Director of Research and Innovation

The Atmospheric Fund

  • Salary: $90,000 (annual salary, prorated for actual time worked)
  • Location: Toronto; remote office during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Closing: 11:59pm, 30th Sep 2021 EDT

Job Description

We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis and encourage candidates to apply early!

What we’re looking for

TAF is seeking an interim Director of Research and Innovation to provide strategic direction and quality control for a wide range of in-house and collaborative research, evaluation, knowledge gathering and knowledge dissemination initiatives that advance TAF’S mandate.

This is a full-time, eight month contract reporting to the VP of Programs and Policy. Estimated start date October 15, 2021.

About The Atmospheric Fund (TAF)

TAF is a regional climate agency with a $90 million endowment fund to invest in innovative low-carbon solutions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and scale them up for broad implementation. We are experienced leaders and we collaborate with stakeholders in the private, public and non-profit sectors. We advance the most promising concepts by investing, providing grants, influencing policies and running programs. We’re particularly interested in ideas that offer benefits in addition to carbon reduction such as improving people’s health, creating local jobs, boosting urban resiliency, and contributing to a fair society.

We are a registered non-profit, with a Board of Directors appointed by the City of Toronto, made up of City councillors and citizens. Learn more at

Working at TAF

Talk to our staff and they will tell you that working at TAF comes with amazing advantages. We’re on the leading edge of urban climate change solutions and our work makes a tangible difference. We build meaningful relationships with all kinds of stakeholders – from thought leaders advancing new concepts and approaches to the people who implement change on the ground. Join our dedicated and collaborative team to contribute to the value and impact of our work.

Building an inclusive community with a shared purpose is critical to our work and mandate. We are EqualX30 signatories and believe that teams work best when the people within them are diverse in background and approach, including diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, and all the other fascinating characteristics that make us different.

Virtual Office Update: TAF staff are currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have no way of knowing when we’ll return to our downtown Toronto location.  We are open to hiring candidates from different locations across the GTHA. We expect that all staff will need to meet in person on occasion when we can safely return to our office.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Update: As an agency of the City of Toronto, TAF has adopted the City’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy, and will require proof of vaccination from all new employees, unless they are unable to obtain a vaccine for a reason related to a protected ground set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code. 

Position Responsibilities

As Director of Research and Innovation, you’ll contribute to TAF strategy and work by capturing, articulating insights and learnings, and creates and champions processes that enable innovation, to accelerate and scale climate outcomes.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll do:

Grant Program Design and Development

  • Co-develop, with the Director of Strategy and Grants, TAF’s overall grants strategy in response to evolving TAF strategic directions, key opportunity areas, and emerging trends.

  • Lead the engagement of TAF colleagues and community stakeholders to implement TAF’s strategy for investing in community projects as well as internal projects (i.e., climate action initiatives that are funded, designed and delivered by TAF).  

  • Lead the continuous improvement of TAF’s grants program, drawing on best practices in philanthropy, the experience of grant-making peers, and insights from TAF’s own grant-making.

  • Ensure that the membership of TAF’s volunteer Grants and Programs Committee continues to reflect the diverse skills and experiences needed to make well-informed project funding recommendations.

  • Identify, procure, and promote new capacity-building services intended to strengthen the design and delivery of TAF-funded projects.

  • Ensure that TAF’s grant-making program remains in compliance with the requirements of TAF’s funders.

Grant Program Management and Reporting

  • Administer the application, review and reporting processes for TAF’s grant and internal programs, liaising with project managers as needed.

  • Provide timely, straightforward, and diplomatic responses to grant-seekers throughout the grants intake and decision-making processes.

  • Draft contribution agreements for Board-approved grants which set out expectations with respect to project deliverables, reporting and payment schedules, and other contractual rights and responsibilities.

  • Review grant and internal project reports to assess progress towards project deliverables; approve the release of grant instalments or, as necessary, provide constructive feedback to grantees to support successful project delivery and ensure satisfaction of contractual requirements.

  • Implement strong processes and procedures to ensure the smooth administration of TAF's grants and internal programs, including effective budget and cashflow management.

  • As primary liaison, provide support for and ensure the smooth functioning of TAF’s Grants and Programs Committee, including implementation of their recommendations concerning project funding and the grant program overall, and representation of their recommendations to the TAF Board.

