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Managing Director, The Water Institute (WI)

Department: Office of Research Effective Date: October 2010
Grade: USG 15 Reports to: Executive Director, The Water Institute

General Accountability

The Managing Director, (MD) is responsible for aspects of the overall business leadership, partnership development and the day-to-day operations of the Water Institute (WI). This position is central to maintaining the University of Waterloo as a leading centre for water research.

The Managing Director is accountable for:

1) Coordinating communications with members, directors, governance committees and boards of WI.
2) Fostering interactions with prospective industry, academic and government partners and stewarding existing relationships.

3) Raising the profile of the Institute and it’s researchers by planning and implementing a wide range of marketing and communications initiatives.
4) Advancing aspects of the education and training programs associated with the Water Institute.

5) Facilitating the operation of WI research projects, including proposal development, budgeting, and financial and technical reporting, in concert with other available uWaterloo  resources.
6) Managing administrative and supervisory functions for administrative staff, including human resources, financial management and space management.

Nature and Scope

In recognition of the substantial and evolving nature of water issues, the need for increased university-private sector-government cooperation and the strengths in water research already at the University of Waterloo, the 2007 strategic plan of the University, the Sixth Decade Plan, identified "water" as one of the six areas where institutes of international stature would be developed.  In April 2009, Senate approved establishment of the Water Institute, with substantial start up funding provided by the Univeristy.

The Water Institute is a major water research institute at the University of Waterloo comprised of over 100 faculty members and 300 graduate students focused on water-related research activities across all 6 faculties and nearly 20 departments. WI aims to facilitate excellence in research, education and innovation in water science, technology, management and governance. Through coordinated efforts with industry, government and institutional partners, both nationally and internationally, WI will establish a highly integrated capacity to address challenges related to the sustainability of water resources in support of healthy communities, economies and ecosystems. The WI is a central institutional unit that offers access to a fully integrated interdisciplinary research base that is focused on water-related topics. A principal component of the WI structure and a key role of the Managing Director will be the fostering and management of a collaborative partner network that draws from both the private and public sectors. This partner network includes internal collaboration with staff in all Faculties and business units across campus.

Statistical Data

Specific Accountabilities

Advancing the overall goals of The Water Institute

The Managing Director works with and reports to the Executive Director of WI to define and advance the overall goals of WI and manage the day-to-day operations of the Institute.  The MD will participate in the creation and implementation of a strategic business plan that defines the “business” goals, activities and metrics of the institute.  The plan will be created in conjunction with the Executive Director, drawing advice from the governing boards, and involving extensive consultation with stakeholders.  Strong working relationships are required across the university community, specifically with the Faculty Deans, University executive officers, University External Relations personnel and the faculty members of WI. This will involve the coordination of internal communications and regular meetings with the membership, committees and boards of WI.

Fostering interactions with prospective industry, academic and government partners, and stewarding existing collaborations

A central role of the MD will be to manage external relationships, including developing and servicing client relationships and tracking outcomes.  Much of the MD’s time will be spent targeting, pursuing and cultivating these external relationships, collaborations and partnerships. The MD will be the first contact for inquiries about WI from the private sector, government, other institutions and the media, and as such must have a full understanding of the scope of WI activities and strategic plans.  The MD will also cultivate incoming expressions of interest to engage with the Institute and keep the WI membership informed and aware of inquiries and potential research opportunities and will help to assess their viability.

The MD will steward and build on existing memorandums of understanding with partner academic institutions and industry and actively pursue new national and international partnerships. Collaborations are also expected to grow with municipal, provincial and federal government agencies, requiring the development of appropriate collaborative agreements. A broad spectrum of industrial partners currently invests in a wide range of water research activities. The MD will cultivate these and establish new industry relationships in support of research projects involving WI members and partners.  The MD is also responsible for the implementation of a technology transfer and commercialization plan for WI research outcomes. This plan will be developed in consultation and through the Waterloo Commercialization Office, the Accelerator Centre, various government commercialization funds and organizations (eg. OCE, NSERC), external Venture Capital and Angel Funds, and other means as appropriate.


Planning and implementing of marketing and communications initiatives.

The MD will create an integrated marketing and communications plan which may include the following elements.


Advancing aspects of the education and training programs

A core activity of WI is the fostering of new education and training opportunities. The MD will participate in facilitating market research, internal coordination and external communication related to education and training programs developed through WI. This will involve a combination of on-line offerings, technical short courses and support for a series of professional diploma offerings in a wide variety of water-related subjects.


Facilitating water-related research proposal preparation

As requested and where appropriate, the MD will participate in the preparation, coordination and implementation of major funding proposals stemming from the Water Institute.

 This will include:

Managing administrative and supervisory functions

The MD will contribute to the leadership and supervision for all administrative staff employees of WI, including aspects of planning for training and development, conducting performance appraisals, assigning job responsibilities and general supervision. The MD will be the primary liaison with Human Resources regarding all WI staffing issues including job descriptions, reclassifications, performance evaluations, payroll records and staff management issues. In addition, this position will, in consultation with the Director, authorize the purchase and allocation of equipment and furnishings for administration and outreach. The MD will also maintain internal relationship and communications with the Office of Research, Faculty- and University-level Development Staff and UW Service Offices (Finance, Graphics, Food Services etc.).

Working Conditions