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Director of Operations, Quantum NanoFab

Department: Institute for Quantum Computing Effective Date: June, 2012

USG 15

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Executive Director, Institute for Quantum Computing

General Accountability

The Director of Operations, Quantum NanoFab is a member of the senior management team of the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and is accountable to the Executive Directors of IQC and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) to strategically lead the design optimization, implementation, management, administration and operation of the multi-user, state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. In consultation with both Executive Directors, the Director of Operations sets the strategic direction for the facility’s physical infrastructure, management structure, growth strategy and for its ongoing operations.

Nature and Scope

This position plays a crucial role in ensuring the long-term operational success of the $49M facility under the incumbent’s direct responsibility. 

The Quantum NanoFab is unique in that it enables the fabrication of leading edge quantum and nano structures and devices, and thus serves the needs of two institutes: the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN).  The facility is the most complex facility on campus and is used to do research at the highest international level, as well as to train highly qualified personnel for the development of new technologies, processes and materials.  The facility includes 10,000 sq. ft. of cleanroom, metrology and packaging lab space and is a vital part of the Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis (M&OL) Quantum-Nano Centre (QNC).

The Director leads the selection, purchase, installation, commissioning and ongoing operation and improvement of $27M of advanced nanofabrication and characterization equipment.

The facility is the result of the largest CFI grant that the University of Waterloo has attracted. The infrastructure and the quality of its operations are crucial to many UW research programs and thus directly impact the University’s national and international reputation.  The Director defines and leads the full implementation and ongoing maintenance of the lab’s key objective of operational excellence, as demanded by both Institutes and by the University of Waterloo’s Sixth Decade Plan (“research excellence and impact”). Operational excellence coupled with the leading edge quality and technical breadth of the infrastructure make it unique on a national scale and highly competitive on an international scale.

IQC was founded in 2002 with a complement of five faculty members from the UW Faculties of Science and Mathematics and aims to reach 30 faculty members from its current level of 18. The number of IQC postdoctoral fellows has grown from two at IQC's inception to 25 in 2010 with a target of 50. The number of IQC graduate students has grown from five to the current 65, with a long-term goal of 125.

The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) is a world-class research centre. WIN’s overall objective is to establish the Institute as a global centre of excellence for nanotechnology and its applications. WIN is comprised of 45 faculty members from 8 departments who perform research in nano-materials, nano-electronics, nano-instrumentation and nano-biosystems.

The positions reporting directly to the Director of Operations, Quantum NanoFab include:

              Nanofabrication Process Specialist/Engineer

              Senior Fabrication Equipment Technologist / Lab Specialist

              Senior Fabrication Equipment Technologist

              Instrument & Electronics Design Tech

              Associate Director, Information Technology, IQC (dotted line report)

              Financial Officer, IQC (dotted line report)

              Junior Fabrication Equipment Technologist (to be hired in 2013)

              Cleanroom Frontline Support Tech (to be hired in 2013)

              Fab Building Ops Specialist (details to be finalized in 2013)



Challenges faced:


- This position is critical to the success of the more than $300M invested in Waterloo in IQC and plays a crucial role in defining, implementing and communicating the strategic vision and mission for the shared M&OL Quantum-NanoFab. The Director initiates and drives operational excellence objectives in line with world-class international facilities such as the UC-Berkeley Marvell Nanofabrication Laboratory, the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility, etc. Key objectives include well-defined, communicated & enforced facility governance, access, training & safety policies.



- Implementation and continuous improvement of Quantum-NanoFab:

- The Director oversees the construction and full implementation of the Quantum NanoFab cleanroom and its operations to ensure the project meets the stringent technical, operational and scientific requirements of the UW research community. The position requires engineering and relational skills needed to identify and to tactfully and diplomatically address design and construction deficiencies identified by the incumbent and that are deemed to risk the safety, quality and functionality of the laboratory. He/she is expected to lead and to ensure complete follow-through of any resulting remedial actions, as needed, to ensure compliance with comparable state-of-the-art facilities in operation at other top institutions such as Stanford, MIT, UC-Berkeley, Harvard, etc.


- Post-occupancy, the incumbent leads the final facility construction and implementation initiative (“fit out” and “hook up”) as well as ongoing continuous improvement projects by defining, initiating, leading and administering these projects, including the selection of specialised external contractors via formal public tenders.


- Additionally, the position is required to broker cost sharing agreements between IQC and WIN and to track the fiscal evolution of these. Costs include ongoing operating costs of $1.2M per year as well as the initial facility fit out expense projected to total $4M.


- The incumbent defines the facility’s organizational structure including roles and responsibilities and is responsible for recruiting people (nationally & internationally) with the rare skills needed to ensure success. He/she provides leadership and direction and encourages ongoing professional development of all team members and fosters an environment that embraces and encourages an attitude of service excellence and problem mitigation/ownership/resolution.


- Being a shared, open-user facility dedicated strictly to the advanced graduate and post-doctoral research initiatives of both IQC and WIN, this position is expected to identify, implement and maintain policies and practices which best serve the respective mandates and strategic directions of both Institutes.

- The incumbent is responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining an access fee structure which aims to recover operating costs not subsidized by UW & external funding agencies to ensure long-term fiscal viability of the infrastructure & its operations.


- Extremely toxic gases and chemicals are routinely used in the facility. The position is responsible for the safety of all facility users and workers by ensuring the implementation & ongoing upkeep of all safeguarding mechanisms and procedures and by implementing and maintaining a formal tracking mechanism for mandatory safety training of all members of the lab community including staff, students, researchers and faculty.


Interpersonal Skills:

- Internally, this position interacts regularly with the Executive Directors of IQC and WIN, the Dean of Engineering, the Dean of Science, senior members of Plant Operations, the Safety Office and all members of the Quantum NanoFab team. In addition, this position interacts with senior faculty members named as Scientific Directors to the NanoFab Management Team (David Cory & Tong Leung) to represent the research interests of both institutes. This position also interacts with UW Procurement to purchase specialized equipment and to establish ongoing service contracts with several vendors key to Fab operations efficiency and effectiveness. The incumbent reports regularly to the Boards of Directors of both IQC and WIN.

- Externally, this position develops and leverages relationships with QNC Building engineering and architect firms as well as with the building general contractor as needed to ensure lab construction and renovations are completed to best-in-class expectations. This position also builds and maintains relationships with nanofab management teams at other high-calibre academic institutions such as MIT, UC-Berkeley, Stanford, etc. as well as related companies in the private sector (Teledyne-DALSA) and government labs (NRC, NINT). Furthermore, this position also interacts with multiple highly specialized semiconductor and MEMS fabrication equipment vendors as required to negotiate excellent initial purchase terms for complex equipment ranging in value from $100k to over $1M each. The incumbent maintains ongoing and productive relationships with these vendors to ensure timely technical support in the event of equipment failures post-installation.

- This position is a member of the Quantum NanoFab Management and Leadership teams. Considering the inherent occupational hazards associated with the infrastructure, the incumbent participates in the UW Hazardous Spill Team under the leadership of the UW Safety Office.

Statistical Data

Laboratory equipment and infrastructure:

$49 million

Annual operating budget:

$1.2 million

People reporting to this position:

4 direct + 2 dotted line (6 total existing) +

2 more directs + 1 direct or dotted in ‘13 

Number of clients:

Executive leadership of IQC & WIN and Deans of Science and Engineering

64 existing lab members: 16 faculty + 4 Co-op students + 36 Graduate students + 8 Post-Doctoral Fellows.

When lab operations migrate to the QNC in 2013, the number of clients is expected to increase substantially to accommodate the expected growth of both Institutes.

At steady state, the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology will comprise more than 50 faculty, 75 post-doctoral fellows and roughly 250 graduate students with a constant flow of international visitors.

Specific Accountabilities

Working Conditions

Long hours may occasionally be called for. There are deadline pressures, while at the same time there is a demand for thoroughness, accuracy and acute attention to detail.

The incumbent is expected to respond to facility emergencies on a 24/7 basis.