Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) is hiring new Senior Research Associates (RA) in Economic and Environmental Policy. SPI is Canada’s leading green economy research institute and think tank, based at the University of Ottawa. SPI turns world-class research into high impact policy change for clean growth and innovation.

Our Senior Research Associates will work with SPI’s research team, its global network of academic experts, and its civil society and business leaders group on a range of environment-economy research issues, such as: regional economic development, green labour and skills policies, the intersection of housing, clean growth and climate action, equity and justice issues within environmental policy, and advancing clean growth in Canada’s agricultural sector. In addition to research, the RA will be involved in SPI’s events, communications and policy change work.


Title: Senior Research Associate.

Location: Smart Prosperity Institute, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (this job can be done from Ottawa or remotely)

Start date: As soon as possible

Salary band: NR-7 ($72,698 to $90,872 annually)

Position Purpose

This position collaborates on research projects of varying complexity, under general supervision, that will inform decision makers on the development of practical, inclusive, and equitable policies and market-based solutions for a stronger, cleaner economy.

The ideal candidate will support the advancement of SPI’s work to create and translate the knowledge base to inform the integration of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations in research at the forefront of environmental and economic policy development.

There are open Senior Research Associate positions on a number of teams, including:

  • Green Jobs and Skills;

  • Equity and Justice;

  • Housing;

  • Agriculture and Land-use

  • Conservation Policy and Finance.


Description of each policy team:


Green Jobs and Skills

The Green jobs and Skills team conducts place-based research and analyses to answer three questions: What are Canada’s labour needs to meet its climate targets, drive clean growth, and adapt to climate impacts? What skills will this workforce require? And, how can policies, programs and practices be designed equitably to ensure inclusive access to the economic opportunities a transition will create? The team’s work centres around the human aspects of climate action, and applies an interdisciplinary lens to support an equitable workforce transition, and close Canada’s green skills gap.


Equity and Justice

The Equity and Justice team creates and translates the knowledge base necessary to inform the integration of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) considerations in research at the forefront of environmental and economic policy development. This team works to examine and identify best practices of inclusive policy design to support the transition to net-zero carbon economy that is fair and meets the needs of underserved and equity-seeking communities. The fundamental goal of this team is to advance actionable policy advice for a more sustainable and just future.


Our Housing policy team recognizes that housing supply and affordability have a direct impact on Canada’s ability to address climate change. We need more affordable housing to ensure workers can afford to live near where clean technology companies create jobs, and where we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We need dense housing in cities to avoid sprawl that increases greenhouse gas emissions. And we can use policy to drive innovation in low-carbon building materials to help export Canadian clean technology to the world. Housing policy is critical to our environmental ambitions, supporting an economic recovery, and solving the affordability crisis is necessary to grow the clean economy Canada deserves. Our team researches the policy mechanisms at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels to increase the supply of housing to create family-friendly, climate-friendly communities.



The Agriculture and Land-Use team conducts research and analyses on policies to promote clean and resilient growth across the agricultural sector. This includes research on measures to promote the adoption of existing best management practices in agriculture (i.e., cover cropping, fertilizer management, manure management, and rotational grazing), and how Canada can take advantage of new or emerging opportunities that help improve the sector’s sustainability. Research consists of scoping studies, stakeholder consultation and more in-depth research or modelling exercises on emissions reduction opportunities (or pathways?) Research also addresses policy instruments to reduce the impacts of agricultural production on species at risk. One of the team’s principal aims is to provide practical policy advice to influence Canada’s next Agricultural Policy Framework and other emerging policy frameworks, such as the Green Agricultural Plan. Partners include a wide range of producer and industrial organizations, universities, and civil society, such as Farmers for Climate Solutions.


Conservation Policy and Finance

The conservation policy and finance team investigates new policy approaches and investment tools that incentivize private investment into land conservation and restoration and nature-based solutions to climate change. This could include research into market-based policy tools like offsets and payment for ecosystem services programs; it could also include financing tools like green bonds or blended finance models.


Accountabilities as a Senior Research Associate (NR-7)

  • Acting as a thought leader and media spokesperson on research topics relevant to your program line to advance the goals of the institute.
  • Conducting independent and complex projects on emerging issues, including researching, writing, and producing reports.
  • Managing Research Associates, and junior staff.

  • Facilitating the content development and execution of workshops.

  • Researches, writes, and produces high quality original reports and policy briefs to ensure the institute becomes a highly visible, credible and an effective voice.

  • Leads the translation of academic research by the SPI Research Network into reports and policy products that will reach policy makers and inform the development of market-based instruments.

  • Responsible for executing independent research projects and presenting findings.

  • Develops and manages relationships with funders and leads the writing of funding proposals.

  • Performing other related duties, as assigned by the director.


Knowledge, Experience and Skills

Essential Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a field related to environment, health, science, or public policy

  • Five years experience in research and/or project development

  • Experience managing large research projects, or fundraising proposals (preferred).

  • Experience managing staff and team members (preferred).

  • Strong organizational, analytical, and writing skills.

  • Bilingualism – French and English (written and spoken) preferred


Other Qualifications

  • Excellent knowledge of research strategies, methodologies, and analytics

  • Experience developing and delivering presentations or workshops related to research

  • Sound judgment in applying research methods and ethics.

  • Ability to translate academic research to a general audience

  • Ph.D, in a related field, considered an asset

  • Excellent ability to summarize and communicate complex research findings to a lay audience


Green Jobs and Skills

  • Experience conducting analyses using some of the following research techniques: Foresight analyses for labour markets, systems mapping, and skills identification and forecasting.

  • Ability to produce economic analyses, taking into consideration socio-economic variables related to economic and labour market conditions.

  • Experience with knowledge mobilization and managing stakeholder and funder relationships around a particular policy issue, with emphasis on the need to communicate research findings and results to different audiences.

  • Familiarity with workforce and skills training policy, including workforce training, skills training and education is an asset.

  • Familiarity with place-based policy research and regional economic development is an asset.


Equity and Justice

  • Ability to identify societal, cultural, and economic benefits of biodiversity conservation, wildlife management, ecosystem services, circular economy, and/or sustainable forest management.

  • Ability to conduct gender-based or intersectional analysis of climate change, energy transitions, energy democracy.

  • Ability to use data to inform strategy or policy development that considers some dimension of EDI

  • Ability to produce economic analyses and taking into consideration socio-economic variables related to economic and labour market conditions

  • Knowledge of the literature on Just Transitions, Energy Democracy, Environmental Justice, Climate Justice, Energy Justice, Renewable Energy Communities, Socio-Technical Transitions.



  • Familiarity with urban planning and municipal planning processes.

  • Familiarity with conducting housing demand analyses and modelling using credible, established methodologies.

  • Experience identifying and assessing economic, demographic, and social developments and analyzing their implications for housing and related economic and environmental policy

  • Ideally, some experience with stakeholder and community engagement.


Land-use and Agriculture

  • Familiarity with Canadian agricultural policy frameworks (at federal, provincial and territorial levels), with an emphasis on the integration of environmental sustainability aspects (for example, GHG emissions reduction, soil and water management, species-at-risk)

  • Experience with economic analysis of agriculture and land use, preferably with understanding of the promotion of best management practices through various policy instruments.

  • Quantitative literacy, including the ability to understand and interpret survey data and farm production analysis.

  • Experience with knowledge mobilization and managing stakeholder and funder relationships around a particular policy issue, with emphasis on the need to communicate research findings and results to different audiences.

  • Experience with strategic planning processes.


How to Apply

Please submit your CV and a cover letter that demonstrates how you meet the competencies. Candidates are welcome to apply to all policy teams where they meet identified job requirements. Candidates will be asked to select the policy team(s) they are applying for when submitting their application form.

The deadline for applications is July 20, 2022, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis so apply early. This position may be filled prior to July 20, 2022, if the right candidate is found. Only applicants who are legally entitled to work in Canada will be considered.


Click here to apply now


The Smart Prosperity Institute embraces diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We are passionate about our people and committed to employment equity. We are at our best when everyone has a seat at the table, and when we are made to feel like we belong. While all qualified persons are invited to apply, we welcome applications from Indigenous persons, racialized persons, persons with disabilities, women and LGBTQIA2S+ persons.

Please contact if you have any questions about the role.


About Smart Prosperity Institute

Smart Prosperity Institute (formerly Sustainable Prosperity) 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