Senior Program Officer

Job Summary

Working as a member of one or two multi-disciplinary teams under the guidance of the Program Leader (PL), and the Associate Director (AD) if applicable, the Senior Program Officer:

  • Under the supervision of the PL develops, monitors, manages, and evaluates research projects;
  • With guidance from PL takes the lead for a portfolio of Project Initiative (PI) projects in the range of 10-20 projects and Research Support Projects (RSPs) values up to $5-7 million;
  • Liaises with program colleagues in Ottawa and the regional offices on issues of project development and management;
  • Plays a role in the identifying, developing and managing IDRC’s contacts with other international agencies and Canadian institutions;
  • Contributes to Centre-wide public relations efforts and to knowledge dissemination and utilization, including participation in IDRC, public and scientific fora;
  • Identifies the external contacts to support specific program directions and projects;
  • Identifies donors for revenue generation; and
  • Participates in team meetings.

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Project Development

  • 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;
  • Develop partnerships with other funding agencies to support project activities;
  • Negotiates with researchers to increase the use they make of research as input in policy formulation; and
  • Prepares project documents for approval.

Project Management

  • 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
  • Assists in coordinating the research activities of collaborative projects between Canadian and developing country researchers.

Program Development

  • Works and contributes within the PI team structure that guides the formulation and development of the PI’s program strategy and related project portfolio; and
  • May be required to take on special assignments and more frequent interaction with senior team members around program development issues.

Project Evaluation

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

Centre-wide Collaboration

  • Participates in regular PI meetings, and when required in other Program Area, Branch and Corporate meetings and committees;
  • Collaborates with the Regional Director and the regional office program staff in the identification and evaluation of emerging and key development trends and priorities in a particular region; and
  • Collaborates with colleagues in Ottawa and the regions in connection with the Program Officer's (PO) portfolio of projects in the identification and evaluation of emerging and key development trends and priorities in a particular region.

Research Utilization and Centre Representation

  • Assists researchers in writing, editing, and publishing research results; and
  • Participates in public and scientific fora


  • Directly supervises more junior professional staff which may include Research Officers, Professional Development Awardees, Research Award Recipients, Summer Students and administrative and support staff (applies particularly to POs based in regional offices); and
  • Indirectly supervises staff from the Resources Branch assisting with the administration of a Program Initiatives projects.