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Scientific Director

President's Office – Vancouver, British Columbia
Department President's Office
Employment Type Permanent Full-Time
Minimum Experience Senior Executive

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), funded by the province of British Columbia, is BC's health research funding agency. MSFHR helps develop, retain and recruit the talented people whose research improves the health of British Columbians, addresses health system priorities, creates jobs and adds to the knowledge economy.

Since its inception in 2001, MSFHR has been a key participant in BC's health research and life sciences ecosystem. The Foundation works as a trusted partner with government, the health research community and the health system to support better health outcomes through research and its translation into new treatments, cures, practices and solutions. Learn more at

Position Summary

MSFHR is seeking an experienced research leader to fill the newly created position of Scientific Director. With a minimum 10-year track record as a researcher, the Scientific Director is excited to turn their attention to the “science of research funding” – an increasingly important focus for funders committed to understanding and responding to the ecosystem in which they work.

Reporting to the CEO and working with Foundation’s leadership team, the Scientific Director will develop a research agenda for the Foundation that helps determine and also study what we fund, how we support the translation of evidence into practice and policy, and how we strengthen the research system in which we work. They are responsible for day-to-day management and oversight of a portfolio that includes research programs and competitions, knowledge translation, strategic planning, partnership, and evaluation & impact analysis. The Scientific Director will lead a high-performing team of three directors, each of whom oversees staff.

A solid understanding of the BC and Canadian health research and health/health system landscape is critical, as is deep experience with funding agencies. Examples of such experience include success at obtaining grant funding, serving as a principal investigator, and chairing and participating on review panels. Direct experience with funding agencies (e.g., in an advisory or staff role) is an asset.

The Scientific Director will have existing strong relationships within government, academia, funders, the health system and the community, and the ability to develop new ones as needed. They have demonstrated success as a leader of people at all levels. Finally the Scientific Director is passionate about enhancing MSFHR’s expertise and ability to contribute to a thriving health research enterprise in British Columbia.

Specific Responsibilities include:

  • Contribute to the overall strategic direction and leadership of the organization
  • Work with the CEO and the Director, Strategy to create and deliver on a research agenda for the Foundation, enhancing our thought leadership role and connecting funders on the science of research funding
  • Support the CEO to establish funding partnerships nationally and internationally as part of the Foundation’s partnership strategy
  • Create a cohesive portfolio of the Foundation’s competitions, knowledge translation, and strategy functions; oversee the portfolio’s consolidated budget, ensuring wise use of resources
  • Mentor and lead a team of three experienced directors 
  • Serve as a role model for staff, contributing to the development of an inclusive culture where all staff are engaged, valued and supported to lead
  • Attend and present as necessary at Board meetings
  • Participate as a member of the MSFHR leadership team  
  • Develop and maintain close relationships with external stakeholders - including the scientific community, the health/health system sector and other funding agencies – provincially and nationally
  • Be an ambassador for MSFHR and a spokesperson for health research funding and knowledge translation on provincial, national and international levels; participate in government and stakeholder relations
  • Serve on committees and working groups as determined 

Candidate Requirements:

  • Ph.D. with 10+ years’ experience as a health researcher; demonstrated success in receiving provincial, national and ideally international health research funding, conducting and translating the results of health research, and supervising students
  • Significant and respected profile as a scientist 
  • Solid experience coaching, mentoring and leading a range of staff levels, from senior to junior, in ways that inspire and motivate 
  • Track record of establishing strong collaborations within the academic and non-profit sectors as well as within health care and government, leading groups to consensus on goals and overseeing work towards their achievement
  • Holds or has held an academic appointment  
  • Deep knowledge of Canada and BC’s health research and health system/health care environment; understanding of trends, challenges and opportunities related to research funding; understanding of research funding processes and practices (e.g. peer review)
  • Knowledge of and experience with research impact assessment frameworks and methods  
  • Commitment to both the practice and science of knowledge translation and understanding of overall approaches to KT practice and science
  • Demonstrated excellence in oral and written communication; comfortable and skilled at presenting complex information to a variety of audiences 
  • Highest ethical standards, commitment to integrity 
  • Commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in health research funding and in the work of MSFHR

How to Apply

If this sounds like you and you would like to play a role in maximizing the impact of health research in BC, please apply online at We thank everyone for their interest but only suitable candidates will be contacted.

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  • Location
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Department
    President's Office
  • Employment Type
    Permanent Full-Time
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Executive
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