National Director Conservation Science and Research

Location: Flexible

Position details: Permanent, Full Time


Taking care of our environment has never been more important than it is today. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is looking for an accomplished and collaborative Director, Conservation Science and Research to join a team committed to protecting our most important natural areas and the plants and animals they sustain.


NCC is the nation’s leading not-for-profit, private land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962 NCC and its supporters have protected 14 million hectares of ecologically significant land across Canada. NCC takes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to achieve conservation success for the sake of nature and Canadians. With a national office in Toronto and seven regional offices across the country, NCC delivers results you can walk on.

Position Summary

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is looking for a dynamic leader who can help set and activate an ambitious vision for NCC’s role in conserving biodiversity in Canada.  NCC is seeking a Director Conservation Science and Research to develop and lead our Weston Family Science Program – an integrated program of conservation research, planning and information, thought leadership and outreach – and work with our broader conservation team committed to protecting the best of Canada’s natural legacy.


The mandate of this position is to act as intermediary between science and practice, promoting the incorporation of research outcomes into NCC’s conservation plans and stewardship activities, mentoring early-career academics, and leveraging research partnerships across the country. 


The Director Conservation Science and Research will promote the use of evidence and research with an amazing team of NCC conservation practitioners who are working to leverage over 400,000 hectares of directly managed conservation lands, help build a new generation of conservation researchers through NCC’s fellowship program and provide strategic direction to NCC’s senior leadership. This is a highly integrated position with a dedicated support staff, connecting organization-wide directions with practical actions on the ground.


The priority functions for this position include:

  1. Developing and overseeing the Weston Family Conservation Science Fellowship Program within three initial research areas (40%):
    1. Aid the recovery of Canada’s species at risk;
    2. Retain and re-establish natural habitat connections and wildlife corridors through settled and working landscapes; and
    3. Address the spread of pernicious invasive species at a landscape level in order to maintain biodiversity values in conserved natural areas.
  2. Building collaborations with other researchers and Knowledge Keepers to answer key conservation questions through primary research or by bringing best practices/best available information to NCC’s work (25%);
  3. Creating a culture of evidence-based decision-making (25%):
  1. Supporting NCC staff in their work to comprehensively search for, identify, and collect available evidence.
  2. promote an evidence-based decision-making process that enables staff to consider the effectiveness of a given conservation action
  3. Create practitioner-focused mechanisms that enable assembly and use of evidence summaries.
  1. Provide strategic guidance for direction setting to NCC, as well as identifying, interpreting, translating, and summarizing key actions and key messages for different audiences and other duties as assigned (10%).


The successful candidate is driven to make connections between people to amplify and leverage research and its application for practitioners, dedicated to improving conservation outcomes and, as a seasoned presenter and communicator of science, energized by sharing conservation messages to all types of audiences. This position is neither a primary researcher or a practitioner – instead a bridge between the two, building competency in the application of research, and leveraging partnerships and opportunities with others to achieve common goals.


Position Requirements

  • PhD degree in conservation biology, ecology, natural resources management or related field
  • Preferred (but not required) post-doctoral experience in one of NCC’s current priority themes (species at risk recovery, invasive species management, connectivity in settled and working landscapes)
  • Program management skills
  • Strong communication skills and training in both science and decision-making to identify relevant topics for research/information synthesis through consultation with staff, and to appropriately translate research findings for practitioners
  • Minimum of 2 years in research and relevant experience (including time as a post-graduate)


This is a demanding position requiring a broad range of competencies, including:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills including proven results in working collaboratively with colleagues towards common goals and with staff with whom there is no direct reporting relationship
  • A leadership style that is team-oriented, collaborative, empowering and inclusive, inspires confidence and builds community
  • Robust network of academics and research institutions in Canada
  • Commitment to Indigenous Knowledge as a way of knowing and desire to work in ethical space
  • Experience with project management
  • Problem solver and creative thinking
  • Someone who can bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners 
  • A seasoned presenter and communicator of science, including thought leadership and public-facing interactions
  • A strong commitment to the purpose and values of the Nature Conservancy of Canada
  • Fluency in French would be an asset


In order to be successful, the Director Conservation Science and Research must:

  • Have a passion for conservation research and how it can be used more effectively to inform on-the-ground practices
  • Have a deep understanding of applied research and the needs of young research professionals
  • Be driven by connecting people and ideas, and a strong commitment to promoting and sharing information
  • Wake up everyday thinking about how to leverage NCC’s abilities to make positive impact on conservation in Canada.


How to Apply

NCC is an equal opportunity employer. If you are interested in joining our team, please submit your cover letter (no more than 2 pages), resume and salary expectations through this DIRECT LINK. The salary range for this position is $88,000-98,000


NCC welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.


We value and incorporate diverse traditions, heritage, knowledge and experiences in our mission and in our workplaces. We celebrate the full participation of people from all walks of life as we work towards common goals. We strive for a conservation movement in which equity, diversity and inclusion are the norm. This is our continuous commitment: to promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet for everyone.

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It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

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What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


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Charles Darwin

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Steven Pinker

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Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

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Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

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Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

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Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

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