Associate Vice President Research and Scientific Director of the Ocean Frontier Institute

Halifax, Nova Scotia
Jul 13, 2017
Aug 12, 2017
Ocean Science
Career Level
Education Level
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type

Dalhousie University invites applications, expressions of interest and nominations for the position of Associate Vice President Research (AVPR) and Scientific Director of the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI). This is an outstanding opportunity to lead one of Dalhousie’s priority research areas, and to drive the development of a long-term research strategy for the world’s first truly transnational institute for interdisciplinary science at the ocean frontier. This leadership role will provide the successful candidate an opportunity to help fundamentally change the landscape of ocean sciences in Canada and internationally.

In 2014, Dalhousie established a strategic mandate to enhance its position as an innovative, leading research-intensive university with a mission to create a hub of world-leading research and innovation. Ocean studies is identified as a priority research area within its strategic research plan, based on Dalhousie’s recognition of its broad expertise in ocean research and education, its impressive existing ocean infrastructure and its leadership of numerous major initiatives. Ocean studies is an interdisciplinary research area drawing on expertise in oceanography, marine biology, earth sciences, atmospheric science, engineering, marine law, political science, environmental studies, and management. The ability to work effectively beyond institutional and regional boundaries is a widely recognized key characteristic of Dalhousie’s ocean research.

The OFI is an historic partnership between Dalhousie University, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Prince Edward Island, linking this expertise with eight major international ocean research institutes, as well as partners in industry and Canada’s federal laboratories and agencies. Its initial seven-year research program is focused on the “safe and sustainable development of the ocean frontier” and is supported by a major funding award from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). With considerable additional support from Dalhousie and its partners, as well as a significant private donation, the OFI is poised to conduct ground-breaking interdisciplinary research to drive ocean innovation. Areas of research will include ocean science, engineering, atmospheric science, data science, ocean law, governance and policy, with specific focus on the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and its connection to the eastern Arctic gateway. Additional information is available at

The AVPR will assist the Vice President Research in the realization of the University’s overall strategic research objectives in ocean studies.  Leading the OFI as its Scientific Director, the AVPR will work closely with its CEO to deliver on its CFREF-supported research program to create an enduring, world leading ocean research institute. This team will work with OFI’s Associate Scientific Director at Memorial University to achieve full implementation of this key partnership with Memorial and its researchers, and to enable the OFI to conduct large-scale international ocean research that will address the pressing issues of the ocean frontier. The AVPR and CEO will collaborate with all stakeholders to develop and realize a longer-term vision, strategy and funding for the Ocean Frontier Institute beyond the CFREF funding period. The AVPR will promote innovative modes of research and educational cooperation and personnel/infrastructure sharing with major international research centres.

The successful candidate will be a visionary leader with experience in building diverse and collaborative interdisciplinary research teams, relating to a range of internal and external partners, and securing new funding sources. Tenured as a full professor and reporting to the Vice President Research, the AVPR and OFI Scientific Director will have strong international credibility and leadership as a research scientist in at least one of the OFI’s disciplines, and be able to lead an intellectual community of scholars while helping to build an infrastructure that encourages excellence. The ideal candidate will show clear evidence of excellent communication and people skills, strong and diverse knowledge of research at the ocean frontier, adaptability, and knowledge of international ocean science, industry, and policy.  

Dalhousie University ( is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities and the Atlantic region’s only member of Canada’s U15 group of research universities ( Its vibrant, open community of 13 Faculties, 6,000 faculty and staff and 18,500 students is connected, through collaboration and partnership, with researchers, industry, governments, non-profit agencies, and universities around the globe. Dalhousie University is committed to fostering a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. The University encourages applications from women, Aboriginal people, persons with a disability, racially visible persons, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and all candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our community.

Review of candidates will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. The new AVPR and OFI Scientific Director is expected to take office in July 2018, or sooner if possible. Applications, including a letter of introduction, curriculum vitae, the names of three references (who will not be contacted without consent of the applicant), and a completed self-identification questionnaire (which is available at should be submitted electronically, in confidence, to the university’s executive search consultants:

Laverne Smith & Associates Inc.

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