Grant Cultivation

  • Demonstrate leadership in identifying and advancing high-impact granting opportunities, including: building trusting, long-term relationships with community collaborators; formulating options; assessing strengths and challenges of project concepts; consulting with internal and external stakeholders to land on suitable approaches to project delivery; and articulating the grant-making rationale to TAF’s Grants and Programs Committee and Board.

  • Design and deliver targeted calls for grant proposals as appropriate.

  • Identify and advance collaborative funding opportunities with other grant-makers, including but not limited to other centres within the Low Carbon Cities Canada network.

Community Liaison and Advisory Support

  • Deliver well-prepared, strategic, and compelling presentations about TAF’s grants program and funding priorities to community groups within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

  • Serve as an advisor to community groups in the project development, application review and project implementation phases, as required, and effectively rally other TAF staff involved in this task.

  • Facilitate knowledge transfer by capturing the outcomes and learnings of TAF-funded projects and, in consultation with TAF’s Communications team, sharing them with colleagues, community partners and TAF’s Grants and Programs Committee to maximize impact.


  • Represent TAF in the community with excellence and in a manner consistent with TAF’s professional standards and reputation as a rigorous and collaborative grant-maker.

  • Participate actively as a TAF team member at staff meetings, retreats and through ad hoc staff working groups.

  • Oversee the Grants Co-ordinator's work to ensure the smooth functioning of TAF’s grants program and support their professional development.

 The kind of candidate we’re looking for

This is a short-term contract and we’re looking for someone who can really hit the ground running. You’ll be the right person for the job if you have knowledge, understanding and strong curiosity on topics of climate change and related and intersecting issues including social impacts, poverty and inequality, racism and justice, health outcomes, economics, technologies, trends, and more.

We require the following qualifications:

  • Post-secondary education in environmental studies, applied sciences, public policy or a similar discipline, or equivalent experience through professional or other activities

  • Strong working knowledge of (and lots of passion for) urban climate solutions and concepts including technical, policy and behaviour change approaches.

  • At least five years’ experience managing a complex, multi-year program or project, including planning, implementation, and evaluation.

  • Proven stakeholder relations expertise, including managing relationships with a wide variety of community stakeholders.

  • Exceptional ability to think critically and plan strategically.

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with confidence in public speaking to a wide range of audiences.

  • Excellent organizational, administrative, and problem-solving skills.

  • Ability to exercise mature judgement, initiative, diplomacy and tact.

  • Familiarity with social innovation approaches (e.g., partnership brokering, design thinking, developmental evaluation) and how to apply them for the purposes of improving outcomes.

  • Natural curiosity and aptitude for learning new concepts and processes.

  • Ability to manage uncertainty, adapt to quickly changing circumstances and pursue new opportunities and new directions as needed.

  • Advanced working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite and SalesForce.


In addition to your salary, you'll benefit from:

  • Paid time off:

    • 15 vacation days per calendar year, pro-rated for partial years of employment.

    • A generous and compassionate personal leave policy.

    • TAF-wide office closures on 13 City designated and statutory holidays, as well as the three business days between Boxing Day and New Years’ Day.

    • Support for your virtual office during pandemic, including hardware and stipend for internet and other expenses.

    • Access to financial support and time off to pursue relevant professional development.

  • The Intangible Stuff:

    • In consultation with your supervisor, flexible work hours and work-from-home options (beyond COVID-19).

    • Work that directly helps to reduce carbon emissions and improve people’s health, create new green jobs, boost urban resiliency, and contribute to a more fair and just GTHA.

    • Staff socials and lunches, picnics, and many other activities.

    • Team-wide trainings and learning.

    • Input to and participation in TAF’s strategic planning.

    • A work environment that’s seeking to be open and inclusive, supported by a staff-led Social and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee

Next steps

All you need to do is start the process by clicking on the blue button on the top right.

No CV/resume is required for the process. You’ll answer some questions that are related to your day-to-day job. After the job closes, your answers will go through our sift process: all answers will be anonymised, randomised and then reviewed by a panel of reviewers.

If you are shortlisted, we’ll invite you to the next step, which includes an interview that will be conducted through a videoconference. Also, we love giving and getting feedback, so at the end of the application process we'll share how well you performed and will welcome your comments on the process.

Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Applications closed Fri 1st Oct 2021


Removing bias from the hiring process

  • Your application will be anonymously reviewed by our hiring team to ensure fairness
  • You won't need a CV to apply to this job

Applications closed Fri 1st Oct 2021