Research Assistant - Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (BEKH)
Competition 648

Department Faculty of Arts - Political Science Dept
Hourly rate 15.62
Hours per week 12
Posted date November 21, 2023
Closing date Will remain open until filled.
Position Type Part Time - Trust Funded


This position is a part of the Non-Academic Staff Association (NASA).

This competition will be used to hire 6 Research Assistants (RAs) who will operate in the 6 regional hubs as required by this projects funding.

These part time positions have an end date of 4 months from the date of hire.


Candidates should include which of the 6 BEKH Hub locations they are applying for when submitting their application. The locations include Carleton University, Concordia University, University of Alberta, Saint Mary’s University, the University of Northern British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University. The candidate must be able to facilitate occasional in person focus groups at the location they are applying for.

Working for the University of Alberta

The University of Alberta acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community.

The University of Alberta is teeming with change makers, community builders, and world shapers who lead with purpose each and every day. We are home to more than 40,000 students in 200+ undergraduate and 500+ graduate programs, over 13,000 faculty and staff, 260,000 alumni worldwide and have been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for over a decade.

Your work will have a meaningful influence on a fascinating cross section of people—from our students and stakeholders, to our renowned researchers and innovators who are quite literally curing diseases, making discoveries and generating solutions that make the world healthier, safer, stronger, and more just.

Working for the Department of Political Science

The Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta is one of Canada’s leading departments, on the cutting-edge of the discipline, with outstanding faculty whose research traverses traditional fields and engages diverse interdisciplinary methods and ideas. We are proud of our commitment to excellence in teaching and mentoring, from students in our BA, through our Honours program, to our three MA programs, our PhD, and our Postdoctoral Fellows. A lively department, we are always asking how our research connects with topical issues and with the communities of which we are a part. 

The Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is a Canada-wide network of scholars and community partners assembled to study issues affecting Black entrepreneurs, develop practical intervention strategies and policy recommendations, and work with government on implementation. The Central Regional Hub of the Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, located at the University of Alberta, aims to build a network of scholars and community partners who will work collaboratively to: (i) advance the interests of Black entrepreneurs; (ii) promote engagement among research scholars and community partners in our network to better understand the entrepreneurship experiences of Black Canadian entrepreneurs; (iii) conduct research on experiences meaningful to community partners; (iv) develop strategies for knowledge translation and implementation in the community through iteration; and (v) reinvest funding directly in the Black entrepreneurship community through scholarship and creation of pilot programs developed based on research evidence and data.

Position Summary

Research BackgroundThe proposed qualitative study is designed to generate a more comprehensive understanding of Black entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Canada through the creation of evidence-based personas. It aims to mobilize this knowledge within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and to train the next generation of Black social scientists. The study entails the development of a detailed map of Black business ecosystems across Canada and the identification of critical gaps where Black entrepreneurs face significant challenges. This research will be made publicly accessible and will benefit the Black entrepreneurship ecosystem in Canada. The study employs a “Persona Methodology,” utilizing fictional characters to embody the core traits, behaviours, attitudes, and worldviews of a particular group of people. This approach allows for a “thick description” and a more accessible understanding of the community, rather than relying solely on quantitative analysis.

This National Qualitative Study will be conducted in six regional “knowledge hubs” led by the University of Alberta. The knowledge hubs are located at Carleton University, Concordia University, University of Alberta, Saint Mary’s University, the University of Northern British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University. There will be a Lead Facilitator and Research Assistants at each hub that will work collaboratively with the projects’ lead and principal investigator at the University of Alberta. The study will involve a series of at least six (6) focus groups in all six (6) regional hubs across Canada. The core activity in these workshops involve participants drawing a Black entrepreneur to uncover assumptions about what it means to be Black in the entrepreneurship space in Canada. This empathy mapping is then followed by a series of exercises that have participants view the world through the lens of a typical Black entrepreneur.

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to generate in-depth knowledge about the experiences, challenges, and opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in Canada. Additionally, the study aims to provide valuable evidence-based insights into the state of Black entrepreneurs in Canada, shedding light on critical gaps and identifying areas in need of support. Through this research process, the study will also serve to train and equip the next generation of Black social scientists with valuable research skills and experience.


The Research Assistant (RA) will assist in the transcription and coding of focus group data to extract key themes and insights. They will also support the facilitation of a "what we heard" virtual symposium. They will work with the Lead Facilitator and Project Lead to contribute to the development and execution of recruitment strategies, assist in leading persona-based workshops, maintain lists of community agency representatives, handle virtual meeting management, and help develop content for a project website. They will aid in ensuring compliance with the ethical guidelines of the University of Alberta related to the project, particularly in terms of informed consent and research risk communication to study participants. 

Minimum Qualifications

The Research Assistants should have following competencies:

  • Must be available to attend an in-person training workshop at the University of Alberta from January 2nd to January 5th, 2024.
  • Must be able to attend and assist in person workshops for the Hub location that they are applying to be stationed at.
  • Ability to take detailed notes from group conversations and share core findings with the team.
  • Candidate must possess strong, active listening skills.
  • Assist in setting up virtual meetings and workshops in respective hubs.
  • Comfortable participating in group meetings and training processes.
  • Written and spoken fluency in English is essential. Fluency in French is required for the Quebec Hub only.

Preferred Qualifications

  • In alignment with the Training and Mentoring objectives of this initiative, the successful candidates will ideally be undergraduate students.
  • Written and spoken fluency in French is considered an asset.
  • Previous experience as a Research Assistant is a considerable asset.

Candidates must include which of the 6 BEKH Hub locations they are applying for when submitting their application. The locations include the Ontario Regional Hub (Carleton University), Quebec Regional Hub (Concordia University), Central Regional Hub (University of Alberta), East Regional Hub (Saint Mary’s University), Northern Regional Hub (University of Northern British Columbia), and the West Regional Hub (Simon Fraser University). The candidates must be able to attend occasional in person focus groups at the location they are applying for.

This Qualitative Study is designed to generate a more fulsome understanding of Black entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Canada. We welcome applications from all qualified persons; however, given the unique challenges and experiences that Black entrepreneurs face in our society, we highly encourage inquiries and applications from qualified members of the Black community.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those individuals selected for an interview will be contacted.

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.