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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Preparing students for the New Economy in the 21st century is a cornerstone of the ACTION for Health project. With positions available for students of every level - from undergraduate to post-doctoral - this project will prove to be the training ground for the leaders of tomorrow.

Please take a moment to read these Frequently Asked Questions about employment opportunities with the project. The answers below only represent Ellen Balka's policies for the Vancouver-based research team; other Co-investigators may have different employment policies and practices so they should be consulted for details.

1. What is the relationship between the Assessment of Technology in Context (ATIC) Lab and the ACTION for Health project?

2. The ACTION for Health project consists of a number of sub-projects. Which sub-project(s) would I be assigned if hired?

3. Who do you hire?

4. When do you hire?

5. What sort of academic background is preferred in your staff?

6. What kinds of "hard" skills do you look for when hiring?

7. What are some of the "soft" skills that you look for when hiring?

8. Where do staff on such an international project work?

9. What are some of the workplace expectations?

10. What are the business hours for the project?

11. Are these full-time or part-time positions?

12. Will my hours of work be flexible?

13. My friend is an Research Assistant and she/ he works whenever and wherever she/ he likes. Why must ACTION for Health staff keep regular hours?

14. Will I be required to work overtime?

15. Are these employment opportunities paid or unpaid?

16. Are there any benefits available for these positions?

17. Do these positions belong to a union?

18. Are there long-term employment prospects with the ACTION for Health project or the ATIC Lab? Is it possible for my Co-op position to continue beyond graduation?

19. As a graduate student, can my thesis research work build on research undertaken at the ACTION for Health project?

20. What will I gain from working on the ACTION for Health project?

21. How will working on the ACTION for Health project benefit my non-academic career goals?

22. How can I apply?

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1. What is the relationship between the Assessment of Technology in Context (ATIC) Lab and the ACTION for Health project? [top]

The SFU ATIC Lab is based in the School of Communication, where the lab studies a number of different technologies in their situated contexts depending on research grants. The ACTION for Health project, on the other hand, has a narrower scope - it is funded to only study the social aspects of technology in the health sector. Since both teams are lead by Dr. Ellen Balka's research, the two groups have temporarily amalgamated into one to share resources and expertise to facilitate research. That said, both groups are maintaining separate but inter-related identities: ATIC lab members not only contribute to the ACTION for Health project but are also responsible for projects specific to the ATIC Lab.

 

2. The ACTION for Health project consists of a number of sub-projects. Which sub-project(s) would I be assigned if hired? [top]

A number of factors help determine a student's work assignment. Project needs such as the status of the research, budget allocation, location of applicant, and current and future staffing needs are taken into consideration. In addition, the needs and ability of the student also play a role in the final decision. It is not the intention of f the project to ask a student to participate in a study she/he has no interests in.

 

3. Who do you hire? [top]
We hire primarily students - undergraduate (usually as Co-Op or Work-Study students at our team members' institutions), graduate (master's and doctoral level) and post-doctoral fellows. Because most of our research funds require that we hire only students, we almost never have openings for non-students.

Note: Our definition of a student varies according to funding agencies and Simon Fraser University policies.

 

4. When do you hire? [top]
We hire year-round according to project needs: you should contact the Project Co-ordinator directly if you are interested in working for the project. The Project Co-ordinator can tell you if we are currently hiring or if we expect to be hiring in the near future. Positions for undergraduate students tend to coincide with the beginning of each semester: Fall (September), Spring (January) and Summer (May).

 

5. What sort of academic background is preferred in your staff? [top]
Our research is multi-disciplinary so there is no preference for staff of a particular field of study. In the past, our staff have academic backgrounds ranging from Communication, Sociology, Anthropology, English, Political Science, Journalism, Computer Science, Engineering, Women's Studies, Business to Health Sciences.

 

6. What kinds of "hard" skills do you look for when hiring? [top]
First and foremost, we look for students who have taken research methods courses and or have relevant academic research experience (qualitative and quantitative). Many of our projects require staff to engage in the collection of data in field settings such as hospitals, libraries and doctor's offices: anyone filling such positions need to be conversant with research theory, design, ethics, methodologies and analysis - in other words, staff need to have performed well in research methods courses.

Being comfortable with learning and using new technologies is also an important asset in staff - this is especially true for a research team as geographically dispersed as the ACTION for Health team, which relies heavily on technologies like email and the internet to facilitate communication, collaboration and research.

Although we train staff to use software specific to the project, it would be beneficial if incoming staff were already familiar with some of the software we regularly use. This includes bibliographic (e.g., Reference Manager, EndNote), qualitative data analysis (e.g., Nvivo), quantitative data analysis (e.g., SPSS), and visual-mapping software (e.g., Inspiration, Visio).

Ability to back-up computers, to operate CD-rewritable drives, to perform anti-virus updates and or to maintain websites are other skills that are valuable to the project.

 

7. What are some of the "soft" skills that you look for when hiring? [top]
We look for people who have a demonstrated interest in some aspect of the work undertaken. For example, staff might have an interest in issues related to technology and society, health sector work and or intellectual property. That said, we do occasionally hire students for tasks that do not require an interest in the research area such as web design and event co-ordination: the availability of these positions depend entirely on project needs.

Most importantly, staff need to be effective team players who work well independently, are detail-oriented and are able to meet deadlines. Successful candidates should also be willing to make an ongoing commitment to the project: a minimum of one-semester, with preference given to students who are available for work for more than one semester.

