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Managing Director, WatCAR

Department: Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research Effective Date: March, 2007
Grade: USG 15 Reports to: Executive Director, WatCAR

General Accountability

The Managing Director of WatCAR (MDW) manages the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR). This position is central to the vitality and growth of Waterloo’s vibrant centre for automotive research. The over-riding objective is to manage, promote, and increase the large base of research activity and funding in the automotive area at the University of Waterloo.

The managing director will be responsible for four key management functions: 1) creating new contacts and building relationships with prospective industry and government funding partners; 2) creating and implementing a plan for promotion of WatCAR research activities; 3)managing large infrastructure and operating research projects, including proposal development, budgeting, financial and technical reporting; 4) working with WatCAR members, directors and advisory board to advance the overall goals of WatCAR.

Nature and Scope

WatCAR is a world-class automotive research centre at the University of Waterloo focused on promoting and conducting leading edge research to enhance innovation and competitiveness of the automotive sector. More than 50 of Canada’s leading automotive researchers are undertaking key technology-enabling research in the Faculties of Engineering, Science, Applied Health Sciences and Mathematics in partnership with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers and government agencies.


The Managing Director, WatCAR reports directly to the Executive Director of WatCAR and the Associate Dean, Research and External Partnerships, Faculty of Engineering.

Statistical Data

Specific Accountabilities

WatCAR is a Faculty of Engineering constituted centre that welcomes faculty participation from across campus. WatCAR represents the largest university concentration of automotive research within Canada and is comprised of over 55 members from faculties and departments across campus. WatCAR’s research activities encompass a broad range of theme areas to provide solutions to the automotive industry’s most pressing challenges including: Materials and Manufacturing; Automotive Systems; Alternative Fuels; Sensors and Actuators; Vehicle Safety Systems; Environmental Impacts; Vehicle Design; Human Factors.

Relationship Management:

The MDW will be responsible for managing external relationships, including servicing and developing client relationships and tracking outcomes.  The manager will keep the WatCAR membership informed and aware of inquiries and potential research opportunities and help to assess their viability for possible follow-up by senior officials from the WatCAR leadership.

The MDW will also be involved in helping to develop marketing and promotional strategy for WatCAR, tracking research funding prospects, and then to implement the plan leading to securing funding from these opportunities.  The individual will work closely with the WatCAR leadership and researchers in determining prospects and targets.

Industry and Government Relations:

The MDW will be the first contact for inquiries about WatCAR from industry, government, other institutions and the media, and as such must have a full understanding of the scope of WatCAR activities and strategic plans. It will be central to this position's function that the individual be able to smoothly handle external relations. 

Research Funding and Reporting:

WatCAR has an internal budget of roughly $250k per year to support WatCAR operations. The MDW assumes fiscal responsibility for this budget.

Recent major awards to WatCAR include a $46.5M research program entitled the Initiative for Automotive Manufacturing Innovation (IAMI) that is jointly held with McMaster University. Similarly sized awards will be pursued in the other WatCAR theme areas and the MDW will provide the central leadership role in pursuing and implementing such funding and will assume fiscal responsibility for this budget. The MDW will also assume fiscal responsibility for new projects developed within WatCAR.

The MDW will also assume responsibility for the preparation, coordination, implementation and reporting on major funding proposals stemming from WatCAR research groups and consortia. This will include:

Technology Transfer

The MDW is responsible for the implementation of a technology transfer and commercialization plan for WatCAR research outcomes. This plan will be developed in consultation and through the WatCAR Technology Transfer and Industrial Liaison Officer(s), the University Technology Transfer and Licensing Office, the Accelerator Centre, various government commercialization funds and organizations (eg. OCE commercialization, NSERC I2I), external Venture Capital and Angel Funds, and other means as appropriate.



The MDW is responsible for the direct supervision of the WatCAR staff which includes:


Significant Internal Relationships

Significant External Relationships

Working Conditions