Unity Health Toronto - Senior Director, Research Operations

  • LHH Knightsbridge
  • Hybrid
  • Nov 04, 2022
Full time Research

Job Description

Unity Health Toronto is one of Canada’s largest Catholic healthcare networks serving people across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary, secondary community, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. Unity Health is comprised of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital and Providence Healthcare.

Unity Health’s research mission is to generate ground-breaking, high-quality research that can be translated into improved care and outcomes for patients in Toronto and across the globe. Unity Health’s research spending in 2020-21 was more than $91 million, with more than 1,700 publications in 2020, and programs cover the spectrum from fundamental basic biology to research in the community. St. Michael’s Hospital is the research hub within the Unity Health Network. It is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and is comprised of the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute. Unity Health is among the top 15 research hospitals in Canada and home to top-tier researchers recruited from around the world.


In 2021, Unity Health launched its first-ever Research Strategic Plan: 2021-2026, providing a compass for research for the next five years. By building on historic strengths, bolstering the distinct ecosystem in research at Unity Health, seeking opportunities to continue to expand research at Providence and St. Joseph’s, and taking advantage of the blended clinical and research environment, the plan identifies four pillars of world-class research and innovation:  Critical Care; Urban and Community Health; Organ Injury and Repair; Brain Health and Wellness.

The plan also outlines strategic enablers essential to success in achieving its ambitious goals:

·      Support the health and wellbeing of research community members and empower their growth and success;

·      Embed Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a core value;

·      Establish a robust patient, family and community partnership model;

·      Integrate data and advanced analytics as a driver;

·      Achieve excellence in research operations.


With a central role in continuing to build the capacity of one of Canada’s leading research hospital networks, the Senior Director, Research Operations supports Unity Health’s growing research agenda and contributes to the advancement of science, education and patient care and outcomes. Reporting to the Vice President, Research and Innovation, the Senior Director is accountable for strategic and operational oversight of the Office of Research Administration while working collaboratively with many internal and external stakeholders. The Senior Director provides direction and leadership to a team who support internal and external sponsored research programs throughout the network, including grants management, research finances, contract review and negotiation, and human resources. Primary responsibilities include:

·      Direct and lead long range strategic planning together with the Vice President, Research and Innovation to facilitate excellence in the conduct of research;

·      Collaborate with stakeholders internally across Unity Health and the Foundation, as well as externally with funders, universities, and other external research collaborators;

·      Lead and direct operations (contracts office, facilities, finance and human resources) and administration, including participation in policy and program development;

·      Oversee compliance, budgeting and evaluation of research programs;

·      Ensure research practices and reporting comply with the rules and guidelines of all relevant regulatory agencies;

·      Monitor risk and protect the network from research risks;

·      Optimize donor and foundation opportunities and achieve financial sustainability;  

·      Facilitate human resources leadership and management to support the delivery of world class research;

·      Recruit and retain best-in-class research and support staff to advance research excellence;

·      Lead improvements in efficiency and reliability of operational processes and workflows including planning and implementation of information systems to support research operations;

·      Provide exceptional service to internal and external stakeholders.



Experience and Competencies:  

·      Demonstrated ability to define a strategy and articulate a clear vision;

·      Progressive years of research administration experience in a hospital, university or other health research setting, managing large and complex research operations;

·      Strong general scientific knowledge and understanding;

·      Extensive experience working with funders, contracts, terms, contract negotiations, risk and compliance monitoring and reporting, and financial administration of grants; extensive knowledge of Tri-Council Policy Statement 2;

·      Highly developed critical/strategic thinking, planning, problem solving, conflict management, evaluation, negotiation and time management skills;

·      Excellent interpersonal and communications skills with the ability to build relationships across the research enterprise, the Unity Health network, the Foundation, the University, and with external agencies and partners;

·      An exceptional team leader who coaches, delegates, empowers, inspires and motivates people at all levels around a future vision, and who builds team capacity effectively;

·      Demonstrated commitment to embedding anti-racism, equity, diversity and inclusion principles in all aspects of operations, fostering a diverse and inclusive research environment;

·      Business and financial acumen with extensive experience building and managing complex forecasts and budgets with many accounts;

·      Experience leading teams through process improvements and organizational change including leading process flow improvements through software within a research context;

·      A collaborator and systems thinker with the ability to recognize opportunities for innovation and improvement;

·      Understanding of the planning and construction process and the ability to work knowledgeably with architects, engineers and contractors;

·      Ability to apply critical thinking and good judgement when handling confidential and sensitive information;

·      Master of Science or Master of Business Administration, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Unity Health Toronto serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care while investing in world-class research and education. Our commitment to anti-racism, equity and social accountability is essential to our ability to provide exceptional care experiences and to drive research and academic excellence, while our deeply held values of human dignity, compassion, excellence, community, and inclusivity drive us to continuously nurture an inclusive environment.

We are committed to creating a workplace culture where everyone feels valued, respected and welcome to be themselves, and where they are empowered to share different perspectives to inspire creativity and innovation. Unity Health encourages applicants to apply who are Indigenous, Black or Racialized, persons with disabilities, people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, and all others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

We are committed to accessibility in the candidate application and selection process. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage of the recruitment process, providing the applicant has met the bona-fide requirements of the vacant position. Applicants are asked to please make their accommodation requirements known when contacted.

As a condition of employment, all external hires will be required to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination or documentation unless a valid accommodation under the Ontario human rights code exists. Please note, if you are extended an offer of employment, you will be required to provide proof of vaccination in Ontario QR code format. All internal candidates must be in compliance with Unity Health Toronto’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.