Director of Advanced Research Computing

The Centre for Advanced Computing at Queen’s University is seeking an experienced leader to join our multi-faceted team as Director, Advanced Research Computing. Reporting to the Associate Vice Principal (Research), this individual will have a comprehensive understanding of the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) landscape on a regional and national level, and have experience working in a research environment with secure high-performance computing and storage systems.

The Director, Advanced Research Computing will be responsible for managing a dynamic team through multi-functional projects, requiring the incumbent to possess exceptional change management knowledge and ability to apply to diverse situations.

This is a leading-edge opportunity for someone to help advance the ever-changing and exciting research across all academic disciplines at Queen’s University. The dynamic nature of the role offers the opportunity to advance research computing at a U15 university and to partner in the implementation of a strategic vision. The Director, Advanced Research Computing supports a wide variety of researchers in the ARC community, both regionally and nationally, providing the incumbent an opportunity to make a significant impact.

Job Description


Strategic Leadership:

• Provide leadership aligned to the strategic vision as developed by the CAC Senior Advisory Committee to ensure the success of the CAC.
• Develop strategic/functional goals and initiatives aligned with the Associate Vice Principal Research. Lead the implementation of goals and initiatives at the CAC through regular communications and championing the team through working with the AVPR to ensure that the CAC meets its approved strategic goals and objectives in a manner consistent with the mission and mandate.
• Oversee advanced research computing; manages the delivery of services provided to researchers against quality expectations including quality planning and metrics such as key performance indicators to provide key insight performance and ensuring that future services are delivered to agreed achievable targets.
• Identify and respond to other opportunities at the provincial and national scale that align with the strategic goals of the CAC.
• Develop and promote adherence to policies and standard operating procedures for the CAC based on understanding the requirements and goals of the CAC. Develop operational plans and work processes to ensure that the CAC achieves business goals and objectives based on understanding the CAC’s mission, mandate, project requirements and timelines.
• Determine resources required for the CAC based on an assessment of service requirements, project needs and over-arching priorities. Ensure appropriate resource allocation and communication of expectations.
• Assesses changes / advancements in advanced computing and the implications / impact on CAC and their strategic direction and operations and implements changes to services through consultation with the Associate Vice Principal Research. Develops employee skill sets through professional development opportunities to respond to and implement innovative solutions.
• Anticipates challenges and responds to unforeseen challenges faced in the development of innovative solutions by applying knowledge expertise, and creativity in identifying and facilitating new/alternative solutions to outcomes. Directing and leading any responses to remove barriers and ensures issues are resolved to prevent future occurrences.
• Recommend and support projects and other initiatives to improve institutional services based on their feasibility and the assessment of the computing and networking needs of the University and clients.
• Develop, implement, and resource outreach initiatives for CAC. Responsible for the strategy and management of external community initiatives to promote the merits and value of CAC.
• Initiate and/or participate in community partnerships (e.g., Compute Ontario). Often reaffirming the position of CAC and Queen’s; advocating the benefits in utilizing HPC resources and expertise to new members.
• Manage the interface between the client community and CAC to promote and provide information about services and to ensure problems are promptly and satisfactorily resolved.
• Determine what upgrades are required, based on assessment of new technology, costs, and feasibility of changes.
• Participate on provincial and national committees aligned with the vision of CAC.

Administrative, Financial, and Operational Leadership:
• Under the direction and support of the Executive Director, Finance and Administration Vice Principal Research provide leadership and guidance for administrative, financial, and operations management of all activities.
• Develop and implement a comprehensive business plan and budget in alignment with the established strategic goals of CAC and VPR for approval by the Associate Vice Principal Research.
• Develop short- and long-term financial plans, priorities and objectives aligned with the approved budget.
• Ensure the adherence to financial administration and reporting requirements as set by the VPR or other governing bodies at Queen’s. Including budget control, monitoring, forecasting of financial needs/ resource requirements and allocations.
• Provide regular activity and financial reports to the Associate Vice Principal Research.
• Assist in writing and the application for various complex grants (e.g., Compute Canada, CFI, NDRIO). Where applicable, lead the writing and application for said grants. Encourage and pursue research collaborations with external partners and universities.
• Oversee Request for Proposals (RFP) for large parallel computer systems.
• Research and seek opportunities to acquire additional funding from external entities such as CFI, NSERC and MRI.
• Ensure ethical conduct, integrity, and a high degree of professionalism and accountability in all business, financial and research activities.

