  • Participates on the Survey Research Centre Board of Directors as the Vice President University Research (VPUR) designate
  • Participates on the Laboratory Safety Committee
  • Provides ethical perspective to other Research Office Directors and VPUR to inform communications with other national bodies and agencies (e.g., CAURA, CCAC, CASRAI)
  • Participates in monthly Senior Management/Directors Meetings within the Research Office to keep abreast of organizational needs and evolving trends

Develops, implements and achieves annual plans for both the ORE and the CAF (and satellites) to facilitate ethical research

  • Ensures the annual plans are delivered efficiently and on time
  • Develops, monitors, approves and adheres to expenses anticipated in the annual ORE and CAF administrative budgets and revenue targets
  • Develops per diems for the CAF including revenue and expense projections
  • Ensures the effective and efficient daily operations of the CAF and ORE. The ORE supports the work of approximately 5500 researchers at any one time and manages approximately 2600 files per year
  • Ensures effective and safe management and usage of the CAF facilities and equipment ($6.8 M investment)
  • Develops appropriate metrics and reporting mechanisms to track performance against objectives
  • Ensures appropriate IT available to facilitate effective and efficient processing of research ethics applications


Ensures the delivery of ethical review services and other resources as required to faculties and departments to:

  • Ensure human and animal research protocols conform to compliance requirements at international, national and provincial levels
  • Ensure systems and processes provide accurate and timely feedback and approvals
  • Monitor the performance of three research ethics boards (i.e. Human Research Ethics Committee, Clinical Research Ethics Committee and Animal Care Committee) and delegated reviews conducted by the Psychology Delegated Ethical Review committee and ORE staff. As well, the Director will
  • oversee coordinated reviews with other institutions, for example, Western University and Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Ensure each committee has a governance structure and operational practices which fully comply with TCPS and CCAC requirements and best practices among other U15 universities
  • Ensure staff and committee members are sufficiently trained and competent to assess the full range of research protocols involving humans and animals
  • Ensure delegated review processes are established to provide expedited review without compromising quality or consistency
  • Develop all guidelines, policies and procedures to govern the ethical review of human and animal research
  • Ensure appropriate technical expertise is available to committees on ad-hoc basis as required

Oversight of institution - wide communications including, but not limited to:

  • Annual ORE newsletter
  • Ensure delivery of over 15 training programs every semester for animal and human researchers
  • ORE website
  • Departmental guidelines, policies and standards
  • Researcher process to submit human and animal protocols
  • Researcher and committee feedback

Ensures the effective utilization, deployment and development of people and capital resources

  • Deploys staff to most productively meet department goals and objectives
  • Coaches, trains and develops employees to assure growth and development of those individuals
  • Approves annual performance plans and conducts regular reviews with direct reports, and ensures adherence to annual performance planning and review process within the department
  • Approves and controls the hiring, staffing, promotion, discipline and termination of department employees

Represents Senior Management and the VPUR

  • Liaises externally with professional, community and government organizations, and agencies on behalf of the organization (e.g., Canadian Association of Research Ethics Boards (national and Ontario, Canadian Council on Animal Care Assessment Panels, Canadian Association of University Research Administrators, Clinical Trials Ontario, Tri-agency Panel on Research Ethics, CASRAI)
  • Supports, communicates, and reinforces the mission, values, philosophy, and culture of the organization


  • Advanced degree or equivalent combination of education, experience which provides strong knowledge of an academic research environment
  • Completion of a research-oriented Ph.D. would be an asset
  • Specific post-secondary education in general management or business-oriented disciplines would be an asset
  • 10+ years of progressive management experience with a proven track record of achievement and success in large, complex organizations at a mid-management level or above
  • Previous experience interpreting legal statutes and regulations is required
  • Specific training in the technical compliance requirements associated with both human (i.e. spanning the full range of clinical to social science to medical device testing protocols and methodologies) and animal (i.e. up to Level 2 Biohazard) research requirements (i.e., TCPS 2, ICH:
  • GCP, CCAC)
  • Previous experience as Chair or member of a Research Ethics Board or Animal Care Committee involving policy development would be an asset
  • Required technical competencies include strategic planning and business planning, business process analysis, project management, policy development, people-management, Well-developed interpersonal, organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to understand complex research methodologies, protocols and statistics
  • A high degree of creativity and independence of thought, astuteness, autonomy, negotiation skills and situational problem - solving ability are required for effective performance
  • Demonstrated ability to manage collegially, motivate staff and achieve consensus on complex, multifaceted issues