Senior Research Data Management Specialist
City : Waterloo, ON
Category : Permanent
Industry : Education
Employer : University of Waterloo
The Global Water Futures Observatories (GWFO) is a cohort of data collection systems that are used to monitor meteorological, hydrological, water quality, land use and aquatic ecosystem aspects of Canada’s freshwaters in an integrated facility nested within major river basins and lakes and strategically linked to local laboratories and deployable measurement systems. It is a collaborative initiative between multiple Canadian universities funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation 2023 Major Science Initiative Fund. The GWFO aims to support risk management solutions for water resources and services – informed by leading edge water science and supported by innovative decision-making tools – in Canada and throughout the cold regions of the world.
The incumbent principal responsibility will be to implement, monitor and evaluate the University of Waterloo’s data commitments to GWFO data management and policy framework, in accordance with the FAIR (Findable; Accessible; Interoperable; Reusable) Data Principles, GWFO Data Policy, Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy, and the University of Waterloo Research Data Management Institutional Strategy. Data management responsibilities will also include metadata and bibliometric analysis, engagement and outreach, training, as well as support for research data management (RDM) best practices. The incumbent is expected to participate in the GWFO community at University of Waterloo and across Canada, the Canadian RDM community, as well as with stakeholders in Canada, including, government, nonprofit and industry partners and is expected to take initiative to help steer policies at the appropriate levels when possible.
The incumbent will work with diverse datasets, including historical and real-time hydrometeorological, and water quality and quantity data from large-scale observatories, big datasets from drone and satellite remote sensing, as well as data from chemical, ecological, social, cultural, and economic observations, from multiple sources, very large output fields from high resolution atmospheric and earth system models, and crowd-sourced data. The incumbent will collaborate with University of Waterloo faculty, technicians, students, project officers, and research administrators, as well as their data management counterparts across the GWFO network to implement GWFO data policy. The position requires discretion, a high level of integrity, and independent judgment.
This role will be permanent, but it is contingent on funding.Responsibilities:
Data Management Planning, Organization, and Documentation:
- Prepare, in consultation with principal investigators, data management plans for data stewardship, including metadata collation, discovery, and access for research projects funded by Tri-Agency and other funding sources.
- Collaborate with researchers, HQP, research and library administrators to identify data mobilization priorities.
- Design and implement data collection strategies, including tools, protocols, and quality assurance processes, to ensure accurate and reliable data acquisition.
- Establish and maintain data organization systems, including file naming conventions, metadata standards, and data dictionaries, to ensure consistency and discoverability of research data.
- Implement standardized data schemas, ontologies, and metadata standards to facilitate interoperability and data discovery.
- Develop and implement data documentation practices, such as codebooks, descriptions, and provenance documentation, to facilitate data understanding and reuse.
Data Publication, Discovery, Preservation, and Access:
- Develop strategies and workflows for long-term data preservation and archiving, ensuring compliance with data retention policies and disciplinary standards in GWFO and University of Waterloo.
- Recommend best-fit repositories based on discipline, data type, open access obligations, and publishing requirements.
- Facilitate data sharing and open science practices by guiding researchers in publishing research data in suitable repositories and complying with data sharing requirements.
- Review submitted metadata and data files, to ensure compliance with guidelines and standards.
- Advise on the use of data management systems, such as data catalogues, portals, and platforms, to enable seamless data discovery.
- Collaborate with university librarians, IT professionals, and domain experts to use data repositories and comply with data sharing and open access policies.
Data Ethics, Compliance, and Governance:
- Ensure research data management practices adhere to ethical principles, regulatory requirements, and privacy laws.
- Stay updated on relevant policies and regulations related to research data management, advising researchers on compliance matters.
- Develop and implement data governance frameworks, policies, and procedures to ensure data quality, integrity, and compliance with institutional and funding requirements.
- Conduct regular data policies audits and quantitative assessments, utilizing analytics services and metrics to identify areas for improvement and implement quality control measures.
Training and Stakeholder Engagement:
- Liaise with faculty, students, project officers, librarians, research administrators, knowledge mobilization officers as well as data management counterparts across the GWFO network and across Canada to increase the availability and accessibility of research outputs.
- Respond to researchers, faculty, students, and staff requests within GWFO.
- Coordinate communications, meetings, and data access controls within GWFO.
- Participate in working groups and communities of practice to support data management exercises and facilitate resource deployment.
- Develop training materials and provide guidance to researchers, faculty, students, and staff on research data management best practices.
- Serve as a resource person for data-related queries, offering technical support and troubleshooting assistance.
- Train researchers and students in meta(data) record preparation and submission to repositories (e.g., FRDR, DataStream).
- Engage in conferences, workshops, and professional networks to share/disseminate knowledge and collaborate with experts.
Project Management and Continuous Improvement:
- Manage data analytics for projects, ensuring best practices and consistent definitions to support evidence-based decision-making in data policy implementation.
- Coordinate and advise on research data evaluation of funded projects according to the FAIR data principles.
- Identify and implement continuous improvement of business processes, including data systems and reporting.
- Investigate new tools, datasets, backup systems, and practices to recommend improvements in data analytics.
- Participate in the procurement, implementation, and ongoing operation of relevant data information systems.
- Conduct research in data management or related fields and publish research in peer review journals as needed.
- Fulfill other general and specific duties as required.
- A graduate degree in a GWFO related field (e.g., atmospheric/climate/water sciences or related environmental science) is required.
- At least five (5) years of experience in managing weather, climate, water quality, land use and other environmental data across multiple projects is required, preferably in an academic or research institution.
- Demonstrated in-depth knowledge of research data collection, statistical analysis and curation trends and issues in the Canadian academic environment, including Canadian research data initiatives; disciplinary, institutional, and collaborative data repositories.
- Experience in developing creative solutions to implementing data policy and evaluating data management policies.
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment with demonstrated ability to implement multiple data management plans for research projects and work under uncertainty, manage vague requirements, etc.
- Familiarity with the Canadian research data management policy landscape, including the Tri-Agency RDM and Open Access policies.
- Experience in acquisition of open-sourced off-the-shelf solutions and overseeing their implementation through activities that include project management, configuration, customization, and integration with other systems will be an asset.
- Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (e.g., Word, Excel and Powerpoint).
- Knowledge of and competencies with common metadata schemas (e.g., WQX Standards, ISO 19115, WMO WIGOS Metadata) and Canadian repositories (e.g., FRDR, DataStream).
- Competencies with statistical analysis software (e.g., R, SPSS, Stata).
- Excellent oral and written communication skills as demonstrated by publishing articles, success in engaging, understanding, and supporting data users, including proven presentation and public-speaking abilities.
- Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as in multidisciplinary team environment and serve as a team leader; ability to plan, organize and implement data management projects.
- Comfortable and interested in interacting with researchers and stakeholders who contribute metadata and data.
- Strong attention to detail
- Excellent organizational skills
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within our Office of Indigenous Relations.
The University values the diverse and intersectional identities of its students, faculty, and staff. The University regards equity and diversity as an integral part of academic excellence and is committed to accessibility for all employees. The University of Waterloo seeks applicants who embrace our values of equity, anti-racism and inclusion. As such, we encourage applications from candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including applicants who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuk (Inuit), Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
The University of Waterloo is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. If you have any application, interview, or workplace accommodation requests, please contact Human Resources at email@example.com or 519-888-4567, ext. 45935.