Ethics & Process Specialist, Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST), Research Services Office

Ethics & Process Specialist, Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST), Research Services Office

Job ID: 25796

Updated: May 17, 2022

Location: Main Campus

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

Position Overview

The Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST) in the Research Services Office invites applications for a Ethics & Process Specialist. This Full-time Fixed Term position is for approximately 1 year (based on length of grant funding), with the possibility of extension.

The Research Services Office (RSO) works with the University of Calgary’s research community to advance the research enterprise. The Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST) addresses identified challenges being overcome by the Indigenous faculty members at the University of Calgary as well as challenges associated with research being carried out in Indigenous communities, with Indigenous peoples, or on Indigenous lands. The overarching intention of IRST is to strengthen and identify existing resources for Indigenous communities and stakeholders, university researchers, and other affiliated partners in order to promote ethical, collaborative, reciprocal, and culturally responsive research.

IRST affirms the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, ii’ taa’poh’to’p,that seeks to implement and communicate commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action, and to provide pathways for transformation that advance the deep learning required for meaningful reconciliation. The University of Calgary is committed to establishing a welcoming, inclusive, and culturally competent campus community that respects, includes, and promotes Indigenous ways of knowing, teaching, learning, and research.

The Ethics and Process Specialist, Indigenous Research Support Team (IRST) reports to the IRST Manager and collaborates with the Ethics & Compliance Manager, the Ethics team in RSO, and the Chairs of the University’s Research Ethics Board (REB). While the Manager of the IRST is the primary contact for external stakeholders, this role acts as the internal point of contact for UCalgary researchers proposing or conducting Indigenous research, developing protocols and processes to ensure effective operations in this portfolio and partnering with Research Service’s Ethics Team in the processing of Indigenous-related research ethics applications. Overall, the Ethics and Process Specialist collaborates with their team members to advocate for and contribute to intercultural capacity building within RSO and across the campus research community.

Since a key component of the position is relationship building with researchers from across the University’s campuses, it is vital that the incumbent has a strong understanding of the challenges faced by such researchers; therefore, university research experience is considered advantageous for an applicant.

This role supports the continued indigenization of the University of Calgary. Click here to see more job opportunities with an Indigenous scope. 

Position Description

Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):

Indigenous Research Ethics Application Processes 

  • Assist the Manager, Ethics and Compliance, Ethics team, and REB Chairs in understanding the various local, national, and international policies and procedures related to Indigenous research ethics
  • Work with the Ethics team, under the direction of the Manager, Ethics and Compliance, in facilitating the review of ethics applications for Indigenous research, including, but not limited to:
    • supports primarily Indigenous-focused researchers in the preparation and submission of their human research ethics applications;
    • reviews and provides REBs support with on-going administration of primarily Indigenous human research ethics applications; and
    • Attend REB meetings when Indigenous research ethics applications are discussed.
  • Undertake and maintain all required human research ethics training and certification
  • Maintain an in-depth understanding of various complex and nuanced local, national, and international requirements and regulations, primarily related to Indigenous research ethics, but must also have a strong knowledge of ethical issues in research involving human participants more generally. This includes possessing established knowledge of university policy and procedures, and the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) (particularly Chapter 9), as well as other legislation, regulations, and guidelines to be applied when conducting reviews and providing advice
  • Applies a high level of critical thinking and understanding of the relevant research context, assesses applications for common ethical issues primarily related to Indigenous research and notifies reviewers and the Chairs regarding participant risk
  • Assists researchers in understanding REB decisions primarily related to Indigenous research, may advise on suitable responses to questions or concerns identified by the reviewers and ensure accurate and timely documenting/tracking of the entire process
  • Work closely with REB Chairs and the Manager, Research Ethics and Compliance to lead workshops and information sessions on Indigenous research ethics
  • Keeps up to date on complex and ever-changing ethics issues and requirements specific to Indigenous research ethics

