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Associate Director

Job Summary

Working as the Associate Director of a multi-disciplinary team under the supervision of a Director Program Area (DPA), the incumbent:

  • Identifies critical research issues in the areas covered by the Program and formulates the current research strategy;
  • Develops, monitors, manages, and evaluates research projects that are critically important for the strategic directions of the Program;
  • Is responsible for the overall management and internal coherence of the Program’s entire portfolio which may range from 30 to 100 activities with a value of $10 to 40 million;
  • Is responsible for programming which includes program elements with majority or plurality funding from another donor or social investor;
  • Is responsible for the Program team’s and IDRC’s contacts with other international agencies and Canadian institutions;
  • Liaises with the DPA and Regional Directors (RDs) (and other senior management as appropriate) on issues of program and project development and management;
  • Is responsible for Centre-wide public relations efforts and for knowledge dissemination and utilization, including participation in IDRC, public and scientific fora, with respect to the Program’s domain;
  • Influences colleagues and external contacts to support specific program directions and projects;
  • Is responsible for the Program’s revenue generation strategy;
  • Represents IDRC internationally;
  • Is responsible for multiple programming modalities;
  • Has approval authority for projects up to $750,000; and
  • Plans and chairs the Program team meetings.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Program Development

The Associate Director directs the overall development and implementation of the Program’s strategic and operating plans:

  • Provides leadership in the Program’s area of work in the international community of donors, development agencies and other partner organizations to promote and achieve the objectives of the Program;
  • Identifies opportunities that will contribute to meeting the objectives of the Program in terms of relevance, quality, policy impact, capacity building and in terms of visibility (reputation) of the program and the Centre;
  • Establishes important contacts and exchanges strategic information with institutions; with researchers from research centres in the South and the North; and, with the international donor community essential for the conduct of the Centre’s work;
  • Leads in the identification of the overall development research problematique;
  • Ensures the overall internal coherence of the Program’s project portfolio
  • Identifies the IDRC’s niche vis à vis the donor community;
  • Initiates and implements ‘mid-stream’ corrections to the Prospectus;
  • Participates in the elaboration of research themes and strategic interests through, inter alia, team meetings, internal committees, in-house research, seminars, and workshops;
  • Ensures that a regional perspective is brought to bear on program planning at all levels;
  • Keeps up to date with the literature, and contributes to strategic directions, research and current developments in the disciplines / areas covered by the Program and in the regions where the Program works and at the international level;
  • Collaborates with the DPA and relevant Regional Directors in the identification and evaluation of emerging and key development trends and priorities in a particular region;
  • Collaborates with Centre supported Secretariats working in the same research and development areas as the Program to create synergies between the Secretariat and the Program; and
  • Obtains, synthesizes and communicates strategic and program intelligence and promotes itss effective utilization in the design and execution of the Program’s work.

Program Management

The incubment is the manager of the Program Initiative program and team and as such:

  • Is responsible for the Program’s overall policy orientation;
  • Prepares the Prospectus and presents and defends it before the Board;
  • Reports on the Program’s progress to Centre management and the Board;
  • Prepares the Program’s annual workplan (including travel plans) and oversees its implementation;
  • Coordinates the programmatic and technical delivery of the assigned program activities;
  • Coordinates and provides input into internal or external program-level evaluations;
  • Manages selected sensitive Program activities/projects, especially at early stages of development and implementation;
  • Coordinates the implementation of growth strategies (strategic partnerships, expansion, regional offices, new organizational modalities);
  • Initiates and coordinates strategic planning activities with a view to ensuring consistency with the Program’s mission, with evolving priorities and strategies;
  • Is responsible for the Program’s evaluation planning and execution;
  • In collaboration with the DPA, resolves human resource issues; and
  • Manages and facilitates the interactions of the Program with other units in Programs Branch, the President’s Office and Resources Branch as they relate to the Program’s area of work.

Partnership Building and Management

  • Approaches, negotiates and manages partnerships with donor organizations to increase fundraising, strengthen donor support, and enable joint programming;
  • Provides leadership in the Program’s area of work in the international community of donors, development agencies and other partner organizations to promote and achieve the objectives of the Program;
  • Establishes contact with national and international agencies and governments to develop new partnerships and strengthen existing ones;
  • Reviews and negotiates contracts with donors and contracting partners, in consultation with IDRC legal and financial officers;
  • Maintains individual and corporate leadership positions internationally in the Program’s area of work; and
  • Maintains a direct collaborative relationship with the Regional Directors and reporting relationship to the relevant DPA.

