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Senior Program Officer

Job Summary

Working as a member of a multidisciplinary team under the guidance of the Program Director (PD) or Leader (PL), the Senior Program Officer:

  • Develops, monitors, manages, and evaluates research projects;
  • Takes the lead for a portfolio of Program projects in the range of 10-20 projects and 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 Center-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;
  • Participates in team meetings.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Project Development

Under the guidance of the PD or PL:

  • Assesses proposals, including conceptual, methodological, operational, evaluative, and financial aspects;
  • Identifies and develops research proposals in accordance with Center 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 to increase the use they make of research as input in policy formulation;
  • Prepares project documents for approval.

Project Management

Under the guidance of the PD or PL:

  • Manages, in consultation with the Resources Branch employees, 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.

Program Development

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

Project Evaluation

Under the guidance of the PD or PL:

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

Centre-wide Collaboration

  • Participates in regular Program meetings, and when required in other Program, Branch and Corporate meetings and committees;
  • Collaborates with the Regional Director and the regional office program employees in the identification and evaluation of emerging and key development trends and priorities in a particular region;
  • Collaborates with colleagues in Ottawa and the regions in connection with the Program Officer’s 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;
  • Participates in public and scientific fora.

Job Knowledge


  • Ph.D. with three (3) to five (5) years of relevant experience or
  • Master’s degree with five (5) to eight (8) years of relevant experience.


  • Relevant experience in research and research management.
  • Work experience in a developing country.


As part of the Program, lead by the PD or PL, the Senior Program Officer is expected to:

  • Provide intellectual advice for areas of the Program connected with their specialized knowledge;
  • Manage a portfolio of projects with a degree of independence and discretion within the policies of the Center and the plans set out in the Program prospectus and to set an example of good practice for more junior employees;
  • Draw attention to new developments in the disciplines and areas of development covered by the Program;
  • Be entrepreneurial in identifying additional sources of funding for Center-supported projects;
  • Identify when Center-supported research merits publication or some other form of wider dissemination to both scholarly and development audiences.