Management and Supervision of CAC Staff
• In consultation with Executive Director, Finance and Administration Vice Principal Research, develop and execute a staffing plan for the CAC consistent with the business plan. Implement a strategy to ensure the continual availability and enhancement of constantly evolving skill sets needed to provide advanced research computing services.
• Build a cohesive, interdependent, and highly functional team – provide leadership/mentorship and address diversity and inclusivity issues. Participates on hiring committees and makes effective recommendations regarding employee selection.
• Plan, prioritize and manage the work of employees, providing strategic and tactical advice, guidance, and coaching. Identify the need for staff resources, participate on staffing committees, and make effective recommendations regarding employee selection.
• Manage performance by establishing performance standards, reviewing, and evaluating performance and conducting formal performance reviews of staff on an ongoing basis.
• Assess staff training and development needs and ensure that employees receive training required to improve and sustain successful performance.
• Investigate, address, and resolve employee/labour relations issues, including disciplinary matters. Make decisions or effective recommendations on matters involving possible discipline, discharge, and probationary termination.
• Ensure the students, interns, and Post-Doctoral Fellows working at the CAC receive a professional experience, including skills development, networking opportunities and practical experience.
• Developing staffing plans to ensure cross training, continuity, and succession planning.

• Advanced degree in Computer Science or Computer Engineering, at the Masters level or higher.
• 10 years of experience in an academic environment preferred, or equivalent experience in a research environment.
• A minimum of 5 – 10 years in a leadership role managing a team of specialized individuals.
• A proven record of stakeholder engagement, strong communications, leadership skills, and demonstrated business acumen.
• Proven prior experience with the operations of the academic sector, with research, budgeting, financial management, accountability processes, and with innovation practices.
• Demonstrated ability to lead the development of strategic and operational planning processes; overseeing, monitoring, tracking, and evaluating organizational progress towards milestones performance targets; and planning, delivering, and reporting on strategic activities.
• Proven leadership skills, strategic thinking abilities, interpersonal and emotional-intelligence skills, and experience in supporting organizational decision-making,
• Hands-on experience designing, implementing, and supporting advanced research computing architectures.
• An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered.

• Outstanding communications (both verbal and written), interpersonal skills, demonstrating tact and diplomacy when interacting with individuals at every level and from many different perspectives.
• Recognizes diversity of abilities and adapts content, tone, medium, and style to the audience to be inclusive.
• Ability to work in a complex high-pressure environment, in a collaborative and collegial manner, using well developed relationship-building, influencing, and negotiating skills to secure commitment and achieve results.
• Strong leadership ability to manage a team of professionals and work effectively with diverse stakeholders (e.g., academic researchers, industrial clients, government representatives, and senior administrators+), both internal and external to the University.
• Ability to network in the academic community across universities, as well as with government, industry stakeholders.
• Strong political acumen, tact, and sensitivity to deal with potentially sensitive or controversial issues.
• Solid interpretative, problem-solving, and cross-disciplinary skills. Ability to synthesize information from a wide variety of sources.
• Strategic planning, analytical, budgeting, and financial management skills.
• Superior organizational skills and the ability to cope with multiple demands, resolve priority conflicts, and operate effectively in a deadline driven environment.

• Establish policies and procedures to ensure that all output is of high quality and meets all compliance requirements.
• Determine requited analysis to provide appropriate advice to the Associate Vice Principal Research. Identify related institutional, financial, and other implications and make recommendations for action as required.
• Determine necessary areas of focus for the development of new operational strategies and activities of the CAC, as well as constantly evaluating and improving existing activities, in support of CAC’s priorities and needs.
• Make financial decisions on budget related matters, determining the best allocation of resources.
• Decide and execute on best alternatives or range of solutions go a given problem, identifying possible risks and benefits of each.
• Ensure appropriate threat/risk analysis/audits are in place to achieve and maintain an ISO27001 Certification for the CAC.
• Make appropriate decisions required when acting on behalf of the Associate Vice Principal Research.
• Evaluate job candidates and make effective recommendations on suitable hires.
• Make decisions and/or effective recommendations regarding transfers and promotions.
• Evaluate employee performance and decide on appropriate training or coaching to address lack of proficiency in carrying out responsibilities, or remedial action for staff disciplinary situations.
• Assess investigation outcome of grievances and make effective recommendations on appropriate course(s) of action or next steps on grievances.
• Make effective recommendations on level of discipline up to discharge and probationary termination.

Posted By

Queen's University

Contact Information


Kingston, Ontario


Field: Computer Science

Positions For

Position: Director Advanced Computing

Date Posted

Wednesday March 17, 2021