Applied Research Internship: Digital Designer (UX/UI, Data, Web Design, Process)

Friday, April 8, 2022

WISIR logoCanadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) logoMitacs logo


University of Waterloo - Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) and the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet)

Location: Remote (Waterloo, ON)

Expected start date: May 2022

Note: Applicants must be currently enrolled in or have recently graduated (within 24 months) from a University or College program to be eligible.

Keywords: Design Thinking, Digital Design, User Experience, User Interface, UX/UI, Prototyping, Human Centered Design, Systemic Design, Data Analytics, Web Design, Resilience

For current students or recent graduates who have an interest in combining a deep understanding of design approaches in the digital space with a real-world high impact project, The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) and the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet) have an outstanding opportunity. This entry-level to intermediate position will combine design-led approaches, problem solving and digital design skills to connect dozens of organizations across Canada in the Canadian social finance ecosystem.

WISIR is seeking a recent University graduate or current graduate student for a one-year Mitacs Accelerate funded contract in an interdisciplinary, community-integrated research team. Our project explores evaluation, system mapping, and peer-learning within the Canadian social finance ecosystem, with a goal of ensuring access and inclusivity for diverse Canadians and increasing the system’s impact and resilience. The accepted candidate will develop digital assets via design methodologies in coordination with WISIR and dozens of private, public and non-profit organizations across the country who are part of the Canadian Social Finance Fund’s Investment Readiness Program (IRP).

Social financing involves investments which seek measurable social and environmental outcomes alongside financial returns. The primary objective of WISIR’s participatory action research project is to facilitate the emergence of stronger self-governance within the Canadian social finance sector that ultimately leads to more social financing investments with greater social and environmental impact. This position will be supporting a research team and working directly with a post-doctoral researcher in primary and secondary data integration, planning, design, and analysis; web platform data planning, design and management; and systems conceptualization, design and mapping. Much of the project design is still to be scoped with CCEDNet and other key IRP partners, however we’re seeking a recent graduate with the following qualities. (Please note, there is some flexibility in all requirements for a strong candidate, and some requirements may change as the project develops).  

Key Duties

Assist a research team in building an ecosystem map of dozens of organizations across Canada, including:

  • Stakeholder engagement, data collection and refinement (10%),
  • Leading digital product prototyping processes via small team meetings, stakeholder management (20%)
  • Refining prototypes through UX/UI, inclusive and accessibility design considerations and processes (20%)
  • Digital asset development and deployment, such as ecosystem maps and websites (30%)
  • Administrative and research support, learning opportunities (20%)

Education Requirements

  • Current student or recent (24 months) graduate in a University or College level program (non-negotiable). Please list  your graduation date or student status clearly.
  • Preferred Programs (non-exhaustive): UX/UI, Strategic Foresight and Innovation (OCAD), Web Design, Human-Centered Design, Inclusive Design, Digital Futures, Systems Design Engineering, Interaction Design and Business, Digital Experience Innovation, Design Strategy, Data Analytics, MLIS, MBA and more.
  • Graduate students, post-graduate (college certificate) and other advanced programs are preferred, but all are welcome to apply, particularly with relevant experience.

Skills and Experience Requirements

The ideal candidate will have proven experience with 50% or more of the following:

  • 2-3 years’ experience in digital design and development, including portfolio projects, client work, and relevant classes. 
  • Entry-level experience or a proven interest in network mapping, systems mapping, gigamapping, systems thinking and related modeling, qualitative network analysis, social network mapping or a similar practice.  
  • Proven experience working with a significant data set and/or innovation research methods like surveys, interviews, ethnography, sensemaking or similar. 
  • Proven experience with project and persona discovery and research, including stakeholder interviews, UX/UI methods such as user journey mapping. 
  • Proven experience with Mockups or Prototyping, ideally Figma, Balsamiq, Adobe XD, Sketch or similar. An ideal candidate would have both experience in using the tools and a wide understanding of Prototyping as a method. 
  • 1-3 years’ experience with HTML and CSS including portfolio projects, client work, and relevant classes. Alternatively, substitutable experience with CMS (WordPress), low-code or no-code tools (Bubble, Webflow, etc.), or knowledge of Javascript, React, Python or relevant digital product work.  

The ideal candidate will additionally have some (entry-level) familiarity with:

  • Academic research from a variety of disciplines and/or working in a variety of different contexts, fields, sectors, communities, etc.
  • Community-based, participatory research with a high degree of complexity and emergence.
  • Working independently in a remote setting.
  • Working on a project with rapidly and frequently changing goals and priorities that develop as the project advances.
  • Working independently as well as on a team in different time zones with some variability in schedules.

Remuneration and Benefits

  • Fully remote setting.
  • Salary – $30,000 base, subject to increase depending on experience & funding.
  • Training and education budget, including budgeted learning hours.
  • 30-40 hours/week.
  • Flexible schedule.
  • Ability to connect with dozens of economic development, social finance and other organizations across Canada.
  • Additional support negotiable.
  • Academic publishing opportunities.

The University of Waterloo’s Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-racism is committed to work with students, faculty and staff across campus to advance equity through evidence-based policies, practices and program. In accordance with University policies for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion, WISIR encourages applications from all qualified individuals regardless of race, cultural background, ethnic origin, religion, age, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability or disability, including candidates who have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, such as those who identify as First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit/Inuk, Black, racialized, a person with a disability, women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.

Interested candidates are invited to submit a statement of interest and a current CV to  Cover letters, and questions about this opportunity, can be addressed to Dr. Sean Geobey, Co-Director at WISIR at Please use the subject header “WISIR 2022 DEVELOPER INQUIRY” for applications and questions. Applications will be accepted until April 17, 2022.

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