Executive Director, Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS)

University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, SK, Canada 🇨🇦

Primary Purpose: The Executive Director (ED) is a visionary leader who represents GIWS to the public and its stakeholders. This position provides strategic leadership that sets the direction for the Institute to carry on its tradition of excellence.  The ED articulates and collaboratively develops the vision, mandate, scope and role of the GIWS, enabling faculty, staff, and students to develop innovative and relevant research required to best serve the university, province, and the world in water security. This position provides expert advice and guidance regarding the institute’s major initiatives, new programs, budgets, and resources allocation.  The ED works effectively with other faculty to develop a strong and diverse funding portfolio in the water sector. The ED ensures that GIWS is a welcoming space for all faculty, students, and staff consistent with the University of Saskatchewan’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy. The Executive Director plays a significant role in convening and supporting groups of diverse scholars to explore and conduct meaningful research that has an impact locally, nationally, and internationally.

The next ED will be an outstanding water researcher and a respected leader who will build strategic partnerships domestically and internationally with multiple constituencies including governments, private and/or public funders, clients, industry partners and USask’s research community. The ED will be a globally minded and inclusive team player who leads by example. The ED will be both academically and business minded with a track record of securing funding for a research enterprise and the capacity to attract interest in the practical implications of water research from a range of audiences. Crucially, the ED will set a vision for GIWS that will inspire its high performing team to continue to reach new heights in research and development.  

In support of the university’s Indigenous strategy – ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan â€“ the ED recognizes the importance of USask’s commitment to Indigenous peoples through research, teaching and community engagement efforts, in particular those that highlight the importance of land- and place-based education.  The ED will work to ensure an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment within GIWS and across stakeholder and rightsholder relationships. The ED will have the interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence necessary to build connection and belonging in a diverse workplace.

Nature of Work: Reporting to the Vice-President Research, the ED provides leadership to GIWS, leading a multidisciplinary group of staff and researchers. The ED provides expert advice, guidance, and recommendations to senior administration, through the Vice-President Research, on matters impacting the university’s strategies in research, training and knowledge transfer relating to water security.

The ED of GIWS will ensure efficient and effective operations of GIWS in a collegial academic environment. This person will assume a full-time role responsible for leading an administrative team  and for providing oversight of strategy and operations in accordance with the approved strategic plan and budget.

Strategic Planning and Implementation 

  • Develop and share a shared vision for the organization which goes beyond research and makes a practical impact on society;
  • Set the direction of the GIWS, providing visionary leadership in a complex and diverse academic, business, and governmental environment at provincial, national and international levels;
  • Ensure that the university’s Indigenous strategy – ohpahotân | oohpaahotaan – is woven into strategic planning and leadership initiatives related to GIWS 
  • Understand, articulate, and lead ongoing development of the vision, mandate, scope, and role of the GIWS, enabling faculty, staff, students, and trainees to advance research and best serve the signature area in water security;
  • Develop a strong and diverse funding portfolio;
  • Develop plans and initiatives that address strategic priorities of the GIWS, requiring interdisciplinary collaboration, and builds on strengths and mutual interests of the university and partners;
  • Incorporate the identification, assessment, and management of risks into the planning processes for the GIWS.

Leadership of the Institute 

  • Provide strategic leadership and stewardship for the overall operations of the GIWS including financial and human resources;
    • Ensure long-term growth and sustainability of the GIWS’ financial, physical, and human resources along with short-term operating plans, budgets, and annual reports;
    • Monitor GIWS’ research and development initiatives to ensure activities are reflective of the organization’s strategic priorities, balanced with the varied needs of government, industry, research, and public interest.
    • Create a high performing,diverse, and collaborative work environment for staff through encouragement, support, quality selection, development, promotion, and compensation.
    • Ensure responsive, accessible, efficient, and effective programs, services, and initiatives are in place to support the GIWS’ research, scholarly and artistic activities as they relate to water security.
  • Provide scientific, technological, and societal insight in the direction of the institute’s key activities.
  • Ensure accountability and transparency of the GIWS’ activities, information, and reports
  • Ensure the highest quality of research and innovative entrepreneurship from current and future GIWS funds.
  • Ensure research accountabilities are met through appropriate reporting, and liabilities and risks are reduced by following and championing best practices in risk management, ensuring that GIWS team adhere to policies and procedures:
    • Communicate and ensures compliance with the university’s policies, federal and provincial laws and regulations, collective agreements, and national and international accreditation regulations;
    • Actively advances university priorities and strategic plan through the work of the Institute; 
    • Implements and maintains an effective system of checks and balances with respect to Institutional financial and ethical management, which include general safeguarding and stewardship of all resources in the GIWS (financial, physical, and human resources);


