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Collaboration Program Challenge Officer

Position to be filled: Up to 2 positions

City: Within a National Research Council Office across Canada 

Organizational Unit: National Programs and Business Services Branch 

Classification: RCO 

Tenure: Term, Assignments, Interchanges and secondments may be considered

Duration: 5 years with the possibility of extension of 2 years (7 year maximum)

Language Requirements: Various linguistic profiles with strong emphasis on fully bilingual (English and French)

The NRC Advantage


The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is the Government of Canada's largest research organization supporting industrial innovation, the advancement of knowledge and technology development. We collaborate with over 70 colleges, universities and hospitals annually, work with 800 companies on their projects, and provide advice or funding to over 8000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) each year.

We bring together the brightest minds to deliver tangible impacts on the lives of Canadians and people around the world. And now, we want to partner with you.  Let your expertise and inspirations make an impact by joining the NRC.

At NRC, we know diversity enables excellence in research and innovation. We are committed to a diverse and representative workforce, an open and inclusive work environment, and contributing to a more inclusive Canadian innovation system. 

NRC welcomes all qualified applicants and encourages candidates to self-declare as members of the following designated employment equity groups: women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities.

Please advise of any accommodation measures required to enable you to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner. They are available to all candidates for further assessment. Related information received will be addressed confidentially.


NRC conducts strategic research to meet Canada’s current and future industrial and societal needs by creating, disseminating and mobilizing scientific knowledge, providing technical R&D services and advancing the market readiness of solutions. The outputs and outcomes of these activities are delivered through mission-oriented Programs which draw on our people, equipment and facilities.


NRC will deliver Collaborative R&D programs designed to be mission oriented to address Government of Canada priorities and disruptive technology areas, and will combine NRC, university, SMEs, MNEs and other government researchers to work together in teams.  Each program is expected to be multi-disciplinary, with various NRC Research Centres involved, and multi-year (5 to 7 years) duration.


These collaborative R&D programs will make use of Grants and Contribution (G&C) to better engage partners (e.g., universities, private sector researchers, and international experts) in program delivery.


In its ongoing evolution to the new program delivery model, NRC is seeking Collaboration Program Challenge Officers to oversee and manage the allocation of the funding and the delivery against established priorities and outcomes.

Background (Con't)

As a Collaboration Program Challenge Officer you will have the opportunity to shape national initiatives to facilitate collaboration between academia, industry and other organizations nationally and internationally and NRC’s highly qualified multidisciplinary NRC teams to deliver on specific Program goals and objectives.


This is a unique opportunity to play a leadership role in facilitating the development and deployment of intellectual property assets across a large spectrum of foundational platforms across a large number of industry sectors and policy priorities with potential for great impact for Canada and globally. 


As a result you will have contributed to making a real difference in the lives of Canadians and garnering international recognition for Canadian innovation.

Your Challenge

The NRC Collaborative Programs delivery model brings together large teams of NRC and external researchers to respond to national, government endorsed challenges with a DARPA-like dynamic, in that Grants & Contribution funding (a total of $27M annually) must be focused on performing projects that ensure research program objectives are met.


Collaboration Program Challenge Officers will perform an impartial challenge role. They will need to credibly assess and challenge program and project proposals relying on their deep understanding of technology and on their experience in delivering support to (and as applicable managing) research and technology programs.  They be expected to manage and navigate a diverse set of relationships including NRC researchers, different levels of management and a varying number of external collaborators; support programs in addressing or mitigating challenging situations, and recommend the reallocation of funding from non-performing projects based on sound rationale.


Reporting to the Director of the National Program Office, the Collaboration Program Challenge Officers will work closely with Program Directors to ensure that NRC’s Collaboration Programs achieve their outcomes. At the outset, the allocation of contribution funding will include both disruptive Challenge Programs that address government priority areas and programs supporting each of the federally-funded Superclusters. They will also provide an impartial challenge function for the Ideation Small Teams projects.  These projects are smaller in scale, include a grant and contribution component and may have the potential to result in the next generation of full-scale programs.


As such, Collaboration Program Challenge Officers will advise on, help shape and be responsible for monitoring and reporting on both the allocation of significant internal resources into multi-year, cross-disciplinary and cross-Research Centre research programs, and the allotment of contribution funding to NRC partners across all Collaboration and Ideation Programs.

This role is responsible for ensuring that the design and execution of program/project proposals are sound and of high research excellence, and are aligned to deliver on identified priorities.  This challenge function takes place at all stages of program/project design and execution including but not limited to: research focus, team composition, external collaboration through grants and contributions, business models for delivery, allocation of funding, and meeting of performance and milestone targets.

The successful incumbent will build networks with researchers and management, within NRC, at Canadian and international research institutions and in small and medium-sized enterprises, and with subject matter experts in support of delivering best in class research.

