University of Waterloo

Problem Lab Researcher

Requisition ID 2021-6682
Job Category
Employment Type
Time Type
Hiring Range
$57,962 - $72,453


Term: 1 year


The Problem Lab's sole mandate is to help our students find and understand important problems. Through presentations, workshops, events and online resources, the Problem Lab's methodology and analyses serve the entire UW community: start-ups can see greater opportunities, graduate and doctoral students can better define transformational research opportunities, undergraduate students can craft more meaningful senior projects and both co-op students and our graduates can make more significant contributions to their employers.


The Problem Lab Researcher will report directly to the Problem Lab Director, performing Problem Lab-specific research tasks, presentations, and general duties related to organizational support and support for students.


This role is contingent on funding.



  • Responsible for seeking, reviewing and collecting a wide range of information, both current and historical, related to selected problems of scale and consequence, with the intent to identify and frame the problem and research the relevant factors

  • The incumbent will consult a wide range of scholarly sources, the curated senior business media, relevant social media sources, and must ensure that the information collected is accurate, representative and includes all key effects and determinants of the problem selected

  • Analyze the information collected in order to provide an in-depth understanding of the problem, including its context, history, key participants, effects and potential effects

  • The incumbent ensures that the analysis explicitly includes the description of past attempts to solve the problem and reasons why these attempts failed

  • The Problem Lab Researcher will need to be conducting several analyses simultaneously, and will be required to manage their time accordingly, at times working to competing demands and priorities



  • Present the analysis of the problem in a variety of digital and physical documents and formats, using student accessible language with sources fully cited

  • Presentations should be professional and attractive, incorporating engaging media and design techniques where appropriate


Student Support

  • Provide mentorship to students who wish to identify problems for a potential employer, and analyze solutions and how value can be added

  • Assist students in their interpretation of Problem Lab documents, tools and resources and help students conduct their own problem analyses, teaching appropriate research techniques and how to locate relevant sources, as well as how to compile reports, research findings, and presentation of the results if appropriate

  • Provide additional support to students when time sensitive needs arise, responding to students in a timely manner, and following through as appropriate


  • Undergraduate degree in a social science, with academic experience doing scholarly and/or field research
  • Previous experience in social science research, including in co-operative education placements would be an asset
  • Experience creating professional presentations and research reports would be an asset
  • Experience mentoring students and familiarity with student needs is an asset
  • Demonstrated ability to manage one’s time, prioritizing multiple demands and competing requests for time and support from clients

  • Familiarity with relevant social science research sources, and the ability to distinguish between relevant/accurate information and irrelevant/inaccurate information

  • Current knowledge about the local entrepreneurial culture and community would be an asset

  • Intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Word, advanced knowledge of Excel, and moderate knowledge of PowerPoint

Equity Statement

The University of Waterloo is committed to implementing the Calls to Action framed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.


The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion.  As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.


All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.


The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any application, interview, or workplace accommodation requests, please contact Human Resources at or 519-888-4567, ext. 45935.


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