Research Associate (SCERN)

Wilfrid Laurier University

Job Type: Limited Term

Full-time/Part-time: Part Time ( >910 hrs/year)

Application Deadline: December 23, 2022

Requisition ID: 4742

Wilfrid Laurier University is a leading multi-campus university that excels at educating with purpose. Through its exceptional employees, students, researchers, leaders, and educators, Laurier has built a reputation as a world-class institution known for its rich student experience, academic excellence, and global impact. With a commitment to Indigenization and commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, Laurier’s thriving community has a place for everyone.

Laurier has more than 19,000 students and 2,100 faculty and staff across campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, as well locations in Kitchener and Milton. The university is committed to providing an inclusive workplace, a flexible work policy and employing a workforce that is reflective of local and national demographics. Our locations are situated on the traditional territories of the Neutral, Anishnawbe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. We recognize the unique heritages of Indigenous peoples and support their intentions to preserve and express their distinctive Indigenous cultures, histories, and knowledge through academic programming and co-curricular activities. Laurier’s Centre for Indigegogy is one example of how Laurier honours Indigenous knowledge.

Research Associate Role: Development of an accessible participatory mapping application for urban resilience planning

Position Summary:

Many social and health indicators suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted some communities more than others, and in profoundly different ways. Pandemic responses, such as stay at-home orders, social distancing and isolation requirements, and impacts on business and employment opportunities, have accentuated harm in already vulnerable communities, and created new harm in other communities. The pandemic has also shed new light on how communities can be resilient and the importance of public and digital places for social interactions, information, recreation, and economic activity, and wellbeing.

Smart Citizens Enabling Resilient Neighbourhoods (SCERN) is an applied research project that will create timely and accessible methods for integrating active and passive forms of citizen expression to build knowledge about health and social harms and resilience at the individual and community levels. Our interdisciplinary research team will create knowledge about the interactive effects of physical and digital places on stress, resilience, and equity.

The focus of the research associate will be to collaborate with a global team of interdisciplinary researchers to lead the development of a highly-accessible digital application for participatory mapping that will enable vulnerable community members to directly record personal and collective geographies about peri- and post-pandemic stress and resilience. The research associate will also assist in applying the methods to a series of case studies of neighbourhood hotspots to plan for post-pandemic resilience in partnership with the City of Hamilton.

Research Area:

The SCERN Team: Since 2014, the SCERN team has collaborated to develop innovative methods for urban resilience planning that integrate fine-grained sentiment analysis of geo-social media data in urban settings, as well as community engagement and research to understand local drivers of chronic stress and resilience. Our work has drawn on methods from information science, health geography, community and cyber psychology, and public health. Learn more about the SCERN project and team here:

We are currently hiring two research associates in unique areas and locations. This ad is for a research associate based in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, who will focus on participatory methods for engaging community members. We are also hiring a research associate based in Loughborough, United Kingdom, who will develop methods for harnessing geo-social media. Please see the SCERN website to learn more about that opportunity.


The research associate will take a lead in developing and testing an application for collecting extensive and intensive information about people’s experiences of stress and resilience in relation to physical and digital places (participatory mapping). The research associate will collaborate with the Open Collaboration for Cognitive Accessibility ( to improve accessibility of the application for people with cognitive impairments. The researcher will also coordinate the development of a mixed methods approach for integrating data from participatory mapping with geo-social media content and other relevant contextual information to learn about local drivers of chronic stress and resilience. They will collaborate with senior researchers in the design of a study for examining physical and digital place effects on stress and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the activities, the post-doc will have opportunities for supervising trainees; leading and contribute to research outputs, including peer-reviewed publications and presentations; and participating in interdisciplinary and international meetings with research team members and knowledge users. There is also potential for part-time teaching contracts at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Candidates should have a PhD granted in the last 5 years in Geography or another relevant area. Leaves taken after the PhD was granted will be considered, such as for parental, medical, bereavement, and family care. Candidates with other qualifications will be considered with justification.

We value experience developing map-based applications and experience using ArcGIS Online Suite, and but also invite applications from candidates who are willing to train in a self-directed manner. Knowledge of tools and techniques for geographic visualization skills are required. Strong academic writing skills are required, including evidence of scholarly publications, reports with decision-maker partners or other relevant outputs.

Assets: Strong knowledge of statistical analysis including quantitative modeling and spatial analysis (e.g., regression modeling, multilevel modeling, cluster detection) is an asset. Knowledge of and experience with Ecological Momentary Assessment is an asset. Experience working on an interdisciplinary research team that uses mixed methods is an asset. Experience working with knowledge users is an asset.

Supervisor: Professor Ketan Shankardass (

Expected start date: January 9, 2023

Term: This is a 0.5FTE research associate position based at Wilfrid Laurier University typically requiring 20 hours per week commitment. The contract will be for 12 months, but may be extended upon mutual agreement and funding availability.

Location: The successful candidate will work and be based at Wilfrid Laurier University, but collaborate with other team members based in Waterloo, Ottawa, Loughborough (UK) and Zurich (Switzerland). Much of the work can and will happen virtually with some specific activities requiring the ability to commute to Waterloo and/or Hamilton area.

Salary: $25,000-$30,000 (depending on level of experience) plus benefits

Application Instructions: Applicants should submit a cover letter, CV and names of three individuals with knowledge of academic or relevant work experience. Reference letters are not required in the initial application and will be requested for those selected for interviews. The cover letter should highlight your expertise, your research interests and your fit in regards to this position.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: We acknowledge openly that post-secondary education, research, and academia in general has and continues to be a place marked by inequity, systemic and institutional barriers. We are committed to including underrepresented groups on our research team. Specifically, we are committed to contributing towards correcting a biased system that unfairly advantaged majority groups over minoritized groups in academic, research, and graduate training. Applications for this position will be anonymized by a third party prior to review by removing identifying information, such as names, age, gender pronouns and degree institutions.

Wilfrid Laurier University endeavors to fill positions with qualified candidates who have a combination of education, experience, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position while demonstrating Laurier’s Employee Success Factors.

Equity, diversity and creating a culture of inclusion are part of Laurier’s core values and central to the Laurier Strategy. Laurier is committed to increasing the diversity of faculty and staff and welcomes applications from candidates who identify as Indigenous, racialized, having disabilities, and from persons of any minority sexual and gender identities. Indigenous candidates who would like to learn more about equity and inclusive programing at Laurier are welcomed to contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. Candidates from other equity deserving groups who would like to learn more about equity and inclusive programing at Laurier are welcomed to contact Equity & Accessibility. We have strived to make our application process accessible, however if you require any assistance applying for a position or would like this job posting in an alternative format, please contact Human Resources. Contact information can be found at

Should you be interested in learning more about this opportunity, please visit for additional information and the online application system. All applications must be submitted online. Please note, a resume and cover letter will be required in electronic form.

Job Type: Part-time
Part-time hours: 20 per week

Salary: $25,000.00-$30,000.00 per year

Work Location: Hybrid remote in Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5

Application deadline: 2022-12-23
Expected start date: 2023-01-09

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