Local recruitment: Data and Technology Policy Advisor

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Canada 🇨🇦


The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 120 people, plus over 150 associates and consultants, come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.

IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is one of the world’s most influential freshwater research facilities. It features a collection of 58 small lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada. For over 50 years, scientists at IISD-ELA have conducted whole-ecosystem experiments and made significant scientific discoveries related to issues such as acid rain, mercury from air pollution, algal blooms, and pharmaceutical chemicals in water. The facility is operated by the International Institute for Sustainable Development—an independent think tank headquartered in Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory—the traditional land of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwe-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and homeland of the MĂ©tis Nation. IISD-ELA has one of the world’s most extensive research databases, including data on parameters associated with climate, water quality, water quantity, and aquatic habitat that have informed our understanding of aquatic ecosystems globally.

IISD’s Water Program comprises freshwater scientists, engineers, and a multidisciplinary team of policy researchers who work with governments, civil society, communities, and businesses to help them manage land and water for optimum, sustainable ecological and human benefits while managing climate-related risks. Over the past few years, our work has, in part, focused on quantifiable measures of freshwater management—highlighting transferable metrics for effective land and water management, and guiding the collection, management, and use of data for effective and targeted decision making.

The Position

IISD is currently looking for a data and technology advisor to work with IISD-ELA and the Water Program. The successful candidate will provide strategic oversight, coordination, research, and communication support for an IISD project (Accelerating Ecology) and contribute to work related to the development of outcomes measures and related monitoring systems for water management. This work involves working with research institutions, industrial water users, and commercial technology partners to put artificial intelligence and other data technology to use to predict and help prepare for a changing climate and the associated impacts on drinking water, recreation, and fisheries. In addition, the successful candidate will contribute to the development of consistent monitoring protocols and guidance for data collection and data management for effective water policy in Canada. The successful candidate will jointly report to the Director, Water Management, and the Deputy Director of IISD-ELA.

The successful candidate will manage and coordinate the project, including directing day-to-day implementation, engaging partners, and overseeing consultants, ensuring the timely delivery of activities. The successful candidate will connect this initiative with IISD’s broader portfolio of work on land and water management in Canada and globally. The successful candidate will be part of a multidisciplinary team, working closely with other IISD staff and affiliates.


The successful candidate’s key areas of responsibility will include but not be limited to: 

Research (40%):

  • Conduct research on the use of new remote monitoring technology and best practice in data collection, management, and use.
  • Apply AI to IISD-ELA data and emerging data sets to support watersheds, municipalities, and industries that desire a better understanding of environmental data to make decisions about their practices, thus building transparency and trust while changing behaviour for the better.
  • Conduct and contribute to targeted research related to the use of data and technology for environmental monitoring.
  • Conduct research and provide guidance on data collection, management, and use in the context of water policy on the Canadian prairies.
  • Follow and summarize news and events related to data and technology and water in Canada and globally.

Coordination and Implementation (40%):

  • Establish connections with WaterTech-focused accelerators across Canada to guide businesses toward sustainable resource use and develop technologies needed to protect Canada’s fresh water in a changing climate.
  • Work with water end users—municipalities, watersheds, and communities to design, test, and implement the use of data and technology for water monitoring and management.
  • Establish connections between data providers and data users in the context of water research and management.
  • Contribute to the delivery of key activities focused on data use for effective decision making in the context of water management in Canada.
  • Oversee the delivery of key activities and day-to-day operations of Accelerating Ecology and other data and technology projects as required.
  • Oversee the preparation of narrative and financial reports to funders.
  • Support other IISD personnel with the identification of new fundraising opportunities and the development of new project ideas and proposals.

Communications and Outreach (20%):

  • Develop (or contribute to the development) and implementation of a communications strategy for the Accelerating Ecology Initiative.
  • Organize and support virtual and in-person outreach and communication events, such as webinars, in close collaboration with the IISD communications team.
  • Develop written communication products, such as blogs, case studies, short briefs, and longer research reports.

Required Knowledge and Skills 

The data and technology advisor will bring the following knowledge and skillset to the position:

  • Knowledge and experience in data collection, data management, and the use of data for effective decision making.
  • Knowledge and experience in data analytics for environmental or other end users.
  • Knowledge or experience with various forms of data collection and analytics, including remote sensing, telemetry, artificial intelligence, spatial analysis etc.
  • Experience with SQL and relational databases, including analysis, creating/managing views and generating reports as well as high-level scientific scripting languages, including Python and R are considered an asset.
  • Familiarity with data governance concepts.
  • Familiarity or experience with GIS.
  • Strategic thinking, coordination, and engagement skills.
  • Strong networking skills, with a knowledge of existing data and technology communities in Canada.
  • Excellent writing skills and strong oral communication skills; capacity to communicate policy issues and research findings clearly and succinctly to different audiences via various platforms.
  • Strong project management and organizational skills.
  • Analytical capacity and ability to become familiar with new topics quickly. 
  • Results focused, with an ability to manage and prioritize multiple tasks and work quickly and accurately under tight deadlines.
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills.
  • A motivated self-starter with an ability to work independently and to manage and prioritize multiple tasks.


The data and technology policy advisor should possess the following qualifications:

  • Proven experience and expertise in data management and data analytics.
  • Academic background related to computer science with coursework in algorithms and data structures, database implementation, and distributed computing. A degree in environmental or natural sciences with professional experience in data management will also be considered.
  • A minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience in the field of data analytics and/or computer science.
  • Experience working with environmental datasets.
  • Experience using the following software and systems:
    • PostgreSQL
    • Amazon Web Services
    • FME
    • ArcGIS Online
    • Python or R
  • Ability to develop technical documentation, data standards, and policies.
  • Fluent in written and spoken English; ability to work (read, write, and speak) in French would be considered an asset.
  • Good understanding of regional planning and policies.
  • Experience working with traditional and social media is considered an asset.
  • Prior experience working with Indigenous communities would be considered an asset.
  • Availability to travel from time to time within Canada and internationally.
  • Must be currently eligible to work in Canada.  

Location:                  This will be a remote position based anywhere in Canada. The candidate would need to travel to Winnipeg and IISD-ELA periodically.

Term:                        Full-time

Salary:                      CAD 65,000 – 83,000 (based on qualifications and experience)

Start date:               May 20, 2022

Closing date:          May 6, 2022  

Application Procedure:

Applications will only be accepted through Bamboo HR. Please include the following:

  • A CV (no longer than two pages)
  • A letter of motivation, one page
  • All submissions must be in English.

Candidates must include salary expectations on the cover letter. 

Candidates must hold appropriate work authorization for Canada.

Only those candidates we wish to interview will be contacted. Resumes will be kept on file for one year.

IISD has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination policy that requires employees who are required or choose to be at an office or participate in in-person team events or in-person meetings/events to be fully vaccinated. Anyone unable to be fully vaccinated, either because of a sincerely held religious belief or a medical condition or a disability that prevents them from being fully vaccinated can request a reasonable accommodation.

IISD is committed to fostering a more equitable and sustainable world and welcomes candidates who uphold our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, to correct the conditions of social injustice and disadvantage in employment around the world, we encourage candidates from historically marginalized groups, including women, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and those who identify themselves as 2SLGBTQIA+ to apply for this position. We offer reasonable accommodations in the recruitment process. Please identify in your cover letter if you need accommodations during the recruitment process.