POSITION TITLE: Associate Director of External Relations

DEPARTMENT: Physics (Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute)


Closing Date: June 29, 2018

Job Summary

The Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute (McDonald Institute) at Queen’s University is a federally funded research network of the Canada First Excellence Research Fund whose primary goal is elevating Canadian excellence in astroparticle physics.  The Institute is currently seeking an experienced communications professional who has had proven success developing creative communication strategies for topics that are technical in nature.  In addition, this position requires someone who is passionate about the opportunity to help develop an inclusive research community, and remove systemic barriers that prevent a more diverse population of young people from pursuing a career in science.

Reporting to the Managing Director, the Associate Director of External Relations: i) directs all external relations activities and personnel focussed on business development opportunities and communication/marketing; ii) builds and maintains the McDonald Institute’s relationships with academia, private, public and non-profit partners; iii) creates and delivers on the sustainability/legacy strategy for the Institute; and iv) grows funding opportunities for the McDonald Institute and the broader astroparticle physics community.  The Associate Director acts as the critical link between the scientific research community within the McDonald Institute and the stakeholders in Canada and abroad.

This position is a unique opportunity to work in Canada’s hub for astroparticle physics research, whose goal is to build on the legacy of Dr. Arthur McDonald’s Nobel Prize winning research, and ensure Canada remains a leader in the field.  The incumbent will be given a great deal of autonomy to take chances and experiment with different approaches to effectively communicate with their diverse and wide-spread audience.

If your experience and career goals match our position as described, we encourage you to apply.


Strategy and Management

  • Develop and implement an external relations strategy for the Institute
  • Create and oversee the web/social media strategy for the Institute
  • Organize and position the McDonald Institute and the astrophysics community to realize new funding/partnership opportunities
  • Plan and advance sustainability and commercialization opportunities for the Institute
  • Provide expert advice to management on communications implementation and tactics, and provide recommendations on brochures, publications and digital collateral (websites and web graphics, e-newsletters, social media initiatives) as requested
  • Develop promotional strategy to attract critical investments to Canadian research in the focal areas of the McDonald Institute which are relatable to industry
  • Develop and implement communications strategies to enhance the McDonald Institute brand and identity both nationally and internationally in areas identified as strategically important to the institute.
  • Create the marketing and communications strategy for knowledge translation and scientific recruitment
  • Lead and direct the external relations (Business Development/Communications) team at the McDonald Institute

Partnership/Business Development

  • Position the McDonald Institute to reinforce existing partnerships and grow new partnerships with government, businesses, research organizations/institutions, and not-for-profits.
  • Support collaborations to commercialize across the innovation ecosystem
  • Create linkages between highly qualified persons in the McDonald Institute and other business-oriented partners with the goal of enhancing technological development.
  • Leads regular status meetings with clients and or teams.
  • Plan and deliver annual meetings/conferences to advance knowledge translation of astroparticle physics research
  • Identify research and business opportunities with researchers and businesses that will contribute to the knowledge translation of the McDonald Institute science.
  • In collaboration with Scientific and Administrative team members, assists with the implementation of the McDonald Institute outreach and networking strategy in support of business development opportunities.

Knowledge Translation

  • Identify experiential learning opportunities for research personnel and the public
  • Lead and manage the development, content generation for, and maintenance and monitoring of the McDonald Institute website and social media platforms.
  • Lead and create special initiatives targeting interactions with under-represented populations within physics generally and the McDonald Institute
  • Identify and foster faculty experts for proactive and responsive media relations in collaboration with News and Media Services to maximize exposure for the McDonald Institute and its University partners in the national, international, regional and local media.
  • Facilitate proactive media and digital community relations, with local, national, and international groups/outlets/individuals.


  • University degree in a relevant area, with seven or more years of experience related to external relations or a similar area.
  • Previous experience in relationship building and relationship management.
  • Previous experience in a leadership role with skills in organizing, motivating and directing staff teams, outside consultants and clients as required
  • Familiarity with a university research environment, particularly related to Physics/Sciences and external research support programs available to Canadian researchers. Knowledge of provincial and federal research support program guidelines considered to be an asset.
  • Promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace with the ability to work effectively in a diverse fast paced working environment.
  • Consideration may be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience.


  • Ability to identify opportunities to align and co-ordinate initiatives with similar objectives. Manage, execute projects, monitor and update project tasks/timelines and budgets, with the ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously. Ability to prioritize among competing demands and remain focused on key objectives
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills to build strong working relationships with a wide variety of constituents (funding agencies, industry partners, institutional collaborators, administration, staff, and faculty). Ability to interact professionally and effectively with people at all levels of an organization.
  • Ability to identify and deal with sensitive matters including those related to reputational issues.
  • Excellent oral presentation skills with the ability to adjust presentation style to audience, written communication and experience in team building and team management, including the confidence, tact, discretion and judgment to work effectively with academic researchers, government representatives and senior administrators.
  • Ability to understand research proposals and evaluation methodologies, interpret, communicate and apply funding agency policies and guidelines.
  • Strong analytical skills, combined with an ability to think about institutional and funding agency information in an interdisciplinary way. Ability to compile and interpret data from a variety of sources, identifying emerging trends and/or issues.
  • Strong organizational and problem-solving skills with an ability to recognize and understand complex issues and associated implications for reputation and revenue.
  • Business planning expertise, including the development and/or identification of new and creative revenue generation strategies and/or research funding opportunities.
  • Excellent initiative, results –oriented and resourcefulness to work independently.
  • Project management skills, attention to detail, combined with ability to assume accountability for design and implementation of approved projects/initiatives, and to develop practical recommendations for positive change with maximum impact.
  • Sensitivity to the diverse cultures and ability to respond proactively to needs.
  • Promotes a climate of inclusion and being a team player. Ability to work with many different individuals across Canadian universities and build/nurture strong relationships (senior administrative staff, faculty, students, media and government offices)


  • Identifies, and recommends new knowledge translation approaches, funding opportunities and collaborations that support success of the McDonald Institute research activities, objectives and growth strategy.
  • As a member of the senior leadership team participate in strategic discussions, and contribute to decisions related to the strategic direction of the science and administration.
  • Selects appropriate research funding avenues and partnerships to develop and implement. Drafts comprehensive strategic plans to undertake each new research proposal or collaborative opportunity and makes recommendations to Managing Director for approval.
  • Uses independent decision-making skills to assess and evaluate operational matters as they arise, and assesses when to involve the Managing Director, Scientific Director and the McDonald Institute Board
  • In consultation with the Scientific Director and Managing Director, considers when to allocate resources to research development initiatives.
  • Determines when work of consultants or other resources may be required to ensure the success of a funding proposal submission and elaborates on steps necessary to improve unsatisfactory work.
  • Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to determine timelines and logistics for planning successful events.
  • Evaluates job candidates and makes effective recommendations on suitable hires.
  • Makes decisions and/or effective recommendations regarding transfers and promotions.
  • Evaluates employee performance and decides on appropriate training or coaching to address lack of proficiency in carrying out responsibilities, or remedial action for staff disciplinary situations.
  • Assesses investigation outcome of grievances and makes effective recommendations on appropriate course of action or next steps on grievances.
  • Makes effective recommendations on level of discipline up to discharge and probationary termination.

The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The University provides support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant’s accessibility needs. Candidates requiring accommodation during the recruitment process are asked to contact Human Resources at hradmin@queensu.ca.


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