Position Description

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Inclusive Design Research Centre
Job Code 1811
Department Research Labs & Projects
Employment Type Temporary/Contract
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Over a one-year period, the Postdoctoral Fellow will investigate the design and development of malleable software systems that support greater inclusion and creative participation. They will contribute to an open body of knowledge and technical practices around inclusive data collection, organization, materialization (e.g. visualization, sonification, haptics), and self-governance. The postdoc will support the Project We Count community in co-developing inclusive data-gathering tools, distributed user interfaces for citizen science, and user-continuable software systems.  Due to the diverse character of these materials, research will be approached from different and interdisciplinary perspectives.

This research will be part of Project We Count, which will address barriers to participation and employment for persons with disabilities in the rapidly growing data economy. At the same time, the project will tackle bias and exclusion of persons with disabilities in data systems and ensure that these systems (including artificial intelligence, smart technologies, data-driven decision making and data analytics) recognize, understand and serve people with disabilities by creating innovative machine learning strategies and addressing data gaps. Project We Count will increase knowledge, establish skills, develop inclusive data tools and create a forum whereby the Canadian disability community can help shape the rapidly evolving data economy in more inclusive directions. The Postdoctoral Fellow will also have the opportunity to contribute to other Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) projects such as Coding to Learn and Create and the Platform Cooperative Development Kit project.

OCAD University’s promotion of interdisciplinary research methodologies and conceptual orientations, along with the Inclusive Design Research Centre’s participatory, community-based applied research practices renders it an ideal intellectual environment to support postdoctoral research.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will participate in the IDRC’s research projects and its community of practice, reporting to Dr. Jutta Treviranus (Professor and Director of the IDRC) with support from Colin Clark, the Associate Director of the IDRC. Bringing practice-based experience of software development, the Postdoctoral Fellow will also have a theoretical/conceptual understanding of inclusive modes of design and human-computer interaction.

Summary of Responsibilities:

  • Lead the development of Project We Count’s Nexus data inclusion sub-project
  • Provide knowledge of ways to co-design, implement, and evaluate technologies from the perspective of open authorship and democratic participation in creation-use feedback cycles
  • Present results at academic conferences, prepare and publish peer-reviewed articles, and participate in the preparation of grant application packages


  • PhD degree in Design or Human Computer Interaction, obtained within the last five (5) years
  • A solid theoretical, conceptual, and practical understanding and experience developing inclusive and openly authorable software systems.
  • Research skills that draw from the multiple perspectives, including both theoretical (e.g. HCI-based) and practice-based methods
  • Ability to work collaboratively using community-engaged, participatory methods
  • Ability or potential to teach at the post-secondary level and show an aptitude for innovative curriculum development and delivery
  • Proven ability to multi-task in a deadline-oriented environment with minimal supervision 
  • Effective oral and written communication, analytical, and interpersonal skills 
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to learn new skills quickly
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and participate collaboratively in a team environment
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated commitment to the principles of equity and diversity, and experience promoting a respectful work and learning environment for students, staff and faculty

About the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC):

The mission of the IDRC is to proactively ensure that emerging sociotechnical systems, practices and policies are designed to include the full range of human diversity. Over the past 25 years, the Inclusive Design Research Centre has pioneered an innovative set of community-based inclusive design and development practices that engage the full range of stakeholders throughout the process as co- designers. The IDRC has also created tools and network systems that bring together disparate stakeholder groups, such as the very active inclusive design community list. These collaboration mechanisms include individuals who experience disabilities but are not represented by existing stakeholder groups. In all IDRC projects, people experiencing disabilities (as individuals or organizations and members of the team) identify barriers, prioritize barriers to be addressed, co-design approaches, evaluate approaches, refine designs and help to disseminate results. These efforts have been recognized by awards from established disability organizations such as the CNIB, which dubbed the IDRC as a “national treasure” in its award ceremony.

Throughout its 25-year history, IDRC has advocated for inclusion in international standards, such as ISO, W3C, AODA, and consulted governments at provincial and federal level on accessibility and inclusion policies and guidelines.

IDRC has carried out over 70 projects that improve the accessibility of technology as well as the use of technology to support accessibility. Some of the recent projects at IDRC include: Project We Count, Coding to Learn and Create, the Platform Cooperative Development Kit, the Social Justice Repair Kit, and Flexible Learning for Open Education (FLOE). A complete list of IDRC projects can be found at https://idrc.ocadu.ca/research-and-development. Many of these projects have been carried out through community-based practices and direct collaboration with Canada’s disability community.

For more information, please visit https://idrc.ocadu.ca or contact Dr. Jutta Treviranus.

Hours of Work:  Full-time; Grant funded, Monday to Friday for a total of 35 hours per week. The expected duration of this contract is 12 months, subject to funding, beginning March 2020 or when post is filled.

Compensation: $55,000.00 per annum with access to benefits


Application Deadline: The position will remain open until filled (review of applications will commence on receipt).

Interested should provide a one page covering letter indicating their research interests and highlighting their strengths, an academic C.V., and three references by selecting "Apply Now" below.


As an institution committed to art, design, digital media and related scholarship, OCAD University recognizes the profound and essential value that diversity brings to the creation, reception and circulation of creative practices and discourse.  OCAD University understands that valuing diverse creative practices and forms of knowledge are essential to and enrich the institution’s core mission and vision as an art and design university with a local and global scope.

As an employer committed to employment equity, we encourage applications from members of equity-seeking communities including women, racialized and Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions.

We encourage members of designated equity-seeking groups to self-identify within the voluntary Applicant Questionnaire.

 OCAD University is committed to providing an inclusive and barrier free experience to applicants with accessibility needs. Requests for accommodation can be made at any stage during the recruitment process. Please contact Human Resources for more information or refer to OCAD U’s Policy of Accommodation in Employment for Persons with Disabilities.

All qualified persons are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. While we thank all candidates for their interest, only those short-listed will be contacted.

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