Call for Application: PhD Student (1st/2nd year) 

Senior Researcher at Children First Canada’s Research Knowledge hub 


Over the past decade, Canada has fallen from 10th to 30th place among 38 affluent countries for childhood well-being, yet there remains a persistent myth that Canada is one of the best places in the world to raise a child (Children First Canada, 2021). Children and youth flourish in environments that are predictable, safe, and structured. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted these protective factors and exacerbated risk factors and kids’ rights and development are not being adequately prioritized in budgetary allocation at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels (Children First Canada, 2021). 


The University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work and Children First Canada (CFC) invites applications for a PhD Researcher for a 2-year commitment (24months) at Children First Canada’s Research Knowledge hub. CFC is a national charitable organization with a bold and ambitious vision that together we can make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up. We are a strong, effective, and independent voice for all 8 million children in Canada. CFC is harnessing the strength of many stakeholders that are committed to improving the lives of children in Canada, including children’s charities and hospitals, research centers, government, corporations, community leaders, and children themselves. Visit for more information. 


The key objectives of this Research Knowledge Hub are the following: 


  • To explore and better understand the present threats facing children and youth in Canada and to understand the impact of the pandemic on children and youth in Canada. This exploration includes a review of the impacts on equity seeking groups in Canada and across different Territories and Provinces.   
  • To craft effective recommendations that promote greater equity for all children in Canada. These include recommendations for policy change, further research and programmatic recommendations. 
  • Unpack the recommendations for further research, programs and policy change and assess the return on investment (ROI) and conduct Cost benefit analyses (CBA) of the recommendations proposed.  
  • Disseminate the findings from the research, through academic publications, writing of Children First’s flagship report, The Raising Canada report, organization, and delivery of a workshop/conference and through some advocacy. There will also be opportunities for some interviews to showcase your research and findings and build your credibility in this field of study. 


The ideal candidate: 

  • Has experience in child health, child welfare and children’s wellbeing  
  • Comes from a multidisciplinary (Social Work/Community, Health, Public Policy) background or have interests in different disciplines, 
  • Is proficient in qualitative or quantitative research. Experience and proficiency in qualitative and quantitative research would be considered an asset.  
  • Is familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action 
  • Has experience in coordinating research projects and in project management 
  • Has experience in planning events and conferences  
  • Is a self-starter and enjoys research  


The PhD researcher will report to the Principal Investigator (PI) and the Research Manager and will work collaboratively and closely with a team of researchers from different disciplines. This position requires the ability to work flexible hours, such as days, occasional evenings, and weekends to accommodate research activities and research dissemination activities. It is a remote position but will require occasional in-person meetings in Calgary if Covid-19 restrictions permits.  


Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to): 

  • Develop research and project plans  
  • Provide research support to MSW students and coordinate their research activities  
  • Conduct (collect and analyse) qualitative research – includes interviews and focus groups 
  • Conduct (collect and analyse) quantitative majority – primary or secondary data 
  • Conducting meta-analysis, literature reviews, comparative analysis 
  • Managing database 
  • Conduct participatory research methodologies, data analysis, and writing reports 
  • Co-write papers and contribute to other research dissemination efforts.  
  • Plan and execute events and conferences  
  • Support the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Director of Research and Programs in the development of funding proposals pertinent to the key aims of CFC’s Research Knowledge Hub.  


Qualifications / Requirements: 


  • Minimum Master’s Degree and is enrolled in a PhD degree in Social Work, Community Development, Public Policy, Health Policy, or a related field. 
  • Minimum 3-year experience with qualitative and/or quantitative research. Experience in both is considered an asset 
  • Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing 
  • High degree of computer literacy (e.g., Knowledge of Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, SPSS, and online research databases) 
  • Intermediate level of expertise with Excel 
  • Excellent project management skills  
  • Excellent leadership and people management skills  
  • Excellent organizational skills; attention to detail 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to work in a team environment with research participants and research team 
  • Strong ability to communicate and interact with participants, as well as community organizations in a friendly, respectful, and timely manner 



  • Knowledge of child development and children human rights 
  • Strong record of publications 
  • Knowledge and skills of comparing and contrasting Stats Canada 
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking skills 
  • Ability to follow specific directions and research designs 
  • Ability to work collaboratively with graduate students, research participants and PIs 
  • Self-starter  





Application Deadline: October 15, 2022

We will be interviewing candidates on a rolling basis so do apply ASAP. 


Please send your Cover Letter and CV to: 


Cicely McWilliam, Interim, Director of Research and Operations at Children First Canada  





Monica Sesma Vazquez, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary  



We will be interviewing candidates on a rolling basis so do apply ASAP. 


We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue through the selection process will be contacted.