Program Leader

Job Summary

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

  • Identifies critical research issues in the areas covered by the Program Initiatives (PIs), formulates the PIs’ current research strategy;
  • Develops, monitors, manages, and evaluates research projects that are critically important for the strategic directions of the PI;
  • Has approval authority for projects up to $750,000;
  • Is responsible for the overall management and internal coherence of the PI’s entire portfolio which may range from 30 to 100 activities with a value of $10 to 20 million;
  • Liaises with the DPA and Regional Directors (RDs) (i.e. senior management) on issues of program and project development and management;
  • Is responsible for the PI team’s and IDRC’s contacts with other international agencies and Canadian institutions;
  • 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 PI’s domain;
  • Influences colleagues and external contacts to support specific program directions and projects;
  • Is responsible for the PI’s revenue generation strategy;
  • Represents IDRC internationally; and
  • Plans and chairs the PI team meetings.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Program Planning and Development

  • Leads in the identification of the overall development research problematique;
  • Ensures the overall internal coherence of the PI’s project portfolio;
  • Identifies the IDRC’s niche vis à vis the donor community;
  • Initiates and implements ‘mid-stream’ corrections to the PI’s prospectus;
  • Identifies opportunities that will contribute to meeting the objectives of the PI(s) in terms of relevance, quality, policy impact, capacity building and in terms of visibility (reputation) of the program and the Centre;
  • Participates, in the elaboration of research themes through, inter alia, team meetings, internal committees, in-house research, seminars, and workshops; 
  • Represents the program and its strategic interests in Program Area, Branch and Corporate meetings;
  • Ensures that a regional perspective is brought to bear on program planning at the PI and Program Area level;
  • 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;
  • Keeps up to date with literature, and contributes to, research and current developments in the disciplines / areas covered by the PI’s and in the regions where the PI’s work 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; and
  • Collaborates with Centre supported Secretariats working in the same research and development areas as the PI’s to create synergies between the secretariat and the PI’s.

Program Management

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

  • Is responsible for the PI’s overall policy orientation;
  • Prepares the PI prospectus and presents and defends it before the Board;
  • Reports on the PI’s progress to Centre management and the Board;
  • Prepares the PI’s annual work plan (including travel plans) and oversees its implementation;
  • Is responsible for the PI’s evaluation planning and execution; and
  • In collaborations with the DPA, resolves human resource issues.

Human Resource Management

  • Manages, oversees and assigns the work of  the professional technical and support staff in the initiative;
  • Directly supervises more junior professional staff which may include Program Officers (levels K, M, N), Research Officers, Professional Development Awardees, Centre Interns, Summer Students, Administrative and Support Staff (applies particularly to Program Officers based in regional offices);
  • Indirectly supervises staff from the Resources Branch assisting with the administration of a Program Initiative projects;
  • Is responsible for the recruitment and the professional development in consultation with the DPA; and
  • Is responsible for the performance appraisals of the members of the PI team.

Project Development and Management

With respect to projects that are critically important for the strategic directions of the PI, the incumbent independently:

  • Assesses proposals, including conceptual, methodological, operational, evaluative, and financial aspects;
  • Identifies and develops research proposals in accordance with Centre policies;
  • 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;
  • 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 Program Initiatives and between regions; and
  • Prepares project documents for approval;

For projects critically important for the strategic directions of the PI, the incumbent independently:

  • 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;
  • Assists in coordinating the research activities of collaborative projects between Canadian and developing country researchers; and
  • When traveling, liaises with Canadian diplomatic representatives, to inform them of PI projects and programming in countries where Canada has diplomatic accreditation.

Project Evaluation

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

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;
  • Identifies opportunities and leads initiatives for strategic networking with other donors, lenders, research institutions and policy makers; and
  • 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.