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Awards Officer

Date: August 24, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Associate Vice-President, Research
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Not Applicable
Department: Office of Research


Main Campus


USG 12
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The role of the Awards Officer is to orchestrate the submission of high-quality nominations of Waterloo faculty members for prestigious external research and teaching awards or honorific titles. The incumbent provides administrative support to the Waterloo Awards Committee (WAC); liaises with the Science Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) through the STIC Chair and its client-facing representative, the Interagency Coordinator; and provides support and guidance to all faculty being nominated for external research and teaching awards. Working with WAC and in particular the Chair of WAC, the incumbent has responsibility for ensuring that all eligible Waterloo faculty are nominated for prestigious awards/honorific titles in their respective fields and that these nominations are internationally competitive and of the highest possible quality. This includes keeping Department Chairs, School Directors and Deans abreast of national and international awards/honorific titles for which their colleagues might be eligible as well as ensuring that qualified candidates are identified, that nomination packages including letters of reference fully meet sponsor guidelines or requirements, and that completed nominations are submitted within sponsor-prescribed timeframes.


Key Accountabilities:


The incumbent is responsible for spear-heading the development of high-quality nominations of uW faculty across all disciplines for over 150 prestigious national and international awards and honorific titles including: The Royal Society of Canada, NSERC and SSHRC award programs [SSHRC Gold medal/NSERC EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowship; NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation]; Trudeau Foundation Fellowships; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowships; the Tang Prize; the Fields Medal; Volvo International Environmental Prize; Japan Prize in Science and Technology. Communicates eligibility criteria, nomination procedures, and submission deadlines for upcoming awards to Deans, Chairs, Directors and faculty through workshops, email notifications, and face-to-face meetings.


Organizes meetings of the Waterloo Awards Committee (WAC). Includes: planning a minimum of five full-committee meetings annually (complement of 21 committee members); organizing meetings of sub-committees for individual award competitions (e.g., the NSERC EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowship); preparing and distributing the agenda for meetings and attendant meeting materials that include detailed information on the awards and honorific titles slated for discussion.


Maintains an Awards Database (tracks all uW recipients of research and teaching awards and honorific titles); maintains an Awards Catalogue – an online listing of current opportunities available to faculty in all disciplines; assists Community Relations & Special Events with planning and executing the annual Awards Recognition Event (President’s Reception for Excellence in Teaching and Research); maintains a library of successful nomination packages and various templates for use in the preparation of nominations.


The incumbent spear-heads initiatives to ensure that nominations are internationally competitive. This includes a detailed review of all nominations for impact, clarity, adherence to guidelines, grammar and typographical errors and, if appropriate, budget accuracy.  Orchestrates the preparation of institutional letters of support; determines institutional and investigator eligibility; provides institutional information/registration; provides and/or coordinates institutional approval of applications and nomination/reference letters. Execution of responsibilities requires regular interaction with award sponsors to ensure full awareness of sponsor focus, objectives, expectations and guidelines for the preparation of nominations. The incumbent must assure that all nominations are in compliance with both university and sponsor policies and guidelines.


Interacts with senior academicians and dignitaries around the world to secure external reference letters in support of nominations.


For those successful awards that require agreements (e.g., Trudeau Fellowships), negotiates and executes the terms of the  agreement, e.g., sponsor agreements, non-disclosure agreements, material transfer agreements; manages the terms and conditions of the agreements for their duration including reporting as required to award recipients, research finance, and sponsors; prepares, negotiates and manages sub-award agreements and amendments with other universities and research institutions as required.


Interacts/liaises with:

- International and National Sponsor Agencies including UNESCO; Royal Society; IEEE; NSERC; SSHRC; CIHR; Academic Associations (Association for Psychological Science – APS; Canadian Association of Physicists – CAPs; American Association for the Advancement of Science); Order of Canada – Governor General’s Office;

- Science Technology and Innovation Council (STIC); Chair and Interagency Coordinator; Awards specialists at Canadian Universities through the Canadian Association of Research Administrators – Awards Special Interest Group.

Position Requirements


Master’s degree or equivalent experience


5+ years relevant experience in research administration, preferably awards. Demonstrated ability to edit and review nomination packages (including budgets where applicable). Knowledge of National and International awards programs and policies – pre- and post-award. Proven ability to negotiate agreements associated with award nominations, managing risk as appropriate. Familiarity with the academic research and teaching environment.


Strong project- and time-management, attention-to-detail, and problem-solving skills. Ability and confidence to communicate effectively with members of the senior administration, faculty members and staff members broadly across uW and at other Institutions, and with key award sponsor staff.  Have, or be able to obtain, knowledge of the academic environment and research-related policies, procedures and general practices. Ability to work with confidential information. Ability to work independently and as part of a team, and the capacity to work effectively and efficiently in a complex, fast-paced and changing environment with numerous deadlines and priorities are essential. Strong analytical skills including an ability to accurately interpret data and to integrate report-data from various sources


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate Access; InfoEd; Adobe Acrobat Pro; Sponsor application software

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internal: Reports to Associate Vice-President, Research. Interacts with Office of Research personnel: Vice-President, University Research; Associate Vice-President, Research; Director, Institutional Programs; Director, Senior Managers, and Managers, Research Finance. Interacts with Deans; Associate Deans, Research; Department Chairs;  School Directors; personnel in the Graduate Studies Office. Supports, advises and provides feedback to faculty members involved in the preparation of award nomination packages. External: Liaises and negotiates with sponsor representatives.  

Level of Responsibility:

Ensures nominations for prestigious awards comply with university and sponsor policies and procedures, as well as legal requirements. Negotiation of agreements with sponsors, institutions, and private organizations. 

Decision-Making Authority:

Signing authority on Awards agreements associated with successful nominations as per Secretariat Procedures 1A and 10.  

Physical and Sensory Demands:

This role entails minimal physical effort which may result in moderate fatigue, strain or injury, as a substantial amount of time is spent sitting at a computer doing repetitive keyboard/mouse movement. Sensory demands are high as concentration and attentiveness to detail are imperative. The environment yields many distractions with phone, e-mail and constant interruptions. Peak times escalate both sensory and physical demands.

Working Environment:

This role involves minimal risk resulting from contact with hazardous chemicals or environmental elements. Psychological risk factors are possible from stress and/or interactions with faculty for whom research is a personal and life-time commitment, and who may be demanding or emotional at times. This role involves irregular and, at times, high volumes of applications/agreements with multiple tight deadlines. Work outside of regular hours is required during high volume periods and year end.