Indigenous Research Ethics Advising 

  • Advise researchers on university policies, procedures, requirements, and supports related to Indigenous research in a manner that is both culturally appropriate and driven
  • Advise researchers on procedures for working on Indigenous lands and/or waters, based on jurisdiction, including appropriate cultural protocols and procedures for engaging with relevant communities
  • Advise researchers on best practices for engaging in community-based Indigenous research
  • As invited, attend academic and/or research unit workshops and meetings to provide expert knowledge on relevant policies, procedures, requirements, and supports
  • Assist with workshops and training programs related to university policies, procedures, requirements, and supports for faculty and researchers engaging in Indigenous research
  • Advise members of RSO and research support staff from across campus in understanding and implementing relevant Indigenous research policies, procedures, requirements, and supports
  • Support members of university leadership in facilitating Indigenous Research policies, procedures, requirements, and supports
  • Liaise with the Office of Indigenous Engagement on matters related to Indigenous research

Indigenous Research Policy and Procedure Development 

  • At the direction of the Associate Vice-President (Research) and/or the Vice-Provost (Indigenous Engagement), undertake the creation or updating of relevant University Policies and Procedures and Guidelines under the supervision of the IRST Manager
  • Liaise with relevant RSO units in addition to other University units in influencing policies or procedures related to Indigenous research ethics
  • Work with the IRST Manager and leadership in stewarding relevant policy and procedure approvals.
  • Provide recommendations related to Indigenous research ethics
  • Provide operational support for the implementation of Indigenous research procedures beyond those covered in the Ethics and Compliance portfolio
  • Ensures the relevant administrative teams and faculty are informed, in a timely manner, of emerging issues, process changes, and other pertinent information related to Indigenous research ethics
  • As directed, assist in the preparation of relevant internal and external reports

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • Minimum of an undergraduate degree is required. Graduate degree is considered an asset
  • Experience (minimum 4-5 years) working with university research teams, preferably teams engaged in Indigenous research
  • It is considered an asset to have an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience
  • Strong understanding of oral practises, Indigenous research methodologies, community based/community driven research, intellectual property, and cultural protocols
  • Experience in developing policies or procedures, including as a member of a team undertaking such a development
  • Experience supporting researchers or project leaders in an academic, industrial, or community setting
  • Willingness and ability to develop a high level of knowledge of relevant University policies and processes
  • Established knowledge of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2) is required
  • Comprehensive understanding of the First Nations principles of Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP) Principles
  • Knowledge in local, national and international guidelines, recommendations and legislation relating to Indigenous research and working on Indigenous lands and waters, such as UNDRIP and the TRC Calls to Action
  • Ability to act decisively and to exercise a high degree of initiative and sound judgment coupled with related experience in an administrative supports
  • Flexibility and ability to adapt to changing workloads and priorities is required
  • Ability to work independently and be a strong team player is required
  • Ability to use tact, good judgement, and discretion in dealing with sensitive and confidential situations is required
  • Ability to build trusting, supportive, and productive relationships internal and external to the unit is required
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively with management and other leaders is required
  • Strong customer service skills, with demonstrated problem-solving ability and a keen eye for detail is required
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience working with relevant computer programs, such as Microsoft applications
  • Expertise in university-based research collaborations with Indigenous communities and leadership is valued. The incumbent should have comprehensive understandings and experience in navigating complex and competing priorities within Indigenous contexts
  • Demonstrated cultural competencies that affirm Indigenous ways of being, doing, knowing and connecting, and the incumbent is recognized by Indigenous communities as a trusted and respectful colleague
  • Candidates with lived experience preferred; self-identifying as Indigenous and/or experience living/working with Indigenous peoples and/or communities
  • Knowledge of University of Calgary core business systems preferred (e.g., Microsoft Office, PeopleSoft, IRISS, RMS)

Application Deadline:  May 31, 2022

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

Additional Information

This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Specialist/Advisor Job Family, Phase III.

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website

The University strongly recommends all faculty and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy in line with the foundational goals of Eyes High, committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

As an equitable and inclusive employer, the University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their academic and professional success while they are here. In particular, we encourage members of the designated groups (women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible/racialized minorities, and diverse sexual orientation and gender identities) to apply. To ensure a fair and equitable assessment, we offer accommodation at any stage during the recruitment process to applicants with disabilities. Questions regarding [diversity] EDI at UCalgary can be sent to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion ( and requests for accommodations can be sent to Human Resources (

We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.APPLY NOW