Research award: Think Tank Initiative

Deadline: September 6, 2017

Please note that all applications must be submitted online.

IDRC is one of the world’s leaders in generating new knowledge to meet global challenges. We offer a number of research awards providing a unique opportunity to enhance research skills and gain a fresh perspective on crucial development issues. These one‐year, paid, in‐house programs of training and mentorship allow award holders to pursue their research goals and work in one of IDRC’s dynamic program or division teams.

The Think Tank Initiative is a global program that supports independent policy research organizations, or “think tanks”, in developing countries. Its goal is to strengthen a select group of independent policy research organizations, enabling them to provide objective, high-quality research that both informs and influences policy. To achieve its mission, the Initiative provides organizations with a mix of long-term grants and access to training and technical assistance to allow them to improve research quality, expand policy linkages, and address other key aspects of organizational development.

One of the Initiative’s key activities is to learn and share knowledge about strategies for supporting and managing policy research organizations. The Think Tank Initiative research award recipient will contribute to this objective by providing a better understanding of what makes an independent policy research organization successful in different regions of the world.

Proposals could address one or more of the following research areas, preferably within a regional context in which the Think Tank Initiative works:

  • Monitoring and evaluation:
    • Approaches, tools and methods for tracking and assessing the effectiveness of think tank policy engagement and influence, and/or approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to support think tank policy engagement and influence;
    • Approaches, tools and methods to assess or evaluate the effectiveness of institutional strengthening or organizational capacity development.
  • Research quality:
  • In relation to policy-focused research and impact;
  • Peer learning and organizational networks as vehicles for: policy influence, collaborative research, or organizational development; and
  • Understanding the impacts of the work of policy research organizations.

The successful candidate will allocate 50% of the time to his/her own research project under the guidance of a senior program officer, and will be expected to present a research plan and provide progress updates throughout the year. The research award recipient will spend the remaining time contributing to the management of the program through a variety of tasks, which may include synthesizing and disseminating project outcomes and results, participating in project development, conducting secondary analysis of program datasets, monitoring and evaluation, communication and learning activities, and preparing internal and external reports.

Applicants should clearly outline their qualifications for this position, and explain how this opportunity will advance their career goals.

Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must meet the requirements stated in the IDRC Research Awards 2018 call page.

Candidates should have the following qualifications:

  • Experience researching/working in a developing country (preferably in Africa, South Asia, or Latin America);
  • Be enrolled in (or have completed in the last 12 months) a master’s or PhD degree in social sciences, humanities, economics or associated field(s);
  • Be familiar with methodologies for social and economic analysis and statistical software, particularly quantitative analysis;
  • Experience working in a policy research organization is an asset; and
  • Work/academic background in performance assessment, organizational development, evaluation, or gender-related issues would be an asset.

Language requirements:

  • Strong writing and communication skills in English
  • Knowledge of French or Spanish would be an asset

Priority will be given to proposals outlining focused and feasible objectives, and clearly defined methodology. The proposal should demonstrate the relevance of the proposed research to local/national/regional policy debates in Asia, Africa, or Latin America.

This position is located at IDRC’s head office in Ottawa, Canada.

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