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Postdoctoral Scholar, Health Research and Policy, Surgery Strategic Clinical Network

Job ID: 21708
Location: Foothills Campus
Updated January 06, 2021

This job posting is no longer active.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta.
The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Districts 5 and 6.

Position Description

Area:            Health Research & Policy
Duration:     1 year (potentially renewable)
Start date:    December 2020
Salary:          $50,000 per annum (plus benefits)

The Department of Surgery in the Cummings School of Medicine at the University of Calgary in collaboration with the Surgery Strategic Clinical Network (Alberta Health Services) is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar in Health Systems Research.

The Surgery Strategic Clinical Network (SCN) was created with the goal of bringing together Provincial and National stakeholders including frontline healthcare professionals, operational leaders, academic partners and the community to identify priorities and develop novel solutions to transform the surgical landscape in Alberta. This led to a paradigm shift towards system innovation and learning, with a focus on using objective data to drive change and improve outcomes.

The Surgery SCN Transformational Roadmap was published in early 2018, outlining 4 major strategic objectives, namely (1)To improve access to surgical care (2) To ensure safe and high quality surgical care (3) To make efficient use of data to drive decision making at all levels in the health care system (4) To build a strong surgical community.

In line with the Government policy to reduce wait times for elective surgery, a series of consultations was initiated with multiple stakeholders across the Province, which eventually led to the creation and adoption of the Alberta Surgical Initiative (ASI).  The ASI plan proposes five key strategies that address all 3 phases of the patient’s journey, namely the referral phase (pre-operative), the surgery phase (intra- operative) and recovery (post-operative) phase:

The research of the Scientific Office of the Surgery SCN has aligned its priorities with the strategic objectives of the Transformational Road map has developed this role for a Postdoctoral Scholar in Health Systems Research. The Postdoctoral Scholar will work closely with the Scientific Director, Assistant Scientific Director, and the leadership team of the Surgery SCN to develop hypothesis-driven research questions relevant to these objectives and co-lead projects that will generate evidence to inform policy and practice with relevance to Surgical Care in Alberta.

This position provides highly-qualified postdoctoral scholar an environment to study health services and policy research (HSPR), or related fields, a unique opportunity to apply their research and analytic talents to critical challenges in health care that are being addressed by health system and related organizations outside of the traditional scholarly setting, and to also develop professional experience, new skills, and networks.

Job Description:
The selected candidate will devote between 70-100% of their time working with the Surgery SCN team and the broader AHS community to advance priority research of the surgery SCN as defined by the scientific office of the SCN and outlined in the Surgery SCN Transformational Roadmap.

The remaining percentage of time (if any) should be spent on academic research and related activities (e.g., publishing manuscripts, advancing an existing program of research and/or developing a new one) under the supervision of the academic supervisor,  who in this case would be the Scientific Director of the Surgery SCN. Within this 100% time commitment, scholars must pursue activities related to professional competency development and participate in Surgery SCN core meetings and regularly touch base with the Scientific Director, Assistant Scientific Director and the Senior Provincial Director.

The position requires independent analysis and research, within a team approach in a fast moving and changing environment, often involving multiple stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, the operational arm of AHS, Institute of Health Economics, The Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Canadian Institute of Health Information, and other academic partners. The postdoctoral scholar will contribute to helping develop and refine research questions and methods, and will have the opportunity to lead a multi-pronged program of research using concepts and methods in Health Systems Research. The ultimate goal is to generate evidence that will guide provincial decisions

Research outcomes will inform policies, procedures and decision making to meet the four strategic objectives outlines in the Surgery SCN Transformational Roadmap.


  • Co-develop and refine research questions and methods within the project parameters
  • Lead the design and implementation of sub-studies in the Surgery SCN research program
  • Actively seek additional, external funding opportunities at local, provincial and national levels
  • Actively contribute to the development of peer-reviewed publications related to the studies undertaken as part of the PDF appointment
  • Provide leadership on knowledge translation activities
  • Undertake additional training

PhD in health sciences or social sciences, health services research, or a related field, completed within the last 5 years preferred (or will be complete upon start date)

  • High level of effective organizational, time management and personal initiative skills
  • Proven ability to design and complete research studies of complex issues
  • Strong team player
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, especially in scientific writing
  • Proven ability to deliver high quality publications and presentations
  • Understanding of experimental design and scientific process and evaluative and qualitative methodologies.
  • Strong track record of scholarly activities including publication of research findings in reputable peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations
  • Experience in applying for external grants and awards
  • Previous experience in working with administrative data or large datasets would be an asset
  • Previous experience in the study of integrated service delivery or care pathways would be an asset

Application Details:

  • Statement of interest (limit 1 page) summarizing your relevant experience, career goals, and description of how postdoc training will contribute to these goals
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • List of two (2) references (reference letters will be required for final decisions)
  • Two (2) writing samples (published or unpublished) that best exemplify your scholarly work, along with an explanation of your role in each sample.

This is a full-time (1.0 FTE), benefits-eligible, one year appointment (with possibility of renewal). For additional information and policies regarding postdoctoral scholars at the University of Calgary, please see

Eligibility Criteria

  • There are no citizenship restrictions.
  • The date of degree completion is used to determine the eligibility of applicants. In accordance with the University's regulations this is the date when the applicant has completed all the steps required to obtain their PhD, including successful defense and submission of the corrected final thesis. It is not the convocation date.

Applications Details:
Please contact Dr. Sanjay Beesoon [email protected] or Dr. Mary Brindle [email protected] if you have any questions.  The PDF will be affiliated with the Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Additional Information

To learn more about postdoctoral scholar opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Postdoc Careers website.

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

To succeed as one of Canada’s top universities, where new ideas are created, tested and applied through first-class teaching and research, the University of Calgary needs more of the best minds in our classrooms and labs. We’re increasing our scholarly capacity by investing in people who want to change the world, bringing the best and brightest to Calgary to form a global intellectual hub and achieve advances that matter to everyone. For more information visit

About Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is one of the world's cleanest cities and has been named one of the world's most livable cities for years. Calgary is a city of leaders – in business, community, philanthropy and volunteerism. Calgarians benefit from the strongest economy in the nation and enjoy more days of sunshine per year than any other major Canadian city. Calgary is less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and boasts the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America.

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.