Posted On: December 7, 2023

Closing On: January 9, 2024

Location: Waterloo, ON Employment Type: fulltime Level: management

Salary Range: $250,000 – $300,000


File: Download


The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will lead Perimeter’s advancement effort in the strategic development and execution of Perimeter’s ambitious advancement mandate. This position will report to the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer and will be responsible for developing, leading and implementing bespoke, ambitious, sustainable, long-term private funding strategies with the goal of diversifying the Perimeter donor base, and building ongoing donor engagement and commitment to the Institute.

In addition to an external focus with donors and prospective funders, the Chief Advancement Officer will act as a trusted advisor and partner to the Board, Perimeter’s Director, and the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, deepening internal coordination and capacity to deliver at the highest levels. The CAO will have a direct impact on Perimeter and ultimately on Canada’s ability to advance diversity in the sciences and bring together the world’s most brilliant minds to achieve scientific breakthroughs that will change the world.


Founded in 1999, Perimeter Institute began as a bold idea to strategically invest in foundational physics, which is at the root of new technologies and new scientific knowledge. The vision was radical, yet simple: build an environment to foster breakthroughs that will transform our future, while sharing the power of science with the world.

Perimeter Institute has quickly become a major international success story: an innovative, world-leading centre of research, training, and outreach in one of the lowest-cost, highest-impact areas of science − fundamental physics. Through visionary public and private support, sustained focus, and careful strategy, Perimeter Institute is now ranked among the top theoretical physics institutes in the world.

Perimeter Institute attracts an exceptional and diverse community of resident and visiting scientists from around the globe. Driven by curiosity, they forge new ideas about space, time, matter, and the ultimate nature of our universe, seeking to unlock its most profound secrets.

Perimeter Institute aims to set a global example in its research, training, and outreach excellence and foster an environment and culture unlike any other, providing fertile ground for cutting-edge research and breakthrough discoveries.

Perimeter is not a place for “business as usual” – they have a burning desire to discover, to recognize clearly when conventional approaches are failing, and to open and explore promising new avenues. They constantly challenge themselves to be agile, entrepreneurial, and interdisciplinary, and to look beyond narrow, overspecialized concerns towards the big picture. Over 160 resident researchers and more than 1,000 visiting scientists a year work to unlock nature’s most profound secrets hidden deep inside the atom and far across the universe. At Perimeter Institute, bold ideas flourish. It’s a culture that thrives on collaboration, bringing together great minds to achieve breakthroughs that will transform our future.



 Achieving Perimeter Institute’s mission requires the members of its community to create a culture of curiosity, collaboration, and innovation, with the courage to tackle exceptionally difficult challenges. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), which includes accessibility, are integral to creating and sustaining such a culture.  Yet imbalances persist, both in physics generally and here at Perimeter. Diversity declines along the academic career path in many STEM fields; the decline is especially pronounced in physics.

Through Perimeter Institute’s inaugural Strategic EDI Plan, we affirm our commitment to the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Building on the solid foundations we have already established, the Plan sets out tangible strategic objectives, core EDI activities, and specific measures to gauge our progress.

At Perimeter Institute, we aim to empower a community in which everyone can contribute fully to our work and culture, to our scientific advances, and to the future of physics by making EDI a shared commitment and responsibility.

Overarching EDI Goals

  • Build a culture where everyone can contribute fully to Perimeter Institute’s mission.
  • Promote shared responsibility for EDI across the whole Perimeter Institute community.
  • Support the development of a diverse pipeline of future physicists.
  • Set an example that inspires change within the broader physics community.

By making these goals a priority, Perimeter will be able to attract and retain outstanding researchers, students, and staff from a wide range of backgrounds. In this effort, as in our research, we aim to be a leader and to inspire change in the wider international physics community.

For more information visit: Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.


Perimeter is supported through a public-private partnership – which unites federal and provincial governments, individuals, corporations, and foundations in a shared venture to enable scientific breakthroughs, nurture scientific talent, and share scientific discovery with the broader public.

The impact of philanthropy at Perimeter is valued and appreciated by the internal and external community alike. An ever-growing group of public and private supporters has helped make Perimeter Institute what it is today: an independent, world-leading centre for fundamental research, scientific training, and educational outreach.

The Advancement team of fundraising professionals plays a vital role in supporting Perimeter by promoting its research agenda to visionary donors who want to support transformative global research. The department’s approach is that of a bespoke boutique, focusing on customized interactions with a select group of prospective donors to form deep, long-lasting relationships, in order to secure ongoing significant philanthropic support.

Our philanthropic priority is to bring the world’s brightest minds to Perimeter and fast-track promising new areas of discovery.  We need to be bolder in our efforts to attract and retain top talent. To help, our founding donor has committed $30M in matching funds for senior and early-career Chairs and key initiatives. Ongoing philanthropic priorities include EDI initiatives and our award-winning educational outreach programs.

In 2022, Perimeter Institute celebrated the most successful fundraising year in its history, with over $26M in new donations and pledges.


The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) will possess a unique set of skills that include expertise in fundraising, communication, and leadership. The ideal candidate will bring the intellect, energy, curiosity and passion needed to create and lead Perimeter’s engagement and advancement functions. The new incumbent will play a key role in the senior leadership of Perimeter and will lend their institutional experience and knowledge of Advancement practices to a collaborative and hands-on team.

