The Vector Institute is seeking a Director, Industry Innovation to join our growing team in Toronto.

Participate in the building of and ongoing strong and value-enhancing relationships with sponsors and the broader AI ecosystem looking to engage with Vector. Share accountability for effective industry interaction that expands their understanding of AI-enabled technologies and helps them to hire additional highly qualified personnel.

In this key leadership role, you’ll act as a primary day-to-day interface between external industry and internal Vector research activities, ensure coordination and delivery of Vector industry programmes that meet the direct needs of industry ranging from large multi-nationals to small start-ups and, as a member of Vector’s Industry Innovation team, support the development and implementation of industry-related strategic and operational activities in support of Vector’s mission.

Select Key Responsibilities

  • Contribute to the development and implementation of industry-related strategic and operational plans and programmes and deliver these to sponsors and private sector partners through industry-related seminar series, workshops, and events in accordance with the approved Vector plan.
  • Identify and forge effective working relationships with champions for each Sponsor organization to act as the primary contact on all activities and programmes related to industry interaction and establish agreements and processes that formalize their engagement, contributions, and research activities in partnership with Vector.
  • Engage the Canadian AI ecosystem to help position Vector as a critical element in leading and facilitating economic growth and social impact by participating in marketing and presenting at conferences, seminars, and workshops as a spokesperson for Vector.
  • Work with technical and business leaders from within the broader AI ecosystem to identify, select, and integrate into Vector’s industry programmes, 20-30 companies and organizations that align with Vector’s long-term mission, and assist these organizations with improving their technology capabilities and business strategies, and as well assist them in implementing new activities that may benefit them with their AI capabilities (e.g., shared data repositories; access to computing facilities).
  • Work closely with Vector researchers and staff, facilitate the development and management of industry-academia research themes within Vector that involve collaborative engagement with academic researchers, students, Vector sponsors, and other potential industry partners, and encourage the formation of joint projects that help to increase the flow of research ideas between our various stakeholders.
  • Manage and ensure collection of information about companies and organizations that the industry innovation team interacts with, including their expectations and needs in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, accessible to other members of the Vector team.
  • Support the design and implementation of student focused initiatives and programmes such as job fairs, online job postings, and student internships within industry that help to address industry needs for AI talent.

Key Success Measures

  • Vector achieves its goals for its industry sponsor relationships
  • Industry sponsorship growth and retention goals are met
  • Industry sponsor feedback via informal and formal feedback mechanisms validates that Vector is providing appropriate services and support through effective working relationships

Profile of The Ideal Candidate

  • Possess at least a Master’s degree in business and/or technology and are currently in or have previously been in a management role where you have actively engaged with research organizations and the academic community and have been responsible for industry-academic interaction that includes supporting joint research initiatives for a period of 10 or more years.
  • Are creative and enjoy working in a small entrepreneurial environment that is mission- and results-driven and laser focused on growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence talent in Canada and have had a diverse network of (AI preferred) business interactions within a technology ecosystem where you have engaged with industry partners at both business and technical levels to collaboratively and effectively move teams and projects/programmes forward.
  • Have exceptional verbal and written English communication skills; are effective in presenting to a diverse set of stakeholders from the business and technology ecosystem and have demonstrated expertise in the development, implementation, and execution of business and research contracts, intellectual property policies, funding programme guidelines, and commercialization agreements.
  • Have a track record of developing and implementing strategic and operational plans and of working with innovation and government organizations that promote the development of start-ups for economic growth and social impact, and doing so with limited available resources, autonomously, and in a fast-paced and stressful environment.
  • Possess a positive attitude, integrity, a sense of humour, bring a positive energy and outlook to a corporate culture, and are motivated by continuous learning and the desire to make a difference and a real contribution to AI.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Knows the basic roles of the various innovation organizations in Ontario (such as MRIS, OCE, MaRS, Mitacs) and their programmes in support of innovation, research, and start-ups.
  • Have worked with developers of IP (Intellectual Property) to help protect and support commercialization of IP.
  • Demonstrates explicit knowledge of the innovation/technology development path (pure research, applied, proof-of-concept, prototype, product) and how government and industry might support this complex interaction.
  • Have a tolerance of ambiguous environments and managing progress through a complex environment consisting of multiple stakeholders with differing goals.

How to apply

Interested and qualified candidates are invited to send their CV with a covering letter to the attention of: David Wexler at David.Wexler@vectorinstitute.ai

We thank all applicants for their interest in this exciting opportunity and will be in touch with those whose qualifications most closely match with our needs.

ABOUT THE VECTOR INSTITUTE

The goal of the Vector Institute is simple: make Ontario – and Canada – a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI). A new, independent not-for-profit, the Vector Institute will help build out the AI ecosystem in Ontario, developing and attracting the world’s best machine learning and deep learning experts, and create an unrivalled convergence of research, investment, entrepreneurialism, and economic growth.

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