Screening Criteria

Applicants must demonstrate within the content of their application that they meet the following screening criteria in order to be given further consideration as candidates:


A post- graduate degree in Science, Engineering or Technology in a discipline related to the position from a recognized university.  A bachelor's degree with significant work experience relevant to the position may be considered.


Candidates are also expected to have a complimentary business degree, program management certification or equivalent demonstrated related business and/or program management experience.


For information on certificates and diplomas issued abroad, please see Degree equivalency


Technical/Industry relevant Experience:

The proponent must have technical background and experience in one or more of the following technical/scientific areas: 

  • Digital technologies and AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Synthetic Biology, cell therapy, microfluidics, computational biology and chimeric antigen receptors
  • Quantum technologies, secure communications, machine learning, cybersecurity, advanced electronics, photonics, quantum networks
  • Next Generation Materials, materials chemistry, catalysis, computational materials development, numerical modelling, chemical synthesis, materials fabrication, artificial photosynthesis
  • Next Generation Sensors, Internet of Things, robotics, additive manufacturing
  • Carbon neutral technologies

Industry sectors:

  • Health
  • Ocean (marine renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas, defence, shipbuilding, and transportation)
  • Advanced manufacturing (automotive, food processing, steel, wood products, materials, new devices)
  • Agriculture and agri-food
  • Telecommunications
  • Clean energy


  • Significant experience in a performing an oversight challenge role within a scientific or research environment.
  • Significant experience managing a diverse set of stakeholders relationships spanning the government, academic and private sectors, with researchers, managers and research administrators.
  • Scientific experience in academia, industry and/or technology investment that is relevant to the specific challenge officer role.
  • Extensive experience in the development, overseeing or monitoring of Federal program management and/or the management of multi-year research programs as well as technology transfer.
  • Experience performing detailed due diligence on project proposals including assessment of research and technology plans and the assessment of project finances.
  • Extensive and recent experience providing strategic advice to senior level executives including Presidents, Vice Presidents and/or other equivalent positions in the public or private sectors, on complex initiatives.
  • Significant experience within the relevant scientific and technological domains gained through experience with industry, government or other partnerships.

Condition of Employment

Secret (II)

Language requirements

Various linguistic profiles with strong emphasis on fully bilingual (English and French)


Information on language requirements and self-assessment tests

Assessment Criteria

Candidates will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Technical Competencies

  • Effective interpersonal skills to work with cooperatively and effectively with a broad range of client, colleagues and stakeholders.
  • Knowledge of the NRC, and its mandate, programs and awareness of the characteristics and special requirements of an innovation program and scientific research environment.
  • Ability to work within the management context of the National Research Council, and its standing as an agency delivering on federal priorities through the formal delivery of grant and contribution programing.
  • Ability to understand feasibility of design and be able to communicate concerns effectively to project teams.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize information, assess risks and opportunities and make recommendation on potential courses of action.
  • A strong background in communication, program management, and technology transfer.
  • An ability to span science and engineering systems with the ability to understand convergent market requirements and realities
  • Proven ability to demonstrate leadership in communicating a vision and bringing different communities together to catalyze something new initiatives.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Management services - Results orientation (Level 3)
  • Management services - Conceptual and analytical ability (Level 3)
  • Management services - Client focus (Level 3)
  • Management services - Networking (Level 3)
  • Management services - Organizational and environmental awareness (Level 3)
  • Management services - Communication (Level 4)

Competency Profile(s)

For this position, the NRC will evaluate candidates using the following competency profile(s):  Management Services;


View all competency profiles


Relocation assistance will be determined in accordance with the NRC's directives.

Salary Range

This position is classified as a Research Council Officer (RCO), a group that is unique to the NRC. The RCO group uses a person-based classification system instead of the more common duties-based classification system. Candidates are remunerated based on their expertise, skill, outcomes and impacts of their previous work experience. The salary scale for this group is vast, from $52,854 to $149,416 per annum, which permits for employees of all levels from new graduates to world renowned experts to be fairly compensated for their contributions. 


In addition, the incumbent who meets the language requirements will  receive the Bilingualism Bonus of $800 per year.


  • In order to ensure a prompt and efficient processing of applications, candidates are encouraged to provide, along with their résumé, a detailed covering letter explaining how they meet each of the requirements of this position (education, experience, language requirements) by providing concrete examples.  In addition, the candidate is encouraged to describe in detail when, where and how he/she gained the experience.
  • Candidates who have Second Language Evaluation (SLE) test results with the Public Service Commission should include these results with their application.
  • A pre-qualified list may be established for similar positions for a one year period.
  • NRC employees enjoy a wide-range of benefits including comprehensive health and dental plans, pension and insurance plans, vacation and other leave entitlements.
  • Preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. Please include citizenship information in your application.
  • The incumbent must adhere to safe workplace practices at all times.


Please direct your questions, with the requisition number (5318) to:


Telephone: 613-990-1679 

Closing Date: Posted until filled



For more information on career tools and other resources, check out Career tools and resources


Date Modified: 2018-11-23

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