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Call for Applications - Strategic Network Scientific Directors

Deadine May 29, 2009
How to Apply Letter of Application (including support letter from institution)
Form 100
Letters of Reference
Program Contact See below

Under the Forest Sector R&D Initiative, scientific directors are now being sought to play key roles in initiating and leading the development of four new NSERC strategic networks within the forest sector. NSERC Strategic Network Grants fund large-scale, multidisciplinary research projects that require a network approach and that involve collaboration between academic researchers and Canadian-based organizations. Four networks are anticipated to undertake research which will identify novel, high value products from forest biomass and new ways to efficiently collect and process this material. The suggested networks are:

  • Biomaterials and Chemicals Strategic Network
  • Innovative Wood Products and Building Systems Strategic Network
  • Innovative Green Papers Strategic Network
  • Value Chain Modeling Strategic Network

The four networks will address priority research elements identified by FPInnovations in their Flagship Innovation Program. FPInnovations, created from the merger of FERIC, Forintek Canada Corp., Paprican and Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, is a not-for-profit world leader which specializes in the creation of scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness, and responds to the priority needs of its industrial and government members.


Each scientific director must be an eminent Canadian researcher in one of the proposed research areas, must hold a faculty position in a Canadian university and have the vision and leadership to spearhead a large research endeavour that will contribute to the knowledge and innovation needs of Canada’s forest industry. In co-operation with FPInnovations, each scientific director will articulate a vision for the particular strategic network that will identify Canada’s existing strengths and develop the strategic thrusts that will build on these strengths to achieve both scientific and technological advances. Successful candidates will be expected to recruit a multidisciplinary team of Canadian researchers who can contribute to these strategic thrusts and achieve the research objectives. They will assemble research advisory committees of Canadian and international experts to assist in all aspects of the strategy development and progress monitoring.

Successful candidates will be appointed by NSERC for a five-year term.

Funds will be available to support initial networking activities (administration, travel, workshops) that will culminate in the development and submission of a proposal for an NSERC Strategic Network Grant. Such activities should focus on strengthening the interchanges between academic, government and industrial sectors to establish the framework for a successful network. The framework must consider:

  • research priorities and knowledge gaps
  • current research capacity and future needs
  • HQP training and skills needs
  • knowledge/technology transfer potential
  • management of the network
  • the potential impact on the Canadian forest sector and benefits to Canada

Application Procedure

Interested candidates must provide a letter of application to NSERC identifying the strategic network of interest and outlining their view of the current state of the selected research area in Canada and the world. The letter should also indicate their ideas on what the goals of the strategic network should be and how to achieve them. The letter of application must present evidence of the applicant’s research qualifications and ability to exercise leadership and to enter into effective collaborations. A recent Form 100 must be appended to the application. The application must also include a letter from a senior university official indicating the institution’s support for the application and its willingness to negotiate release from teaching and administrative duties, and to provide space and facilities needed.  Three letters of reference from individuals able to judge the candidate’s suitability for the position must be sent directly to NSERC.

Collection and Use of Personal Information

The information you provide in your application is collected under the authority of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Act.

The information is stored in a series of NSERC data banks described in Info Source. Details on the use of this information are provided in the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP).

Selection Criteria

The successful candidate will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • research excellence (international stature, research competence, track record)
  • leadership (demonstrated respect and support from the research community)
  • vision (clarity and originality of the candidate’s ideas for the development of a research strategy and the depth of understanding of the constraints and opportunities within the particular network)
  • interaction (ability to motivate and involve potential participants in the direction and delivery of the research initiative)
  • management and planning (demonstrated experience in managing a large, distributed research activity)

Review Process

Applications for the positions of scientific director will be reviewed by the Forest Sector Initiative Steering Committee. A short list of suitable candidates may be interviewed by the committee.

Letter of Application and supporting documents should be sent to:

NSERC Forest Sector R&D Initiative
Call for Applications – Scientific Directors
350 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1H5


Wendy Ryan - NSERC
Tel.: 613-996-9253