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Future Earth vacancy: Science Officer on Urban Projects (Montreal)

Future Earth is seeking a Science Officer to assist Future Earth’s urban research projects. The position will be based at Future Earth’s offices at Concordia University in Montreal. The Science Officer will play a leading role in developing the Urban Knowledge-Action Network, a global collaboration focused on building the knowledge needed to support the growth of sustainable cities. This position is open to candidates from the physical, natural or social sciences or humanities with experience in urban research.

The deadline for all applications is 11 August 2017. For more information about this position and how to apply, see the full announcement below:

The Future Earth Secretariat is seeking a Science Officer on Urban Projects for the Montreal Global Hub


Future Earth Global Hub – Montreal, Suite 1020, 1250 Guy Street, H3H 2T4 Montreal, Quebec, Canada; employer: Future Earth International

Closing date and start of contract

Deadline for application: 11 August 2017 (11h59pm EST) – Start immediately

The Future Earth initiative

Future Earth is a major international research programme for global sustainability. We provide international facilitation and coordination of research around the greatest challenges facing humanity – and engage policy, business and the public in the solutions to these challenges. Our work stretches from climate change and biodiversity to human health and transformation of societies. We work with many of the world’s leading experts on global Grand Challenges. This international programme was established by the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, which includes the following international organisations: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN University, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Council for Science (ICSU), International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the Belmont Forum. The Future Earth Global Hub Secretariat is distributed across five hubs located in Stockholm, Tokyo, Colorado, Montreal and Paris.

The office of the Montreal Hub is hosted at Concordia University and also hosts the Executive Office of Future Earth. This hub is responsible of two main functions of the Future Earth Global Secretariat: overall Coordination and Synthesis & Foresight.

The Montreal Global Hub is seeking a Science Officer to contribute to the development of the Urban Knowledge-Action Network (KAN) and its related urban projects, under the Research Enabling function of Future Earth.

The Research Enabling function connects existing and new projects within the Future Earth community to other research communities and supports the establishment of Knowledge-Action Networks (KANs), with a focus on eight societal challenges.

Position Description

We seek an individual with good scientific background in the humanities, natural or social science disciplines relevant to the urban and sustainability challenges to support the coordination of Future Earth’s Urban Knowledge-Action Network (KAN). Future Earth’s Knowledge-Action Networks are collaborative frameworks that conduct highly integrative sustainability research on specific topics. Their aim is to generate the multifaceted knowledge needed to inform solutions for complex societal issues. The applicant should have experience in project and research coordination/management, and, ideally, experience in inter- and trans-disciplinary  projects (working with a variety of disciplines and actors, such as scientists, policy-makers and other stakeholders).  Experience working on ecosystem services would be considered an asset.

The role will consist of:

  • Ensuring that the Urban Knowledge-Action Network and its related activities are being developed in a timely manner by overseeing the good coordination and facilitation of the Urban Knowledge-Action Network members, especially the Development Team (DT) (30% of time);
    • Support the DT in creating a research agenda for the Urban Knowledge-Action Network;
    • Support the organisation of meetings;
    • Support the mobilisation and engagement of the Urban Knowledge-Action Network (scientific and stakeholder communities);
    • Support for fundraising (writing grant proposals);
  • Liaising or developing other activities within the Urban Knowledge-Action Network or in partnership with other Future Earth Knowledge-Action Networks;
  • Working in close collaboration with the “Urban Project Assistant” in preparing/facilitating the organisation of the international Cities and Climate Change Science Conference co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Platform on Climate Change (IPCC) to be held in March 2018 in Edmonton, Canada (15%);
  • Leading the coordination of the first phase of the Cities Biodiversity Outlook II projects conducted in partnership with the Convention on Biological Diversity (“The Role of Natural Systems for Sustainable Cities”) (30%);
  • Support the development of the project content and making sure that the project progresses as planned;
  • Leading the organisation of a first scoping workshop to be held in Montreal in October 2018 with various projects partners and guests (e.g. CBD, The Nature Conservancy, Stockholm Resilience Centre, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, etc.);
  • Ensuring that there is alignment between this project and other Urban Knowledge-Action Network activities and, where it fits, drawing on the expertise of the Urban Knowledge-Action Network community to contribute to parts of the Cities Biodiversity Outlook II project;
  • Liaising with and contributing to two urban projects, one led by a local partner and one led by the Montreal Hub, and ensuring that there is alignment with Urban Knowledge-Action Network activities where appropriate (20%);
  • Supporting the preparation and coordination of information flow (media posts, blogs, website content) (5%).

The Science Officer will work as part of a globally distributed Research Enabling team and will be a point of entry, exchange, dialogue and feedback between the Secretariat and the research and stakeholder communities in their joint pursuit of the Future Earth agenda. She/He will support and work under the supervision of the Montreal Global Hub Director. Although this role will include the development of research content, the main tasks will be to facilitate the development of projects, mobilise and facilitate engagement of research and stakeholder networks and coordinate grant applications.

Candidate qualifications and key competencies

  • Master’s degree (or Bachelor’s degree with strong experience) in the field of global environmental change or sustainable development from the physical, biological or social sciences, economics or the humanities disciplines
  • Experience on issues related to urbanisation/cities
  • Minimum three years' experience in interdisciplinary project coordination and management
  • Familiarity and experience with stakeholders communities and/or international organisations (science, policy, NGOs, etc.) in the field of the environment and sustainability is highly desired
  • Excellent spoken and written English required; excellent spoken and written French is highly desired
  • Sound judgment, strong sense of confidentiality, tactful and sensitive to diverse cultures and constituents
  • Superior communication, organisational and interpersonal skills with ability to multitask are essential
  • Ability to work independently and in collaboration with an international team are essential
  • Must be available to regularly work outside normal working hours
  • Must be available to travel extensively.

Salary scale

CAD 25,000-45,000 based on qualification and experience (one-year contract with opportunity for renewal).

Application procedure

Applicants to this position are requested to submit a curriculum vitae and a cover letter describing their interest in the position and how their skills and experience would help them meet the requirements of the role. The deadline for applications is 11 August 2017 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Please also include the name and contact details of two referees. Applications – in English and in one combined PDF file – should be sent via email with "Science Officer-Urban-Montreal hub" in the subject line to

For further information on Future Earth and this position, contact: Dr Jean-Patrick Toussaint, Science Officer (email:; Phone: +1-514-848-2275; website: