Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) is hiring a new Senior Research Associate (RA) in Conservation Finance. 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.

The Senior Research Associate - Conservation Finance will work with SPI’s policy team, its global network of academic experts, and its civil society and business leaders group on a range of environment-economy research issues, with specific emphasis on investing in nature, financial models for conservation and restoration, and incentives for nature conservation. In addition to research, the RA will be involved in SPI’s events, communications and policy change work.

Title: Senior Research Associate (Nature Team)
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 (71,225 - 89,972 annually)


Position Purpose

This position provides thought leadership on conservation finance and policy related to investing in nature in Canada. The position will lead and collaborate on research projects of varying complexity, support stakeholder engagement, and develop resources to 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.


Position Description

Nature-based solutions and nature conservation policy
The Nature team conducts research and policy analysis across three core thematic areas: scaling public and private investment in nature conservation, restoration, and sustainable resource management; providing insight on ecosystem-oriented policy incentives and regulations; and integrating nature into decision-making outside of environmental disciplines (e.g. infrastructure, health). Collectively the team aims to advance understanding and innovative strategies to raise the profile and application of nature-based solutions in Canada.

Accountabilities as a Senior Research Associate (NR-7)

  • Acting as a thought leader and media spokesperson on topics such as clean growth, nature conservation, sustainable agriculture, linkages between health and climate change, etc. to advance the goals of the institute.
  • Conducting independent and complex projects on emerging issues, including researching, writing, and producing reports.
  • 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.


Job requirements

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).
  • 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

Nature-based solutions and nature conservation policy

  • Familiarity with the Canadian environmental policy landscape as it relates to nature conservation, carbon and biodiversity offsets, environmental markets
  • Financial literacy, including the ability to discuss and analyze the applicability of conservation finance instruments in different contexts.
  • Experience working with private and/or financial sector on nature-based solutions and related investments
  • Experience working with government and policy makers on issues related to conservation, nature financing, and environmental policy
  • Experience with ecosystem service data analysis, experience modelling ecosystem functions and services a plus.
  • Ability to analyze and communicate the applicability of integrating ecosystem services into decision-making in different contexts.

Key Competencies

  • Planning
  • Initiative
  • Client service orientation
  • Teamwork and cooperation



Please submit your CV and a cover letter that demonstrates how you meet the competencies. 


The deadline for applications is May 27th, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis so apply early. This position may be filled prior to May 27th, if the right candidate is found.

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.



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