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Postdoctoral Researcher/Funded Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Researcher/Funded Research Fellow

Company: Wycliffe College
Contact Person: Karen Baker
5 Hoskin Avenue
Toronto, Ontario , M5S1H7
Phone: 416-946-3521

Position Description

EMERGENCY POSTING: Postdoctoral Researcher/Funded Research Fellow 
Canadian Institute for Empirical Church Research (CIECR) 
Wycliffe College, University of Toronto 
Bending the Curve: How churches move from “Good to Great” 
Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for one, six-month, full-time, qualitative focused Postdoctoral or Research Fellow position at the Canadian Institute for Empirical Church Research (Wycliffe College, University of Toronto). This funded position is sponsored by the Lilly Foundation as part of their Pathways for Tomorrow Phase 2 grants and ideally begins at the end of June 2024. 
CIECR seeks to expand, link, and amplify a rich history of Canadian church research that is sometimes limited by scarce human, institutional, and technological resources. Sam Reimer explains in his 2023 monograph, Caught in the Current, that Canadian churches are situated within a complex cultural mélange of local, national, and international influences. As a centrepiece of its work, CIECR has developed a comprehensive data model that highlights many of these cultural markers. Our digital repository includes three decades of reconciled data collected by the Canadian Revenue Agency from nearly 85,000 charities. This collection has been linked to University of Toronto’s expansive and enriched Canadian census and economic databases, along with other datasets provided by denominations and independent researchers. The institute will not only share this vast reservoir of data with academics and church leaders, but it will provide access to analytical tools, including AI supported processing and dynamic visualization, that will augment traditional church research and foster informed decision-making in church leadership. The selected fellow will participate in supporting the Canadian church and CIECR by helming the ongoing study Bending the Curve: How churches move from “Good to Great. Duties include conducting and coding interviews with church leaders and congregants on the topic of “great” churches. It asks what, in a period of overall decline, sets apart a church that is experiencing mild and, even better, significant growth? The fellow will investigate Canadian churches who are positive outliers and the conditions and choices that contribute to their success. Overseeing research fellows will receive ongoing support from CIECR staff and resources.  

Job Description: 

The successful candidate will: 

  • Expand their expertise in key aspects of church work in Canada and mixed method empirical research. 
  • Collect and assess meaningful qualitative (and possibly quantitative) data related to this project. 
  • Draw from project-pertinent facets of CIECR’s data repository. 
  • Enhance and showcase their digital, networking and dissemination skills. 
  • Demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and collaborative working practices.  
  • Author/co-author research outputs for peer-reviewed and public-facing publications.  
  • Present their findings to scholars and church leaders (i.e. educated non-experts). 


  • Implement the ethics-approved empirical plan for this project (80% of their time; ideally this is a full-time position, but alternative arrangements may be considered). 
  • Conduct, code, and analyze interview data.
  • According to skillset, support other CIECR projects and disseminations (20% of their time). 
  • Meet bi-weekly with the director or associate director and bi-weekly with the entire team. 
  • Produce regular, in-house, and public-facing updates about their research journey and discoveries. 
  • Produce written and oral reports, in versions suitable for academic publication, church leaders, and congregants; includes a final publication of the study upon completion. 
  • Serve as ambassadors for CIECR at conferences, symposia, etc. 

Qualifications/Skills required:

Essential Requirements:

  • Doctoral level degree (or in final phases of their degree). 
  • Meaningful experience conducting qualitative research. 
  • Research-led publication outputs (or immediate plans for publication).  
  • Significant knowledge of/experience working with church or parachurch ministries. 
  • Strong interpersonal capacity, collaborative working ethos, and the ability to develop new skills as needed. 
  • Passion for the well-being of the Canadian church and its mission.  

Desirable Requirements:

  • Communication and marketing experience, especially digital skills.  
  • Strong academic writing skills. 
  • Ability to communicate successfully with trained and untrained audiences. 
  • Theological or ecumenical fluency. 
  • Close enough proximity to Wycliffe to meet semi-regularly (in-person) with the team. 

Salary: 22,500 over six months + benefits, pro-rated for shorter and/or part-time contracts. 
Start date: Position to commence as soon as possible (ideally to start July 3, 2024). 
To Apply:  Applications should include a cover letter (include why this project interests you, your ‘fit’ for the project and with CIECR more broadly, and your anticipated availability), CV, and the contact details of three referees. Please e-mail these documents to Dr Scott Mealey ( 
Please include Application for CIECR Postdoc/Fellow in the subject line of the email application. Additional inquiries concerning the post may be made to
Interested parties should submit their application as soon as feasible and interviews will be conducted with suitable candidates soon after submission. 
We reserve the right to re-advertise or extend the closing date for this post.  
Wycliffe College is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. For further information about Wycliffe College ( 

Posted: June 18, 2024 | Expires: July 26, 2024
Posted Under: Education
Career ID: [ 15534 ]