Postdoctoral Fellowship – TRUSTSPHERE – Ethics/Digital Health

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Job Type:
  • Postdoctoral
Degree Level Required:
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Postdoctoral Fellowship – TRUSTSPHERE – Ethics/Digital Health

The BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHR) is seeking a full-time postdoctoral fellow, for an appointment of 2 years, to take a significant role within a new TRUSTSPHERE project.

The TRUSTSPHERE project at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH), will develop and validate an integrated digital trust platform that will simplify research participation and data collection in a way that will transform patient care and health research. This digital trust platform will contribute a multi-disciplinary framework to help better understand Type 1 diabetes and patient care, while also providing health researchers a digital toolset with comprehensive data integration, where patient and families have the agency to donate data and participate in research.

We are looking for a highly motivated, self-driven, and engaged candidate with: experience and interest in substantive and procedural ethics, and a demonstrated understanding of effective strategies to assess real world ethics processes, to provide designs for the optimal streamlining of these processes using digital health technology, and their subsequent evaluation. Privacy, security and ethical implications of the solution’s features, functions and prototypes will be assessed through active participation in surveying of patients and their families, alongside rigorous analysis (applying standard methodologies from e.g. usability engineering and/or health informatics fields) in a clinical setting. The position is available to a PhD trained individual with a desire to embrace the complexity of ethics in clinical research and to help build technology-based solutions to empower patients and their families, improve the safety and quality of care, as well as enabling research. The successful candidate will need to demonstrate a relevant background and ability to quickly ‘skill up’ in ethics research and digital health, with a keen interest in advanced ethical consent model design, implementation and evaluation, and be able to function in a multidisciplinary team with clinicians, patients, academic researchers, and industry partners.

Organizational status TRUSTSPHERE is a collaboration between the University of British Columbia Departments of Pediatrics; Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Electrical and Medical Genetics and an Industry consortium. The Principal Investigator is Dr Shazhan Amed, who is based on the BC Children’s Hospital campus. The Fellow will receive supervision and guidance from lead supervisor Dr. Alice Virani and co-supervisor Dr. Holly Longstaff, and will have the unique opportunity to build skills sets in foundational ethics, as well as in digital health innovation and technology while working with IDENTOS.


Primary activities will include • Collecting, researching, investigating and evaluating substantive and procedural ethical requirements for software design and applications in collaboration with the technical team and software developers • Planning and writing the user requirements for software design prototype development • Developing an ethical framework for research consenting • Developing an ethical framework for data donorship • Public/ patient engagement (via surveys, world cafes, focus groups and other engagement mechanisms) to gain input and feedback on consent model and materials developed, including iteration based on feedback. • Participating in configuring and iterating product development • Evaluating of the use and usability of the applications developed, and creating an evaluation report • Publishing evaluation findings of the ethical frameworks developed during the project.

In addition, the Postdoctoral Fellow will be involved in • Interpreting data and qualitative feedback from public/ patient engagement activities • Determining information architecture and create sitemaps • Carrying out an assessment of existing information architecture and identify areas for improvement, including content inventories and audits • Conducting usability testing • Working with the User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) partners and the design team to identify users’ needs and understand how users consume and navigate content • Planning and designing the information architecture for the website or app • Labelling of information • Completing Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) activities


The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate evidence of: • Strong UI/UX development skills, including wireframe design, presenting ethics/consent information, structure and layout, as well as the design of the overall direction of the user interface • Applications of ethical problem solving, including strategies to overcome real-world problems, in healthcare, digital health applications would be desirable. • Communication skills with a background in patient/ public engagement • A doctorate degree in a relevant discipline, e.g., Ethics, Health Informatics, Human factors engineering, or related fields. • A strong publication record and excellent technical communication and interpersonal skills; knowledge of research processes, including the conduct of case/feasibility/proof-of-concept studies; detail-oriented as well as high-level conceptual, analytical, and critical appraisal skills. • Able to work independently, and solve methodological and technical problems that arise during the course of the research; be comfortable with change, and be adaptable as the project evolves; able to thrive in a collaborative team environment and work effectively with research personnel, clinicians, patients, and industry partners. • Personal motivation and self-management; able to take responsibility for meeting deadlines within timelines that are partially dictated by industry partners and clinicians; must exhibit a high level of professionalism, judgement, ethical conduct, discretion and diplomacy.

  • How to Apply

    Apply by email to Alice Virani (, sending a curriculum vitae with all relevant employment and academic experience; 1-2 writing samples (publications) or a thesis chapter; names of three references; and a cover letter, noting research experience and interest in the position. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Additional Information

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the BC Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. Funding This fellowship is supported by MITACS and IDENTOS, and the selected candidate will receive CAD $50,000.00/year plus benefits.

Further Information