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Data Manager

Department: Propel Centre for Population Health Impact Effective Date: December, 2009

USG 7-9

Reports to: Senior Manager

General Accountability

The Data Manger reports to the Senior Manager and is accountable to Affiliated Faculty Investigators, Centre Directors, and the Data Analysts for managing data and software applications for Centre projects. The Data Manager works closely with Investigators, Centre Directors, Data Analysts and Project Managers to ensure the design, development, and maintenance of multiple complex databases, and the programming and implementation of various software applications, for both research projects and the Centre itself.

Nature and Scope

The Propel Centre for Population Health Impact is a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and the University of Waterloo.  Propel collaborates and partners with these and other leaders in science, policy and practice across Canada and beyond. Propel is a new entity that builds on the Canadian Cancer Society founded Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation (CBRPE) by bringing together staff from CBRPE and the Population Health Research Group (PHR). Propel is a collaborative enterprise that conducts solution-oriented research, evaluation and knowledge exchange to accelerate improvements in the health of populations.  The Centre is only one of its kind in Canada, demonstrating the unique vision that the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Cancer Society share.

We work with urgency to inform and improve policies and programs that impact health at a population level.  Our initial priorities are tobacco control, youth health, active living and healthy eating, and quality of life.

The goal of the Centre is to position itself as one of the six Centre’s of Excellence in the UW 6th Decade plan.  As a result, investigator engagement from UW and externally is essential.  The Centre has a national and international mandate.

Major Challenges of the Position

The Data Manager will possess or have the ability to learn the following accountabilities depending on project-related needs.

Positions Reporting to the Data Manager

At any given time during the course of project work, one or more co-op/casual staff students and, where appropriate, junior level Data Managers will report to a senior level Data Manager. Co-op and/or casual staff students will be given specific data-related tasks to perform under the direction of Data Managers. Junior level data managers may consult with senior data managers and/or data analysts, where appropriate when questions arise

Statistical Data

Propel supports over $5 million in funding annually of research and contract projects for numerous national and international clients.  Many of these projects are awarded to the Centre directly (not requiring a competitive process) due to reputational creditability.  The goal is to attract another (one or more) core partner (s) with a minimum $1 million per year in support.

Numerous external relationships with senior leaders at other universities, government, foundations and not-for-profit agencies, nationally and internationally are essential in order to partner within the science, policy and practice arenas.

The staff complement is currently 44 FTEs’ with 4 Scientists.  There are numerous affiliated Scientists who work with the Centre as well.

Specific Accountabilities

Career Path

Each level of the Data Manager position builds on prior levels.  Advancement to higher levels is in recognition of substantial increases in depth and breadth of experience, complemented by increases in cross-project organization and planning, leadership, supervision and accountability. 


This is the usual entry-level position for an individual who has a relevant university degree with suitable familiarity with data management and analysis techniques for social/health research, applicable work experience and good interpersonal and communication skills. Staff work independently on assigned tasks and seek guidance from senior Data Managers, Investigators, Centre Directors, Data Analysts and Senior Managers when appropriate.



Data Managers at this level participate in a broader variety of tasks and usually at a level that requires independent thought and idea generation. This level requires in-depth knowledge of methods for the design of data files and databases related to different types of population health research and evaluation studies.  High productivity and proficiency in problem-solving has been demonstrated.  Participation in the development of system and database reports is required and involvement in report writing is expected. They assume responsibility for the integrity and functionality of databases and/or software designs.




This is the usual entry-level position for an individual who has a Master’s degree.  Data Managers at this level provide conceptual oversight and direction in the design of databases, data files, websites (intranets/internets); taking the lead in managing the data needs of research projects as well as the overall data needs of Propel.  They should also be able to anticipate emerging needs at a project as well as centre-wide level. They have expert knowledge and substantial expertise with complex data files and database systems, hardware and software packages, with the ability to acquire and use new technologies and techniques including those related to data warehousing applications.  They assume responsibility for the end product from data files, databases and/or software/hardware designs.

Working Conditions

This position involves office work in a comfortable indoor area.  Time is spent at an ergonomically appropriate work station with suitable computing equipment and accessories.  There are frequent opportunities for meetings and interaction with co-workers.  The work is varied.  There are deadline pressures and a demand for thoroughness and accuracy. Extended hours and travel are occasionally required.