Human Resource Management

  • Creates a working environment that promotes teamwork and collaborative decision-making across administrative, geographical, and disciplinary boundaries;
  • Analyzes human resources needs with respect to the demands on the Program and growth strategies, oversees the hiring processes and facilitates the professional development of staff to meet these needs;
  • Ongoing supervision and review of the scientific, technical and administrative performance of his/her staff, and,  through the performance appraisal process, recommendation of appropriate action as required; and
  • Directs, motivates, provides advice to, and mentors a competent team of program, technical and administrative staff.

Research Utilization and Centre Representation

  • Assists researchers in writing, editing, and publishing research results;
  • Contributes to public and scientific fora through the preparation of papers for peer reviewed publications, monographs and books;
  • Prepares and delivers substantive contributions in international fora on major issues related to the Program;
  • Identifies opportunities, leads initiatives, and represents the Program’s and IDRC’s interests, for strategic networking at senior levels of international agencies, donors, lenders, research institutions and policy makers;
  • Promotes the Program’s image and relationships at senior levels of the Canadian government;
  • Working with the Communications Division, signals the news value of the Centre’s substantive programming and provides intellectual content and interpretation for the Centre’s public relations efforts;
  • Participates in strategic networking with donors and other partners; and
  • Participates in regular Program meetings, and when required, in corporate meetings and committees within the Centre and with other Program’s funding agencies and stake holding partners.

Advocacy and Learning

  • Develops and articulates approaches to best communicate with various audiences regarding the Centre’s mandate, objectives, activities and achievements;
  • Leads, promotes and supports activities that increase the awareness and understanding of the mission of the Program,  and the importance of more collaborative intra and inter organizational collaboration to the achievement of development objectives;
  • Shares knowledge and lessons learned, in the course of program and project development and implementation, within the team, with direct partners, and with the development community;
  • Provides intelligence to IDRC and other Program’s funders and stakeholders on development policies, programmes and strategies relevant to the Program’s expertise and experience;
  • Conducts periodic Peer Assist / Peer Review exercises to benefit from the experience and expertise of colleagues;
  • Interacts regularly with colleagues in IDRC to contribute to IDRC’s overall programming and learning;
  • Contributes to Centre-wide learning by distilling and imparting lessons from individual projects through the Rolling PCR interviews and process; and
  • Contributes as appropriate to IDRC policy and program development, planning and evaluation.

Project Development and Management

  • Identifies and develops research proposals in accordance with Centre policies;
  • Assesses proposals, including conceptual, methodological, operational, evaluative, and financial aspects;
  • Incorporates, at the project design stage, plans for dissemination and utilization of research results;
  • Explores the potential for support and participation by the Canadian research community, identifying areas of possible collaboration between Canadian and developing country researchers;
  • Develops partnerships with other funding agencies to support project activities;
  • Negotiates with researchers and policy makers to increase the use they make of research as input in policy formulation;
  • Identifies and encourages links with other Programs and between regions;
  • Prepares project documents for approval;
  • Manages, in consultation with the Resources Branch staff, the preparation of contracts and grant letters, materiel purchases, travel arrangements, analysis of financial statements, adjustment of budgets and schedules, and project closures;
  • Provides technical supervision, including analysis of interim reports, participation in workshops, literature searches, identification and administration of resource persons/consultants in support of projects;
  • Reviews final project reports of research results, and negotiates revisions and/or additional research requirements; and
  • When traveling, liaises with Canadian diplomatic representatives, to inform them of the Program’s projects and programming in countries where Canada has diplomatic accreditation.

Project Evaluation

  • Plans and manages project evaluations; and
  • Prepares project completion reports.


Direct Supervision

  • Program Leaders, Program Officers and Program Assistant where applicable; and
  • POs based in regional offices who are members of the team.

Indirect Supervision

  • Staff reporting to Program Leaders or Senior Program Specialists;
  • Staff from the Resources Branch assisting with the administration of PI projects; amd
  • External consultants