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Job Opportunity: Public Engagement Fellowship

Based on principles articulated in SPOR and the Consensus Statement on Public Involvement and Engagement with Data-Intensive Health Research, HDRN Canada will have public engagement that is continuous, substantial, and meaningful. The HDRN Canada Public Engagement Working Group (PE WG) has been established to develop and deliver HDRN Canada’s Public Engagement Strategy, working closely with the HDRN Canada Public Advisory Council (PAC).

The term “public engagement” (vs. “patient engagement”) is used for HDRN Canada to emphasize that HDRN Canada data extends beyond that related to patients interacting with the health system. There are diverse “publics” who are stakeholders of HDRN Canada including people who are in a state of well-being who do not identify with any particular disease or condition, and people who have lived the experience of a health issue as well as their informal caregivers, including family and friends.  

“Public engagement” as defined by HDRN Canada includes activities often referred to as “public involvement” in the UK. HDRN Canada’s public engagement will embrace the principles of SPOR’s Patient Engagement Framework: inclusiveness, adequate support and flexibility, mutual respect, and co-building/co-design.

Duration: Twelve (12) month Fellowship.

Fellowship objectives and program of work

  1. To work closely with members of the PE WG and with the PAC to accelerate HDRN Canada’s work and progress on public engagement
  2. To share and spread learnings from HDRN Canada’s public engagement work across HDRN Canada and the SPOR network more broadly

Depending on the Fellow’s background, experience, and research interests, they will work on one of or more of the following priority areas:

  • Development and implementation of the HDRN Canada Public Engagement Plan, building upon and complementing the work of other SPOR entities
  • Helping HDRN Canada conduct projects that include public engagement, e.g., dialogues and public engagement with diverse members of the public to co-develop plain language about data
  • New research and work related to topics prioritized by the PAC, such as Inclusion, Equity, Diversity, and Accessibility (IDEA) and Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)

Depending on the priority area(s) that the Fellow works on, they will lead one or more projects including scope definition, literature review and synthesis, interviews, and meetings to gather and assess the applicability of practices developed by other organizations, project execution including regular meetings with partners, knowledge translation and dissemination of research findings (including through academic and plain language publications).

The Fellow will interact with PE WG members, and with the PAC Chair, and will organize and lead internal and external meetings. In addition, the Fellow is expected to present their work within HDRN Canada, and at external meetings and conferences. For clarity, the Fellow’s role will be to conduct work defined in collaboration with the PE WG and PAC, not to study the PE WG or PAC.

Professional growth and development:

The Principal Supervisor will be a member of the PE WG who will provide mentorship to the Fellow, sharing their experience in research, policy, stakeholder and public engagement and communications. The Fellow will participate in PE WG meetings and will gain exposure to strategic and operational aspects that are integral to leading research, and implementing the findings of research studies, in a national network. In addition, the Principal Supervisor will ensure that the Fellow is engaged in meetings with internal and external stakeholders and that the Fellow is connected with network partners and stakeholders as needed to support the work.

Desired competencies:

Based on the research priority areas listed above, HDRN Canada is seeking a Fellow with expertise and skills in some or all of the following areas:

  • Experience working directly with patients and members of the public, ideally including experience with remote engagement methods (e.g., deliberations conducted by web meeting)
  • Superior interpersonal skills
  • Experience performing qualitative research
  • Research strategy development experience
  • Good understanding of how administrative data are used in research
  • Knowledge translation and exchange experience, including the ability to create publications in plain language for non-academic audiences
  • Experience with IDEA research and implementation
  • Experience co-authoring or authoring peer-reviewed academic publications


Master’s or PhD in health services, epidemiology, qualitative health research or a related discipline. Though a Master’s degree or PhD is not mandatory, consistent with HDRN Canada’s aim to produce high impact research findings, applicants should have the capacity to conduct research that is suitable for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The fellowship work could potentially be conducted by an individual who is concurrently enrolled as a graduate student, and might also fulfill all or part of the research thesis requirements for their degree. However, it should be noted that HDRN anticipates that the Fellow will need to devote at least 2/3rds of their time to HDRN work until early 2021, so the fellowship would not be suitable for candidates who have heavy graduate school course loads.


Compensation will be comparable to the rate for post-doctoral fellows, PhD, or Master’s students at the applicant’s academic institution, or at the University of Toronto if the applicant is not or no longer affiliated with an academic institution.


The Primary Supervisor for HDRN work will be Alison Paprica, Executive Advisor and Affiliate Scientist at ICES and Chair of the HDRN Canada PE WG. Kimberlyn McGrail, CEO and Scientific Director of HDRN Canada and member of the PE WG, will be Co-Supervisor.

Application Process:

Applicants who are interested in applying must submit a CV and cover letter to no later than Wednesday July 14th, 8 pm Eastern.

Applications are encouraged from people in groups that are historically under-represented in research including women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, racialized minorities, and individuals from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2+) community. We thank all applicants for their interest; however, due to the anticipated volume of applications, only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.


If the successful applicant is not already employed or paid by a HDRN Canada Organization, the PE Fellow will be hired on contract by ICES which is one of the organizations in the HDRN Canada network; however, the fellowship can be completed remotely from the applicant’s preferred geographic location, consistent with the way that most HDRN Canada work is conducted. Alternatively, contingent on the successful applicant agreeing to and complying with all of ICES’ policies related to COVID-19, the Fellow may have a physical workspace at ICES Central in Toronto.

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