Skip to the content of the web site.

Associate Director, Information Technology, IQC

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

USG 12

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Director, Strategy and Operations

General Accountability

Reporting to the Director, Strategy and Operations, at the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), the Associate Director, Information Technology (AD IT) provides a wide range of information technology services and information technology leadership to faculty, researchers, staff and students as members of IQC. In addition, the AD IT also provides consulting information technology leadership as well as direct services to the Quantum NanoFabrication Facility located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre, co-ordinating solutions with the Director of Operations, Quantum NanoFabrication.

Nature and Scope

Successfully serving the continuous evolving nature of the Institute and its shared Quantum NanoFabrication Facility, demands an ability to anticipate the changing information technology needs of the Institute’s research and administrative requirements. As a result, the nature and scope of this position must evolve with these changes. The role of AD IT, requires a flexibility in leadership that enables an agile level of service to the Membership of the Institute. Co-ordinating the various information services and technology efforts in the Institute, the AD IT is accountable for the leadership of a team of IT professionals who are tasked with the planning, execution, co-ordination and support of various information technology solutions used within IQC. An integral member of the IQC Operations’ Leadership Team, the AD IT actively participates in day-to-day management of IQC Operations and is a consulting resource for the Quantum NanoFabrication Facility in the realm of supporting information technology systems. Both a “player and coach”, the role of AD IT requires the incumbent to be as comfortable with physical execution as well as facilitation of solutions through delegation and/or participative coaching of junior staff. Due to the knowledge and leadership demands required by this role, the successful Associate Director, Information Technology will have an undergraduate degree in a related field of study and demonstrated levels of progressive leadership experience in an Information Technology service role.

Positions that report to this role:

Statistical Data

IQC was founded in 2002 with a complement of five faculty members from the University of Waterloo’s Faculties of Science and Mathematics. As of 2010, IQC comprises 8 scientific areas of focus and aims to reach 30 faculty members from its current level of 18. Along with the current complement of 4 research assistant professors, 35 research assistants, and 16 long-term visitors, the Institute is operationally supported by 23 administrative support personnel. The success of the Institute has attracted an increasing number of postdoctoral fellows, growing from two at IQC’s inception to 37 in 2010. It is expected that the number of postdoctoral fellows will reach the original target goal of 50 individuals. IQC is also experiencing an increasing demand from graduate students; from five at inception to the current number of 74, with a long-term goal of 125 students.

IQC faculty are engaged in leading-edge research, with a range of collaborators and partners, with over 100 active grants and contracts. Research funds awarded during the past fiscal year amounted to over $25 million. IQC has also received $50 million from Industry Canada and nearly $70 million from different granting agencies, adding to the significant original investment of over $100 million from Mike Lazaridis.

The Quantum NanoFabrication Facility located in the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre (QNC), is a University resource shared between the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Nanotechnology Institute, with members from 3 faculties and 7 departments.

The Quantum NanoFabrication Facility is unique in that it focuses on the fabrication and device testing of quantum and nano structures and therefore, serves the needs of two important institutes: the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN). It is one of the most complex facilities on campus and is used for performing research at the highest international level and to train highly qualified personnel for the development of new technologies, processes and materials. The Facility includes 10,000 sq. ft. of clean room, metrology and packaging lab space and is an integral part of the QNC.

Information Technology is deployed throughout the Institute and the Quantum NanoFab Facility and is an important success enabler for the communities served. The unique nature of IQC and the Quantum NanoFab Facility presents requests which are non-routine in nature and require consistent closure as an outcome of collaborative problem solving, reasoned judgement and co-ordinated actions executed in a timely fashion.

Specific Accountabilities


Technical Skills

The AD IT is an overall generalist, possessing a wide-ranging level of technical experience and a depth of knowledge in the areas of demand. The incumbent is comfortable with applying this breadth of technical knowledge when required to augment members of the IT Team; re-enforcing the concept of team-oriented service delivery. There are occurrences when the knowledge and/or experience required to address a required solution demands the direct hands-on involvement of the incumbent.

Areas of technical responsibility will evolve to keep pace with changes in technology and the needs of the Institute. As a guideline, some of the current areas of required experience and knowledge include:

The AD IT co-ordinates the development of software solutions that enable the operational effectiveness of the Institute. This task requires the incumbent to work directly with various communities of the Institute and the Quantum NanoFab to either create or adapt existing software for research and operational needs.


The role of AD IT demands that the individual provide leadership in two domains, the coaching of the IT Team, and technology solution leadership for the IQC community and Quantum NanoFab Facility.

