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Program Leader - Think Tank Initiative

International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Last Date: August 14, 2011

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a Canadian Crown corporation, supports research in developing regions of the world to promote growth and development. The result is innovative, lasting local solutions that bring choice and change to those who need it most.

PROGRAM LEADER - Think Tank Initiative
Based in Ottawa, Canada

Job Overview

The Think Tank Initiative (TTI) is an innovative program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions or "think tanks" in developing countries, enabling them to better provide sound research that both informs and influences policy. TTI funding is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation, and the International Development Research Centre. An eminent International Advisory Group, consisting of experts in the fields of policy research and management, advises the funding agencies and the Initiative’s staff on strategic directions.

The Initiative focuses in four regions: East and West Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, with 52 organizations selected to receive core funding through a highly competitive process. TTI staff engages with these grantees to strengthen research, outreach and organizational development, and to support broader learning across the Initiative

Under the direction of the Think Tank Initiative Program Manager, you will oversee the implementation of TTI program activities with grantees in the four regions, and manage a multi-disciplinary team of eight professional staff based in IDRC’s Regional Offices. You will oversee the relationships with all TTI grantees, assessing individual grantee progress and appraising the need for group-level activities, and engage with and prepare progress reports for TTI’s funding partners and its International Advisory Group. You will also provide intellectual support to the overall Initiative, including its monitoring and evaluation activities, outreach and communications, identification of critical research issues, relationships with external partners, and representation of the Initiative in international fora.

Candidate Profile

• PhD in a relevant discipline such as international development, economics, political science or organizational development, with application to developing country contexts OR Master’s degree in a relevant discipline and significant work experience. A record of research and publications is an asset.

The position requires 10 years of relevant experience, with an emphasis in developing regions, in such areas as:
• leading and managing multidisciplinary teams that include diverse backgrounds and expertise;
• managing and communicating relevant policy research and/or policy formulation and implementation; and
• managing, governing or working in an independent policy research organization or a grant-making organization is an asset.

• Bilingual position (English and French) at an intermediate level as a minimum
• Proficiency in Spanish is an asset

• Knowledge of economic and social policy issues in one or more of the regions targeted by the Initiative
• Understanding of policy research methods and approaches, including strategies for effectively communicating research results and linking research to policy

• Proven ability to lead and manage a diverse, multidisciplinary, international team
• Excellent interpersonal and verbal/written communication skills
• Strong planning and project management skills including financial management
• Proven strategic thinking, solid judgement, initiative and creativity
• Ability to provide specialized advice and guidance to policy research organizations supported by the Initiative on issues of research design, outreach and communications, and/or organizational development
• Ability to develop and maintain networks of organizations and partners, including actual and potential funding agencies, grantees, and government officials
• Awareness of and sensitivity to individual, gender and cultural differences

Additional Information

Position requires a willingness to travel internationally, an average of 60 days per year.

If you are interested in a career with a lasting impact, we invite you to join our team of motivated and talented professionals operating in a stimulating and diverse environment. The ideal start date would be in Fall 2011. For more information about this opportunity and how to apply, visit

Application Deadline: August 14, 2011

IDRC encourages applications from qualified women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities.


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