Director, Research Security

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Waterloo (Region), Ontario (CA)
24 Dec 2021
End of advertisement period
23 Jan 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

Director, Research Security


Reporting to the Associate Vice-President, Research and International, the Director, Research Security is responsible for identifying, developing, and implementing strategies to meet the security objectives of the University of Waterloo relating to research, as well as international and commercialization activities within the portfolio of the Vice President Research and International (VPRI). The Director is responsible for engaging and assessing with government officials on the identification and mitigation of research security threats. The Director will serve as a resource to senior leadership for best practices regarding research security, including data governance and activities of the Research Security Working Group. The Director ensures awareness and understanding, and appropriate application of the University’s policies and procedures regarding legal protection of IP and export control.


Leads the strategic direction of the Research Security portfolio

  • Leads the VPRI’s efforts to examine, advocate and advance research security matters in research, internationalization, and commercialization at the University by engaging with all levels of the University and Divisions
  • Engages with the University community to explore, understand and address issues of research security matters within research, international and commercialization activities as they relate to faculty and research staff
  • Works at a strategic level to promote research security within the University, takes a strategic role in change management processes, provides advice to VPRI and the senior leadership team on research security practices and processes
  • Provides leadership and direction in strategic planning activities to advance research security-related goals, working closely with the Vice-President, Research and International and senior leadership
  • Drives the strategic direction based on a high-level of understanding of best practices in research security issues
  • Provides expert counsel to senior administrators, faculty, and staff on research security
  • Identifies new and significant opportunities for leadership, including educating the research community and pursuing potential new opportunities for collaborations, both internally and externally
  • Evaluates current policies, practices and programs and external research security requirements to ensure Waterloo meets and where possible exceeds current best practices
  • Supports the VPRI in liaising with other universities and with senior government officials regarding practices and approaches for safeguarding research
  • Identifies and cultivates appropriate relationships with key individuals across Canada, for example, in other U15 universities, and other strategic partners who have objectives and interests in research security
  • Leads the University’s broad research security strategy as it relates to all Research portfolios including, for example, Research Partnerships, Tri-Agency funding, Industrial Partnerships

 Responsible for the planning, implementation, delivery and monitoring of research security-related initiatives across the research, international and commercialization enterprises

  • Assesses, recommends and develops new strategies, initiatives, events and programs to promote research security across the University
  • Responsible for oversight of the planning, implementing, monitoring and reporting annually on research security
  • Employs project management approaches to ensure that research security strategies, events and initiatives are effectively and efficiently managed, including monitoring of information, logistics and progress, and reporting on project deliverables
  • Develops and assesses strategies to develop and support risk mitigation strategies with respect to research security issues for all members of the research community
  • Promotes the integration of research security-related considerations in research application practices, as well as practices related to commercialization
  • In consultation with senior leaders, integrates research security principles into large strategic research initiatives operating across the University, in support of administration and management of the research initiatives
  • Works with faculty and VPRI staff to ensure grant applications, and international agreements feature research security best practices exceeding sponsor requirements and research security considerations are applied to these enterprises
  • Maintains a strong understanding of the current literature and the legal and legislative frameworks related to research security, and conducts related research (e.g. literature reviews, needs assessments, data collection and analysis)

Leads the implementation of engagement and outreach strategies for advancing research security across the research, international and commercialization enterprise

  • Serves on VPRI committees and groups exploring challenges and barriers to advancing research security
  • Consults with senior decision-makers on a range of research security issues, ensuring the confidentiality and sensitivity of complex issues are appropriately managed
  • In consultation and collaboration with senior leaders, oversees the development of related training programs and workshops for faculty and staff. Contributes to activities designed to provide the broader research, international and commercialization community with knowledge and skills to address research security issues
  • Liaises with relevant, academic support units and the Office of the VPRI to oversee the development and delivery of education and training on a broad range of research security issues, with a particular emphasis on ensuring that such professional development and training is broadly available and accessible
  • Works with University Relations and provides advice to the VPRI Senior Leadership team on communication activity with regards to research, international and commercialization activities intersecting with matters of research security
  • Directs the development of research security-related communications materials used in research, international and commercialization activities, including VPRI websites and a variety of written materials. Contributes to newsletters, listservs, as appropriate, and other materials with a lens to matters of research security
  • Engages with external organizations, such as Public Safety Canada, and other institutions to contribute to internationally recognized best practices for safeguarding research
  • Act as an expert resource to ensure research security related issues are disseminated across campus
  • Builds strong relationships with staff and faculty to solicit input on key research security initiatives

Issues Management

  • Responsible for liaising with national security officials, monitoring the development of external threats, managing researcher files related to such threats
  • Triages issues of reputational significance to the University and works with the various Security Working Group or Senior Leader Team members or their designates to proactively and reactively manage security related issues of a broad nature
  • Evaluates emerging and longer term opportunities and threats with respect to research security
  • Monitors national and international research security media and briefs the VPRI as needed, with attention to implications from the standpoint of both internal and external stakeholders
  • Responds to and meets with broad range of internal and external individuals and groups, frequently related to matters of immediate security-related concern, and coordinates responses, solutions, and follow-up with the VPRI and other appropriate university officers


  • Master’s degree required – (Business Administration, Political Science, Public Policy) or equivalent combination of education and job experience
  • PhD considered an asset
  • Minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience in progressively senior positions addressing, leading and advancing research security within a research-intensive, or post-secondary environment or similar complex organization
  • Minimum of 3 years experience in project management and proven ability to align work priorities and realize strategic goals
  • Experience leading and supporting largescale change initiatives
  • Experience working with members of a senior leadership team on organization-wide committees and collaboratively with multiple stakeholders
  • Experience in collating and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data and information in order to draft reports, provide briefing materials and recommendations to a range of audiences including senior leadership
  • Extensive experience and knowledge of university policies and procedures and an understanding of the University’s organizational structure, including its governance is a strong asset
  • Development of policies/procedures/guidance documents related to research security is an asset
  • Established network of contacts in Canadian academia and/or federal and provincial governments
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the geo-political context relevant to research and innovation. The understanding of vulnerabilities to research and innovation security, cyber security, intellectual property and data governance
  • Innovative and strategic thinker with a broad vision for the role of research security in achieving institutional excellence
  • The intellectual acumen and approach that will facilitate credibility and foster trust and strong, productive working relationships
  • The professional confidence and communication skills to effectively engage community members on what can be contentious or delicate issues
  • A strong understanding of systemic issues and analysis of the legal and legislative frameworks related to research security
  • A high level of interpersonal skills and the capacity to listen effectively and sensitively to a broad range of diverse stakeholders, including faculty and staff members
  • The ability to conduct research of superior quality on improving research security at research intensive universities
  • Depth and breadth of knowledge of research funding programs, understanding of external funding and funding procedures is preferred
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral for the preparation of reports and making presentations
  • Good facilitation skills to lead groups to productive outcomes
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills
  • Ability to work on confidential and sensitive matters with tact and discretion
  • Ability to manage challenging conversations with stakeholders
  • Ability to work independently or in a team setting, with diverse individuals

Vaccination Requirement Statement

All employees and students of the University of Waterloo are required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation, in order to come to campus. You can provide proof of vaccination or apply for an accommodation on our Campus Check-in website. For more information, please refer to the University of Waterloo website: Vaccination Requirement.

How to Apply

The University of Waterloo is partnering with the search firm Perrett Laver on this appointment. For further information and details on how to apply, please download the Appointment Details via the Perrett Laver website by visiting and quoting reference 5532 Applications should consist of a cover letter and curriculum vitae. The closing date for applications is 12:00 noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, February 9th, 2022.

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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