Providing leadership to the Team is crucial to the overall day-to-day continuity of the successful execution of the service model. The AD IT role provides a focal point for building and maintaining momentum, quality and precision focus of the overall combined team effort. Building upon the vision set forth by the Executive Leadership of the Institute and with consideration of the needs of the Quantum NanoFab, the AD IT leads the IT Team to develop and execute a strategy that fulfills these needs.

The incumbent also provides conceptual expertise to members of the Institute and the Quantum NanoFab on matters of operational information technology solutions. Leadership is provided in the areas of best methods, current technologies and possible solution architectures.

Staff Training and Development

A key responsibility of this role is to foster practical knowledge on the use of information technology as one of the enablers of operating the Institute. The AD IT role is a principal leader in the transfer of information technology knowledge to others throughout the Institute and Quantum NanoFab Facility. Various delivery vectors are exploited ranging from direct ad hoc communication through to structured seminar delivery. By implication, the creation of learning materials is required. In addition, the role also requires the practice of training (and supporting) others within the operations team to impart information transfer to their peers.

The human development of the IT team is a responsibility of this role. Working with each team member, development opportunities are sought and encouraged as part of a learning team workplace environment. Using a coaching paradigm, the AD IT builds upon the need for the individual growth of each team member, through mentoring, evaluation (informal and formal) and encouragement.

The incumbent prepares a yearly formal evaluation of each direct report team member, and working with each team member builds and maintains a professional development plan.

Challenges and Opportunities

Technical Diversity: As the Institute draws from various scientific disciplines, it presents the challenge to provide a technology environment that is compatible with a broad number of information technology platforms ranging from mainstream commercial offerings from Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle to those from the open-source community such as Linux and Android.

The specific platform is of lesser importance over the need to be able to adapt to the changing evolution of the needs of the research community within the Institute and the community of the Quantum NanoFab Facility.

Blackbox Systems: The integration and operation of existing technologies within a diverse technical environment presents systems in which the internal operations of the system are obscured. The systems are undocumented or poorly documented, resulting in the incumbent having the ability to infer their operation through evaluation and experience. These so called blackbox systems, present challenges for integration and day-to-day operation.

Rapid and Continuous Change, Scalability: Both IQC and the Quantum NanoFabrication Facility are experiencing rapid change through growth and the introduction of new technologies that supports the research demographic that each organization serves. The opportunity for the AD IT is to construct and continue to promote an environment that is able to effectively scale to meet the rate of change while continuing to deliver existing services without placing the IT team and the communities they serve at high levels of risk.

Conflicting Priorities: An ever-present challenge for the AD IT is the balancing of priorities that present from the three supported communities, namely, research members, the Quantum NanoFab Facility and the day-to-day operational needs of the Institute. Each group can operate on independent timelines which may place the IT team with a resource contention which must be managed by the Team. It is the responsibility of the AD IT to coach the Team (and those requesting service) through a resolution of such limitations using the techniques of good communication, planning and negotiation.

Management Challenges: It is a requirement of the role to provide considerate support to customers and team members for those occurrences when personality conflicts and/or individual performance issues arise. Drawing upon experience and management training, the AD IT facilitates resolution strategies to those involved in an attempt to create an environment of collegiality, team and individual success.


The AD IT maintains and builds relationships with all IQC member groups including Faculty, Researchers, Students and Operational Teams as well as the Operating staff of the Quantum NanoFabrication Facility. These relationships foster the successful understanding and implementation of information technologies that act as enablers for each of these communities.

In addition, the role has relationships with other technology groups located outside the Institute, such as Information Systems and Technology (IST) and Math Faculty Computing Facility (MFCF). As required, the role also maintains relationships to other technical teams outside the University such as MIT, Stanford University and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.


Working Conditions

The position routinely fosters a working environment which is highly team oriented, with an emphasis on building strong complementary working relationships through open communication, shared experiences, continual improvement and achieving timely results.

The information technology requirements of the Institute and the Quantum NanoFabrication Facility align to the evolving needs of the Faculty and research membership and as such, result in an environment which requires continuous adaptation.

Physical Effort: Periodic lifting and carrying of heavy, bulky computing equipment: servers, workstations, displays and printers.

Physical Environment : Frequent walking and climbing of stairs is required to reach support areas and end-users within the Facility; some ongoing background noise from computing and server equipment.

Sensory Requirements : Empathy, understanding and sensitivity towards clients who are exhibiting stress or anxiety.

Mental Stress : Must be able to deal with the pressure of multiple, concurrent demands for service in a fast paced and occasionally intense environment; must be able to cope with the pressure to independently and consistently acquire and apply technical knowledge while under time sensitive demands; must be able to lead personalities who are in conflict.

Due to the relative small size of the IQC Information Technology Team, there exists periodic requirements to work outside the standard core hours. This extra effort is required to address the ongoing expressed information technology needs of a quickly growing Institute.