The Purpose of the Role
The Programme Director (PD) will provide overall leadership of the IRC-led What Works consortium. The PD will be a seasoned manager and leader of complex, multi-country, multi-partner research initiatives. The Programme Director will be responsible for developing and maintaining a high functioning global research consortium and ensuring that the project is implemented to a high standard, in accordance with FCDO regulations, IRC policies, and international standards of researching education. Working in close partnership with the Academic and Policy Director and senior leadership of the consortium organizations, the PD will establish or refine the project’s goals, objectives and strategy to achieve those objectives; key performance indicators, milestones, budgets and work plans. The PD will keep the consortium and all staff members moving toward these goals and objectives, identify barriers and enablers of success and problem-solve with members of the consortium as needed. The Programme Director will be the primary representational link with FCDO staff. In collaboration with the Academic and Policy, they will represent the project to internal and external stakeholders – including other researchers, government officials, donors, media and, humanitarian and development agencies and INGOs, primarily at the international level.
Scope and Authority
Responsibility for Resources:
- Responsible for the project budget (amount TBC after FCDO releases the TOR)
Key Working Relationships
- Reports to the Chief Scientist
- Works in close coordination with the Senior Director of Education and leadership from partner organisations.
- Manages the senior leadership team of What Works Global Hub for Education.
- Works in close collaboration with the Research Director and provides expert project management for the overall research consortium (3 core partner [MSL1] organisations)
- Key external contacts: Academic Partners and other Consortium Partner organizations, FCDO and other donors, humanitarian and development agencies (UN & INGOs), national governments; civil society organisations; media; research community
- Key internal contacts: Research & Innovation and Education technical unit staff; International Programme Team; particularly the Program Development team
Expert project leadership
- Provide high level leadership and direction, across the project to guide effective implementation to achieve the desired outcomes
- Manage the overall project by establishing, in collaboration with the Academic and Policy Director, a strategy with both operational and research-focused key performance indicators, milestones, timelines and work plans in adherence with technical quality standards and donor guidelines.
- Oversee the development of budgets and spending plans and monitor the financial health of the project.
- Oversee and monitor project activities in accordance with the project agreement; Ensure IRC meets FCDO contractual project, legal and financial requirements.
- Develop and leads a well-functioning and supportive consortium that consistently delivers high quality research, expert technical expertise to FCDO country offices and programs; and research uptake. As part of this, develop and maintain strong lines of communication and collaboration
- Manage excellent cooperation with and between consortium partners; partner organizations and government officials ensuring alignment as well as instituting clear processes and protocols for surfacing any issues or challenges in a timely manner.
Team leadership and supervision
- Support project staff by creating and maintaining a work environment that promotes teamwork, trust, transparency, mutual respect, and recognition and empowers staff to take responsibility, thus enabling an environment for high performance
- Establish regular cadence for team meetings and individual check-ins with direct reports, as well as ensure these management practices cascade throughout the team.
- Set clear performance objectives for direct reports and ensure that all managers are similarly establishing clear management expectations for their teams.
Oversight of research and country-level support
- Ensure the project adheres to and promotes the best practice of ethical research on education
- Work with all key staff to identify technical assistance needs and arrange for the provision of assistance
- Work closely with and provides expert management support to the Research Director and the Principal Investigators as they design and plan research activities
- Review and contribute to the terms of reference for IRC technical staff, researchers and consultants, ensuring project objectives and outcomes are met and that project staff performance is evaluated.
Representation: fcdo and external forums
- Represent the IRC and the consortium as primary liaison focal point with FCDO
- Ensure timely, accurate and good quality reporting to the donor and others
- Represent and promote the project in high level policy and advocacy forums
- Manage external relations by representing the project and the organization in the public and ensuring the distribution of information about project achievements and lessons learned
- Support development and implementation of research uptake plans
- Support the development of messaging and research uptake strategies to disseminate research findings from the wider What Works programme
Skills, Knowledge and Qualifications:
- Master’s level education in related field
- Excellent understanding of research design and methodology and of education in conflict and crises settings research and innovation networks
- Proven ability to represent an organisation at a senior level and to build strong relationships at the local, national and international levels
- Excellent communication and collaboration skills
- Ability to manage a large and varied workload, work under pressure and meet deadlines
- Experience of managing or leading consortia of complementary and independent organizations across at least 3 countries.
- Experience of project management for large, complex (> 20 million GBP) projects
- Experience of managing or in a senior role in a FCDO-funded commercial contract
- Proven ability to lead diverse staff and cross-organizational teams, manage performance, foster a positive working environment and manage issues sensitively and diplomatically
- Experience of working in a large and complex international organisation