Position Type: Full time, contract

Salary: Commensurate with experience

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Posting Date: May 18, 2021

Deadline:  June 7, 2021

Start Date: Negotiable



Smart Prosperity Institute is a national research network and policy think tank based at the University of Ottawa. We deliver world-class research and work with public and private partners – all to advance practical policies and market solutions for a stronger, cleaner economy. More info at: institute.smartprosperity.ca


Position Overview:

The Director of Sustainable Agriculture Policy Program will provide strategic direction, vision, leadership and management for all aspects of Smart Prosperity’s policy activities under its Agricultural program.  The incumbent will lead in developing, resourcing, and delivering SPI’s agricultural and agri-food policy programs, including large, multi-year initiatives requiring multiple high-profile funders and partners, politically sensitive analysis, complex primary and secondary research, and knowledge translation and dissemination, in order to provide evidence-based analysis in support of policies that transition the agricultural sector to a greener economy.

This is a new, senior position that reports to the Senior Director of Policy and Innovation. The position has multiple positions reporting to it, including up to three senior research associates, up to five research associates, and often a selection of part-time or variable student positions.


Specific Accountabilities:

1. Strategy: Sets the strategic direction for Smart Prosperity’s agriculture policy initiatives, in collaboration with other members of the management team, to ensure strategic policy direction aligns with Research, Framework, Communications and Administrative efforts of the organization.

2. Program Leadership: Responsible for the design, fund-raising, monitoring, and delivery of complex projects of varying lengths, types and for varying audiences, in order to ensure that each project is successfully delivered on time.

3. Positioning and Influence: Stays abreast of other similar organizations’ policy direction in order to ensure best strategic positioning of SPI. Keeps abreast of potential windows of influence, particularly with provincial and federal government decision-makers, in order to ensure the organization’s work is of high policy-relevance. Anticipate research and policy interests, windows for public policy influence, and opportunities to develop and deliver high-impact, high-quality analysis, that is integrated with all SPI’s other activities (research, communications, events, etc.).

4. Spokesperson Duties: Represents SPI with stakeholders, funders, project partners, Steering Committee members, media and others, ensuring clear, balanced, and non-partisan positioning of SPI as Canada’s leading green economy think-tank/do-tank.

5. Team Leadership: Leads the Agriculture Policy Team and ensures effective individual performance, team-level performance and appropriate use of resources for maximum policy impact. Ensures hands-on management of the resources – both human and financial – of the team in order to deliver excellence in project outcomes and team management.

6. Relationship Management: Liaises with business, government, non-profit, academic and other potential partners to develop new projects, partnerships, funding agreements and opportunities for influence. Maintains professional relationships with key influencers in federal and provincial governments, in order to ensure timeliness and impact of all Policy Team activities.

7. Reporting: Responsible for ensuring performance reports to external funders of policy projects are prepared and submitted on time.

8. Research: Leads or conducts primary and secondary research on issues related to agriculture, environment, economy, and climate – from the initial scoping of the project through to writing reports and communicating findings via collaboration with the communications team – in order to influence public policy. This may be done independently as well as with others.

9. Workplanning: Develops and maintains workplans so that all projects are delivered to a high quality, on time and on budget.

10. Dissemination: Collaborate with the communications team to develop and disseminate reports, and produce complementary content that ensures messages and information reach intended audiences.

11. Other Duties: Inform organizational strategy as part of the management team, and perform other duties as required to support the wider team and report back to the Steering Committee.


Knowledge, Experience and Skills:

  • A graduate degree in a field relevant to sustainable agriculture policy (sustainability, economics, policy, etc.)
  • Extensive knowledge of agriculture, food and/or environment and economic issues in Canada
  • Minimum 8 years of experience working on policy issues related to agriculture, and/or environment, natural resources and economic issues
  • A minimum of 5 years conducting and/or managing research, ideally on issues related to agriculture-environment-economy
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience providing advice to senior decision-makers (in government, business, philanthropic foundations, academia or other), either within or outside government
  • Experience in liaising and maintaining relationships with external stakeholders
  • A minimum of 4 years of management experience
  • Demonstrated tact, judgment, diplomacy and leadership
  • Ability to use computer systems and software for research, writing and communicating (Microsoft Office Suite, Google Workspace, Zoom, etc.)
  • Ability to take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead and planning
  • Ability to phrase complicated issues and concepts in simple language
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects and change priorities quickly
  • Excellent communication skills (English and French, ideally)


Smart Prosperity Institute staff are employees of the University of Ottawa. We invite you to consult the University’s benefits and policies for Non-Union Support Staff.


To apply for this position, please email the following materials to Mike Wilson at jobs@smartprosperity.ca:

  1. CV
  2. Cover Letter

The deadline for applications is June 7, 2021.


We thank all candidates for their interest. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.



Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) believes that equity, diversity, and inclusion should be reflected in our team and in our research. We are on the path to diversifying all ranks of our organization. We believe that diverse and inclusive teams are better positioned to develop innovative ideas and path-breaking solutions. SPI is also committed to finding ways to diversify the representation of voices and experiences in our research and public policy recommendations. We see a pressing need to amplify marginalized voices such as those of Indigenous, racialized and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, and women in our research and policy ideas to build a stronger, cleaner economy, and encourage all to apply.



Smart Prosperity Institute is a national research network and policy think tank based at the University of Ottawa. We deliver world-class research and work with public and private partners – all to advance practical policies and market solutions for a stronger, cleaner economy.

Learn more at institute.smartprosperity.ca