With a strong track record in closing transformational-level philanthropic support, the successful candidate will be an advancement expert who has held progressively senior leadership roles within complex multi-stakeholder environments. Known for taking organizations to new levels and leading change and innovation, the CAO will bring experience with comprehensive campaigns, major and transformational gifts and legacy giving, along with a demonstrated record of success growing a donor base and the geographic footprint of donors.

An exceptional and persuasive communicator, the CAO will be able to engage meaningfully across Perimeter’s wide network of volunteers and external partners and will develop a reputation as a trusted partner and collaborator. The new incumbent must model inclusive, empathetic, and authentic leadership through which they will inspire a team of committed professionals to be bold and visionary. The CAO will support the advancement team, colleagues, and volunteers through the sharing of knowledge, experience, guidance, and ideas.

The ideal candidate will be a champion of equity, diversity, and inclusion and passionate about developing and supporting healthy and safe workplaces. Most critically, all candidates will share in Perimeter’s mission and vision to advance our understanding of the universe at the most fundamental level, stimulating the breakthroughs that will transform our future.


The Chief Advancement Officer is the Senior Executive responsible for the Institute’s full range of advancement functions, including but not limited to:

  • Working collaboratively with the Senior Leadership Team, Leadership Council and Board of Directors to lead the creation and implementation of our advancement strategy.
  • Working with stakeholders, partners, volunteers, donors and staff to set, meet, and exceed ambitious fundraising goals.
  • Serving as a key ambassador and spokesperson for the organization in articulating our mission to key stakeholders and donors.
  • Continue to build the Institute’s reputation across Canada and internationally.
  • Developing and implementing strategies and tactics to reinforce the engagement with new and existing donors.
  • Working with the COO to ensure board members are engaged and energized by their association with the organization and understand the advancement strategy.
  • Continue to grow the Institute’s senior volunteer structure (Leadership Council) and participate in the identification, recruitment, training and ongoing relationship management of the volunteers.
  • Strengthening the culture of philanthropy across the organization and continuing to evolve our advancement strategy.
  • Owning responsibility for continuing to build on existing lean, targeted and collegial advancement functions, providing leadership throughout the organization.
  • Attracting, leading, retaining, and inspiring a team of highly dedicated, creative professionals.
  • Working proactively, openly and productively with members of the senior leadership team.


  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, with a demonstrated ability to build and nurture relationships.
  • A proven track record of transforming high-level institutional priorities into efficient day-to-day objectives.
  • Reputation and experience working within a collaborative senior management team.
  • Prior success and experience managing and progressing multiple, and sometimes competing priorities within a complex institutional environment.
  • Direct experience as a sophisticated and diplomatic lead contact for donors and volunteers.
  • A strong track record of raising funds from varied sources, including major and transformational-level donations at the 7- and 8-figure level.
  • Extensive leadership experience building motivated collaborative teams, developing governance structures, engaging with Board and key stakeholders, and recruiting top talent.


  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in developing and delivering strategic, high-quality, institutional leadership, including being part of an institutional leadership team, and experience leading and coaching a team of advancement professionals.
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience leading successful major campaigns and fundraising programs, including major and transformational giving.
  • A Bachelor’s degree at minimum, or equivalent related work experience plus ongoing professional development that supports and underpins strategic capacity, communication expertise, and advancement knowledge.
  • While a degree in Science (especially Physics) would be an asset, it is not required for this role. However, candidates must demonstrate their passion for and interest in science, and how science advances society.


Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is located at 31 Caroline St North, in the heart of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, approximately one hour southwest of Toronto. The centre is steps away from Waterloo Park and Uptown Waterloo’s plentiful restaurants, shops and cafés, as well as a 10-minute walk from the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.

  • Staff are currently working within a hybrid model.
  • This position has an expectation to be in the office on average three days per week, and/or as required by project responsibilities, with flexibility depending on travel schedule.
    • Travel and off-site interactions are estimated to be 50% of the time, including regional, national, and international travel to meet with donors, partners, and volunteers.
  • Travel to see donors is also required. While this will be primarily in the Greater Toronto Area and across Ontario to start, the Chief Advancement Officer will also be building relationships with donors across Canada and internationally.
  • A valid driver’s license and access to a reliable vehicle is necessary.
  • A valid Passport is also required for this role.


Perimeter Institute is working with KCI Search + Talent to recruit candidates for this important position. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, Search + Talent by email at:

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit: Interested candidates are invited to submit their resume and letter of interest prior to January 9, 2024, to the email address listed above. All inquiries will be held in strict confidence.

This is a permanent position open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those legally able to work in Canada. Other individuals may be considered, per immigration laws, and such candidates should include their status when applying for the position.

Perimeter Institute is committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons, women, Indigenous/Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2S+ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. If you require any accommodations, please notify the Search Consultant.

Compensation: The salary range for this position is $250,000 – $300,000 CAD. A comprehensive suite of benefits is also provided, including a pension match up to 7.5%.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Chief Advancement Officer – Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

Upcoming Events

AFP Calgary & Area Chapter