Root-Soil-Microbial Interactions Program Manager

Department: Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS)

FTE: 1.0

Status:  This is a term position of up to four years.

Salary Information: The salary range is $62,000 - $98,000 per annum. The starting salary will be commensurate with education and experience.

Primary Purpose: To support the Root-Soil-Microbial Interactions (RSMI) program at the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) in implementation of a multi-disciplinary research program focusing on root biology and root system architecture, as well as the dynamic ecosystem defined by roots, soil and its micro-organismal complement that is crucial for crop productivity. The program is supported in large part by a $20 million Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) grant to Dr. Leon Kochian, the scientific director of the RSMI program. The CERC is the most prestigious of the Canada Research Chairs – there are only 25 CERC faculty in Canada. This CERC grant is co-funded by the federal government and the UofS and GIFS.

Nature of Work: Reporting to the scientific director of the CERC/RSMI program, this position will provide project management support for the successful implementation and ongoing management of the activities and projects undertaken within the CERC/RSMI Lab. See for more a detailed description.  The CERC/RSMI program is quite large, consisting of the scientific director and three other UofS professors, two visiting professors, 13 postdoctoral fellows and research associates, 6 graduate students and 7 technicians. The research program is also multidisciplinary, with researchers working in plant molecular biology, genetics and physiology, soil microbiology, computer science, engineering, physics and mathematics. An ability to work effectively, both independently and as a team member, and to exercise discretionary decision making is essential. Work occurs in a dynamic environment characterized by continuous change and growth, shifting and competing priorities, and frequent interruptions. The Program Manager will foster a work atmosphere that is positive, supportive, responsive, and transparent.


Project management

  • Organize and manage the program’s budget, working with the GIFS Director of Finance and Administration
  • Provide the program director with regular budget forecasts and scenarios, working with the GIFS Director of Finance and Administration
  • Assist in creating and tracking research progress (activities, milestones, deliverables) using time and resource management tools, and advise the research chair/team of the progress towards meeting goals
  • Identify any significant risks to the program and advise the program director
  • Assist the scientific director in maintaining an efficient organization and communication structure within such a large and diverse research group, including helping ensure milestones and timelines are met, and the program is kept on track in addressing and meeting research priorities and goals
  • Assist in communications between RSMI researchers with involved parties such as funding agencies, academic institutions, government units, and industry
  • Provide program communication materials suitable for inclusion in websites, pamphlets, presentations and reports
  • Assist in the generation of reports as required by funding agencies including the CERC Secretariat
  • Participate (support and advise) in project committee meetings

Assist in the identification of funding or collaboration opportunities by: 

  • Coordinating with the GIFS project management office to identify new funding program opportunities
  • Developing and maintaining a stakeholder registry for the RSMI lab
  • Identifying and liaising with potential academic and industrial partners

Assist in the preparation of funding applications by:

  • Ensuring compliance with Funding agency requirements
  • Preparation/compilation of the research budget
  • Writing and revision of non-scientific texts
  • Coordination between researchers
  • Coordination and preparation of information required for various application forms such aspreparation of tables, graphs, compilations of CVs, letters of co-financing and support, external submissions, etc.


Education: A master’s degree in a quantitative scientific discipline (e.g., biology, chemistry, engineering, plant science), plus a project management professional (PMP) designation.

Experience: A minimum of three to five years of experience working in a complex multi-disciplinary research program.

Skills: The Program Manager will be an energetic and highly motivated individual who thrives in a dynamic environment. The following are required for success in this position:

  • emotional intelligence
  • sound judgment, discretion, diplomacy, and professional integrity;
  • exemplary interpersonal and communication skills, both verbal and written;
  • effective organizational skills and the acumen to handle complex situations and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines;
  • ability to establish and maintain the level of professional relationships that support exceptional collaboration;
  • ability to understand several scientific fields
  • ability to gather, track, analyze, and present information utilizing advanced features in Microsoft Office, MS Project and Adobe Illustrator
  • ability to discuss, understand and advise university researchers on planning, organization, direction and control of science and technology management
  • ability to identify issues and then develop and implement creative and outcomes-oriented solutions
  • ability to work effectively in a team-oriented and diverse atmosphere;
  • ability to work independently; and
  • fastidious attention to detail.

Inquiries regarding this position can be directed at Megan Paul at 306-966-3722

Please email your application to: