We’re hiring: Executive director

Job title: Executive director

Faculty/Department: Biology, Ocean Tracking Network

Starting salary: Commensurate with qualifications and experience

Location:  Halifax, NS

The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) is an international marine and freshwater monitoring platform that focuses on tracking the movements of aquatic animals in the context of ocean conditions and climate change. Established in 2008, OTN is one of 19 National Research Facilities currently supported by the Major Science Initiatives (MSI) funding program of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). OTN is made up of a collaborative and energetic team of 30+ staff, who are experts in telemetry infrastructure, autonomous and remotely operated vehicles, data management, software development, project management, science communication, public relations, and financial administration. OTN is currently fully funded through March 31, 2029.


Reporting operationally to OTN’s Scientific Director and on the program to Dalhousie’s Vice President of Research and Innovation, the Executive Director of OTN will drive research excellence in the ocean sector to support sustainable management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems. The Executive Director will also take direction from the OTN Governing Council, an appointed body who provides independent and external stewardship of OTN on behalf of Dalhousie University. 
While the Scientific Director is ultimately accountable for the management and performance of the facility, the Executive Director is a key member of OTN’s highly collaborative senior management team and helps drive and implement the strategic direction of the organization. The Executive Director will work closely with OTN’s Scientific Director and Senior Operations Manager to deliver on OTN’s mandate as an MSI, fulfill OTN’s Strategic Plan, and curate and grow its infrastructure to support the facility’s global community of 1600+ contributors. 


Due to operational requirements, the successful applicant is required to work in-person on campus. Occasional national and international travel (4-6 times per year) may be required to meet operational requirement. Evening and weekend work may be required on an occasional basis to meet operational requirements.


  • Identify opportunities to integrate novel technologies and research platforms into OTN’s programs. Diversify funding of OTN’s operational programs by securing new funding sources. 
  • Provide strategic partnerships and collaborations by building strong partnerships with industry, government, academia, indigenous and non-governmental organizations, with a goal of elevating OTN’s reputation and keeping OTN infrastructure and expertise at the forefront of environmental decision-making. 
  • Manage public relations and outreach by representing OTN in the media, at conferences, to government delegations, and the general public. 
  • Provide governance and report to the OTN Council and advisory committees on OTN activities as well as ensure committee recommendations are actioned appropriately. Deliver on OTN’s strategic plan. 
  • Provide high-level oversight over organizational budgets, processes, plans and staff to ensure the facility is operating to the highest standards. 
  • Advance equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in accordance with OTN’s EDIA strategy. 


  • Master’s degree in a related field and a minimum of 5 years of significant senior administrative and managerial experience at a director-level or higher, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. 
  • Strong leadership skills, including the ability to make difficult decisions within limited timeframes, respond to setbacks, and set and achieve goals collaboratively. 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with demonstrated experience building relationships, networking, and providing coaching or mentoring to managerial staff. 
  • Seasoned public speaker with training and experience talking to the media and delivering high-level presentations to national and international audiences. 
  • Experience providing financial and administrative oversight. 
  • Track record of education, professional development, and learning in areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. 
  • Strong situational awareness, accountability, and teamwork. 


  • PhD in a related field. 
  • Experience working in a board-governed and/or academic environment. 
  • Experience in an ocean-focused role, particularly with animal tracking or ocean technology. 
  • Experience working in government relations. 
  • Experience working collaboratively with scientists. 
  • Experience working internationally. 
  • Proficiency in additional languages especially professional fluency in French. 
  • Relevant professional designations, such as Project Management Professional, Professional Engineer etc.


The ideal candidate will be expected to demonstrate the Dalhousie’s following core and leadership competencies:

  • Thinking and acting strategically 
  • Change and innovation 
  • Relationship building 
  • Respect and inclusion 
  • Resource and process management 

 Dalhousie University supports a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Our total compensation package includes a defined benefit pension plan, health and dental plans, a health spending account, an employee and family assistance program and a tuition assistance program.

To Apply: Applications are due May 2, 2024. Applicants should apply through Dalhousie’s PeopleAdmin career portal: https://dal.peopleadmin.ca/postings/16133

We thank all applicants for their interest. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.