Our Services

Platform Lead, Engineering Biology

The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) is a rapidly expanding Institute based at the University of Saskatchewan. Our Vision is a world where everyone has access to safe and nutritious food. GIFS strives to achieve this bold vision by investing in our talent and collaborating with others. In line with our Mission, we will work with our employees, partners, and stakeholders to discover, develop, and deliver innovative solutions for the production of globally sustainable food.

We are guided by our Values of: Innovation. Excellence. Collaboration. Integrity. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Primary Purpose: The Platform Lead is a critical position for advancing sustainable food security and is responsible for the design creation, and leadership of an Engineering Biology Platform that will transform our scientific competencies and capabilities into value for our stakeholders, providing a catalyst for our partnerships and innovation world-wide.

Nature of the Work: Reporting to the GIFS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, you will be responsible for leading, building, and guiding the Engineering Biology Platform by developing innovative approaches to construct and refine biological systems for value-added purposes and commercialization. You will be a visionary leader and help position GIFS as a global leader in engineering biology and advanced food security. 

Responsibilities include establishing and maintaining relationships with researchers, collaborators, stakeholders (government and industry), communities, external clients, and other end-users to ensure that Engineering Biology at GIFS is aligned with GIFS strategy and is targeting areas of research that create value. You will develop and grow the Engineering Biology team and be responsible for the full career cycle of the employees. The Platform Lead will present to senior leadership, including but not limited to the GIFS Board, International Sciences Advisory Panel, and the Institute Management Team. 

Your success requires you understand the interconnectedness of GIFS and the impact that changes and operations have on all the platforms, programs, clients, and the reputation of GIFS. Key characteristics of the role include a strong commitment to safety, support of change management, and team leadership through exemplification of GIFS values. Other characteristics include well-developed organizational and project management skills, the ability to establish and maintain relationships as well as to influence others while implementing difficult and challenging decisions. Agility, speed, and focus are essential to achieving milestones, deliverables, and outcomes.

  • Partner with the Business Lead to develop and promote the Engineering Biology research services and innovation capabilities to support business development activities with established and prospective academic and industry partners; encourage and facilitate industry interactions, including research engagements.
  • Promote engagement of services provincially, nationally, and internationally across the bioscience community with institutional partners, collaborators, and external clients.
  • Manage the employee career cycle through activities such as: recruitment, retention and separations, orientation, and onboarding, coaching and performance feedback, supporting professional growth, training, and development, managing performance, and addressing disciplinary matters. 
  • Manage the implementation of programs, activities, and systems to support the delivery of optimal services to both internal and external researchers, partner organizations, collaborators, and clients.
  • Create, optimize, and manage workflows to meet internal and external requests, focusing on high-quality, high throughput. 
  • Lead by example with a commitment to continuous improvement and GIFS values.
  • Establish and manage lab processes.
  • Negotiate and monitor fee for service agreements.
  • Work with the Business Development team in identifying funding opportunities; provide technical review and support for developing co-funding for grant submissions and funding opportunities to support the growth of Platform and GIFS.
  • Collect, analyze, and synthesize data related to overall performance.
  • Facilitate communication among clients, the research community, and key stakeholders.
  • Identify strategic alliance partners and develop long-term, sustainable relationships.
  • Foster and promote a culture of innovation by dedicating time for innovation within the platform. 
  • Participate in the Scientific Executive Committee (SEC) and help in defining, supporting, and implementing scientific and strategic direction for the Institute. 
  • Other accountabilities as assigned.

PhD or master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, Bioengineering, Molecular Biology, or other related Technical/Life Science discipline.

  • Minimum 10 years of experience in the technical management of operations in a life sciences laboratory. 
  • Experience with project management, product development, and/or innovation projects, ideally in the ag biotechnology ecosystem.
  • Experience leading and developing teams. 
  • Experience with research funding models and processes. 
  • Industry-focused business development and/or marketing experience along with a strong understanding of both academic and industry environments is highly desired. 
  • Demonstrated experience and skill in building relationships with diverse constituencies and negotiating commercial agreements. 
  • The ideal candidate will have direct experience in the bridging research to industry and the ability to bring the results of scientific research to the marketplace.
  • Innovative problem solver capable of overcoming challenging and complex issues in a fast-paced environment and growing market.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, including the ability to convey complex technical ideas to non-specialist audiences.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and work effectively within a high achieving team environment.
  • Sound judgment, discretion, diplomacy, and professional integrity.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to establish and maintain professional relationships that support exceptional collaboration.
  • Ability to gather, analyze, and present information with attention to detail. 
  • Ability to work effectively in a diverse working environment.


Department: Global Inst for Food Security
Status: Term 5 years with the possibility of extension
Employment Group: Research
Full Time Equivalent (FTE): 1.0
Salary: The starting salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
Posted Date: 11/10/2021
Closing Date: Until Filled.
Number of Openings: 1
Remote Status: Yes – Temporarily due to COVID-19

The successful applicant will be required to provide the following current verification(s) where ‘Yes’ is indicated below. Further information is available at: https://careers.usask.ca/tips-for-applying.php

Criminal Record Check: Not Applicable
Driver’s License and Abstract Check: Not Applicable
Education/Credential Verification: Not Applicable
Vulnerable Sector Check: Not Applicable

Learn more about what we are doing to keep our campus community safe.

The University of Saskatchewan has instated a number of health and safety requirements for faculty, staff and students in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of January 4, 2022, being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is a condition of employment and proof of vaccination will be required. The University will consider accommodations requests for individuals in accordance with the requirements of the The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, 2018.

The University believes equity, diversity, and inclusion strengthen the community and enhance excellence, innovation and creativity. We are dedicated to recruiting individuals who will enrich our work and learning environments. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. We are committed to providing accommodations to those with a disability or medical necessity. If you require an accommodation in order to participate in the recruitment process, please notify us and we will work together on the accommodation request. The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another. Together, we are uplifting Indigenization to a place of prominence at the University of Saskatchewan.