  • Inspire, foster and maintain strong working relationships with communities in water research clusters, in the province, across Canada, and internationally;
  • Enhance the reputation of GIWS through professional representation of the organization with funders, clients, collaborators, industry organizations, government agencies, research institutions, research communities, and the public. 
  • Seek new partnerships and collaborative opportunities to build effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders to drive the GIWS’ multidisciplinary research themes, and to create collegial and beneficial connections between the Institute and the university;  
  • Exercise independent authority to initiate and negotiate partnership agreements (financial, academic, research, programming, and public outreach) locally, nationally, and internationally on behalf of the university, and in accordance with university policy, to advance the research and academic agenda;
  • Foster and maintains robust faculty and student engagement across the water research community, providing strategic advice on the activities of the GIWS, and facilitating cooperation of and coordination between units and programs internal and external to the university; 
  • Develop an integrated network of related research and training across the university, as well as across national and international arenas, to capitalize on opportunities for pedagogical and research synergies in water security; 
  • Add to the reputation and prestige of the GIWS and the university through individual scholarly and/or artistic contributions;
  • Develop and maintains strong relationships with other universities and relevant centres across Canada and around the world;
  • Create a supportive academic environment built on the foundations of trust and respect; an environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential.

Creating a Diverse and Welcoming Institute 

  • Actively promote and encourage diverse ways of knowing as it relates to water health, equity, access, and security; 
  • Celebrate the successes of people and teams that are part of GIWS;
  • Consciously and consistently works towards decolonization, reconciliation, and truth as part of the university’s Indigenization goals.
  • Adopt a comprehensive equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy with measurable goals and objectives that demonstrates the institute’s commitment to inclusive excellence in water research. 
  • Promote a culture of trust and respect in the Institute through empathy, positive relationships, open communication, and inclusivity.
  • Create a safe and supportive academic environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential.

Education: A minimum of a Ph.D. is required  


  • At least 10 years of relevant water research and management experience. 
  • 3- 5 years of experience in a senior management capacity beyond their own research group is ideal. 
  • Demonstrated experience with graduate /post-doctoral training.
  • Experience dealing with finance, HR and other operational matters outside of their own research group.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in starting up and leading large-scale, high profile and transformative research programs or entities;
  • Fundraising experience or an understanding of endowment fund development. 
  • Experience working with governing bodies would be an asset. 


  • Proven expertise and understanding of the dynamics, issues, and perspectives of water policy, climate change and environmental sectors, and the research community at the provincial, national, and international levels;
  • A demonstrated record of effective collaboration with diverse academics that lead to key outcomes. 
  • Superior partnership building capacity including relationship building and management skills to collaborate with diverse groups of stakeholders, including non-governmental funders and philanthropic opportunities;
  • Solid track record of effective team leadership within a dynamic and complex environment; 
  • Superior oral, written, presentation and facilitation skills.

Posted Date: 3/30/2023

Please review the University of Saskatchewan’s health and safety requirements for faculty, staff and students in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University is committed to employment equity, diversity, and inclusion, and are proud to support career opportunities for Indigenous peoples to reflect the community we serve. We are dedicated to recruiting individuals who will enrich our work and learning environments. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. We are committed to providing accommodations to those with a disability or medical necessity. If you require an accommodation to participate in the recruitment process, please notify us and we will work together on the accommodation request. We continue to grow our partnerships with Indigenous communities across the province, nationally, and internationally and value the unique perspective that Indigenous employees provide to strengthen these relationships. Verification of Indigenous Membership/Citizenship at the University of Saskatchewan is led and determined by the deybwewin | taapwaywin | tapwewin: Indigenous Truth policy and Standing Committee in accordance with the processes developed to enact the policy. Successful candidates that assert Indigenous membership/citizenship will be asked to complete the verification process of Indigenous membership/citizenship with documentation. The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the MĂ©tis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and MĂ©tis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another. Together, we are uplifting Indigenization to a place of prominence at the University of Saskatchewan.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development