 

8. Where do staff on such an international project work? [top]
As an international project with multiple research sites, there is opportunity for students to work in Britain, Austria, Australia or even across Canada. Students are expected to relocate to the site of research without financial assistance or compensation from the project.

Although Co-investigators are responsible for recruiting their own staff, you should first consult the Project Co-ordinator to see if there are any opportunities abroad before applying. The Project Co-ordinator is only responsible for recruitment for Vancouver-based sub-projects.

Click here for information on living and working in Vancouver, Canada.

 

9. What are some of the workplace expectations? [top]
No matter where project staff are located, they are expected to go to the place of employment and or research site(s) on a regular basis; telecommuting is generally discouraged, as it can hinder communication and workflow. Staff are also expected to regularly back-up their work to enable data recovery in the event of equipment failure.

 

10. What are the business hours for the project? [top]

Business hours are between 9:00am and 5:00pm.

 

11. Are these full-time or part-time positions? [top]

The ACTION for Health project offers both full-time (in summer or if work coincides with thesis work) as well as part-time employment opportunities. Whether you work full-time or part-time, you will be expected to work regularly scheduled hours (e.g., every Thursday and Friday). Unless research design requires you to work outside of normal working hours, you will be working during business hours (see Q10).

Note: Part-time = up to 16 hours per week; Full-time = up to 37.5 hours per week

As students, your studies are your first priority so SFU has defined a maximum number of hours per week you are permitted to work:

Work-Study Students
8.75 hours/week
Co-Op Education Students
37.5 hours/week
Undergraduate Students
16 hours/week
* Master's Students
16 hours/week
* PhD Students
16 hours/week

* During the thesis-writing stage, graduate students are required to further reduce the number of hours they work.

 

12. Will my hours of work be flexible? [top]

Although some flexibility is possible (e.g., re-arranging working hours during the exam period), all such alternate arrangements must be cleared in advance with Project Co-ordinator and or Co-investigators.

 

13. My friend is a Research Assistant and she/ he works whenever and wherever she/ he likes. Why must ACTION for Health staff keep regular hours? [top]

The nature of the ACTION for Health project demands that the work environment be collaborative, where staff can work closely together to share knowledge, pass skills, and to assist one another. In order for these activities to occur, staff must see one another regularly to facilitate communication and work flow. After all, it is easier to work as a team when staff members can anticipate the availability of the rest of the team.

 

14. Will I be required to work overtime? [top]

You will not be asked to work beyond your maximum number of hours as established by SFU policy. The only time you would be required to work overtime would be if the project you are assigned requires data collection beyond the project's business hours. Typically, you would be given time off as compensation for working overtime.

 

15. Are these employment opportunities paid or unpaid? [top]

Most positions on the ACTION for Health project are paid. The rate of pay varies with experience, skill-set, rank of student (e.g., undergraduate, master's, doctoral or post-doctoral) and conditions set by funding agencies. Undergraduate rates are generally competitive with Co-Op pay rates, while graduate rates are similar to the TA pay rates.

 

16. Are there any benefits available for these positions? [top]

It depends on the policy of team members' institutions. At SFU, staff paid on an hourly basis receive an additional 4% of salary per pay period, in lieu of vacation. Generally, only full-time Post-Doctoral Fellows receive benefits.

 

17. Do these positions belong to a union? [top]

It depends on the policy of team members' institutions. Vancouver-based positions are not unionized.

 

18. Are there long-term employment prospects with the ACTION for Health project or the ATIC Lab? Is it possible for my Co-op position to continue beyond graduation? [top]


We are not in a position to offer long-term employment after staff complete their studies as dictated by funding agencies - we can only employ students.

 

19. As a graduate student, can my thesis research work build on research undertaken at the ACTION for Health project? [top]

Yes, absolutely. As a staff member, you can either keep your own research separate from ACTION for Health work and treat your employment at the project like a job, or you can integrate the work do you for the project into your thesis research. Both models of employment are supported at the ACTION for Health project and ATIC Lab. Please refer to the ACTION for Health Intellectual Property Policy for details.

 

20. What will I gain from working on the ACTION for Health project? [top]

You will gain experience working in a collaborative research environment on a large and international project. This will provide you with exposure to all aspects of research from project development to execution including: collaborating with research partners and stakeholders; collecting and analyzing documents; conducting literature reviews; conducting data analysis and presenting research results to various audiences. ACTION for Health staff will leave the project with a strong set of research skills and a good sense of what a career in academic research is all about.

 

21. How will working on the ACTION for Health project benefit my non-academic career goals? [top]

You don't have to aspire to be a scholar to benefit from working on this research project! In fact, you can develop a range of transferable skills that are in-demand in any career. These skills include: project management experience, communication skills, organizational skills, teamwork abilities, networking know-how as well as the ability to meet deadlines. With the health care sector fast becoming more multi-disciplinary and prominent, get a head start on a career in this growing field by joining the ACTION for Health team.

 

22. How can I apply? [top]
To apply, forward your cover letter and resume/CV to Project Co-ordinator via email for consideration. Indicate in your cover letter:

  • Why you are interested in working for the ACTION for Health project
  • What skills you bring to the team
  • Which aspect of the three research themes you are most interested in
  • How many hours a week you are available for work
  • Where you are in your studies (number of credits) and when you expect to complete your studies
  • Include relevant (work or otherwise) experience and academic background for project

Please be prepared to provide a copy of your unofficial transcript to Project Co-ordinator upon request.

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This FAQ did not address your particular question or concern? Email your queries to Kelly, our Project Co-ordinator, with "Employment" as the subject line.

Job postings for students are available!

 


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