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Inaugural Board Recruitment Process for the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO)

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Recruitment for the Inaugural Board of Directors of the New Digital Research Infrastructure Organization (NDRIO) represents the next stage in the implementation of the organization’s Governance and Membership Model.

One of the key themes emerging from the consultation process was the importance of openness and transparency in process, governance and operations of the new organization. In keeping with these values, please find below background and information pertaining to the recruitment and selection of the Inaugural Board Directors.

Following a competitive process, the Applicant Board has engaged executive recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson to support the recruitment process. Odgers Berndston has significant experience recruiting for Boards in the areas of research, academia, public service and the not-for-profit sector.

Process & Timeline

The call for interest in Director positions will be an open process, with the ad being posted before Christmas. The ad will include additional information about the process (e.g. how to express interest and what to include), as well as all key dates.

Potential Board Directors will be vetted by a selection committee consisting of Applicant Board members and additional research community members and / or external members. The objective is to present a slate of up to 15 Directors to the first general members’ meeting in early 2020.

A Governing Board

The Inaugural Board’s role is to provide oversight to NDRIO. Accordingly, Directors will be required to act independently in the best interests of the organization and not their affiliated organization.

The Board will guide operational start-up activities – including transition planning with CANARIE, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Compute Canada – and will lead strategic planning for the next phase of the new organization’s mandate.

The Board will lay the foundation for the governance of the organization, which includes hiring the CEO, monitoring the organization’s financial affairs, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements and meeting the terms of the contribution agreement with the Government of Canada.


The Board will need seasoned Directors with the right mix of skills and experience, including a deep knowledge of the community served by NDRIO and expertise in the effective and efficient functioning of a non-profit organization. Competencies will be sought in the following broad areas: Canada’s research environment; Board governance and oversight; financial acumen; strategic planning; business and risk management; security and privacy; and an ability to drive strategy to execution.

Given the scope of the new organization’s mandate across the three DRI components, the Board of Directors will also have knowledge of, or expertise in, one or more of the following: advanced research computing (ARC), research software (RS), and / or data management (DM).

Using a skills-based assessment process, potential Board Directors will be assessed and appointed to staggered terms of one to three years.

Additional Board Composition Considerations

The Government of Canada requires NDRIO’s recruitment process to reflect equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles, resulting in a Board with 50% independent Directors, including the Chair. Independent Directors are defined as having no material relationship with the organization. NDRIO is committed to these principles, and will further apply best efforts to see the appointment of 50% female Directors. Furthermore, the Inaugural Board of Directors will reflect the geographic and linguistic diversity of the country.

As the new organization will need to coordinate across a highly diverse stakeholder environment, and national, regional, provincial and local delivery layers, it will be critical that the composition of the Board reflects not only the broad competencies described above, but also the diversity of Canada’s research ecosystem.

All Directors will be subject to stringent conflict of interest and code of conduct policies that require those undertaking activities on behalf of the organization to do so in a way that avoids any real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Next Steps

As noted above, the Board recruitment ad will be posted shortly. Please review it and, if interested, submit the requested information. To help ensure all potentially interested candidates are aware of the process, please share this information and the ad when posted with potential candidates in your networks. The community’s input continues to be valuable to this process and the new organization.

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