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Page 3 of 3
£90,000 per year
Contract (2 Years)

Actively Interviewing

This organisation is scheduling interviews as applications come in. They're ready to hire as soon as they find the right person. Don't miss your opportunity, apply now!

Job description

1. Background:

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Research Commissioning Centre (RCC) has been established to commission and manage quality, equitable research at value to inform international development priorities in the UK and globally. Led by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), the University of Birmingham, and a consortium of 17 UK and global research partners, the RCC aims to commission different types of high-quality research in FCDO’s key priority areas. The FCDO is expecting to deliver 20-30% of its total research budget through the RCC within a four-year time frame (total research budget was roughly £300m in 23/24).
The RCC has been operating since June 2023, working very closely with FCDO’s research teams through an early pilot phase. The key objectives of the RCC are to deliver ‘world class’ research commissioning processes and to build and manage a coherent R&D digital platform for the FCDO. These will promote equitable and streamlined access to FCDO funding and accelerate paths to research impact. This involves addressing the challenges associated with research bureaucracy, as highlighted by the Independent Review of Research Bureaucracy.

During the pilot phase the RCC has set up early processes and mechanisms ahead of the first research commissions, which launched in April 2024. Progress has been made to develop a digital platform for FCDO research and to build an R&D brand identity. We are now recruiting a full-time Director to lead the RCC through the next four years to implement the RCC’s vision, consolidate and deepen strategic connections across the consortium and wider networks within the sector, and direct and manage teams and resources towards delivery of a ‘world-class’ commissioning centre.

It is in this exciting context that 3ie seeks an outstanding candidate to serve as the Director to lead the Research Commissioning Centre. The Director will be supported by a secretariat and will report to the Executive Director of 3ie and to the Steering Committee of the RCC (this will include representatives from the FCDO, the consortium, and externals). The secretariat will include three units; an academic delivery unit, a programme management, due diligence, contracting and finance unit, and a stakeholder engagement, communication, and impact unit, and is projected to grow to 20+ positions over the course of the next 12 months. The Director will be a 3ie employee (or seconded from their existing institution) whose terms of employment are contingent upon the FCDO project financing their position.
The position covers a wide range of responsibilities including:

  • Setting the strategic direction for the FCDO RCC and its role within the broader FCDO research brand to ensure the core objectives and vision are delivered
  • Leading the FCDO RCC secretariat and operations within the Centre, including effective allocation of resources to implement workplans agreed with the FCDO
  • Liaising closely with FCDO Senior and Programme Responsible Owners (SRO/PRO) and research team leads to identify and respond to research commissioning needs
  • Oversight of all research commissions, including ensuring access to the right academic expertise and development and implementation of world leading processes for research commissioning
  • Engaging and collaborating with other UK Government R&D funders and the broader research commissioning community to ensure the RCC adopts world class, ethical, inclusive, and impactful research commissioning practices
  •  Engaging with the wider RCC consortium to ensure synergies with and across partners are maximised and relationships within the network deepen, to build strategic partnerships and generate added value 
  • Regular engagement with FCDO leadership and reporting to the Executive Director of 3ie and the RCC Steering Committee

2. About 3ie

The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) promotes evidence-informed equitable, inclusive, and sustainable development. We support the generation and effective use of high-quality evidence to inform decision-making and improve the lives of people living in poverty in low- and middle-income countries. We provide guidance and support to produce, synthesise and quality assure evidence of what works, for whom, how, why and at what cost.

We do so through evidence programmes, production of public goods, professional services, and support for institutional advancement initiatives. The evidence programmes include impact evaluations, implementation research, replication studies, systematic reviews, and evidence gap maps. Our work encompasses a wide range of topics, sectors, and themes, including health systems and services, nutrition, and related social sector programmes.

3ie is registered as a non-governmental organisation in the United States. We have offices in New Delhi, London and Washington, DC.

3. Role Summary:

The Director of the RCC will be responsible for the day to day running of the RCC and implementing the vision of the FCDO RCC as a leading, responsive, equitable and efficient funder and custodian of world-class, policy-relevant, and impactful research (addressing and) informing the global challenges of our time. The individual will do so through developing and nurturing the FCDO and 3ie (and consortium) partnership and oversee the strategic planning, implementation, and delivery of the FCDO RCC programme.

The ideal candidate is a visionary leader passionate about leveraging research for global development impact.

The position will be based in the UK/ London, on a remote work basis, but with regular in person interaction expected with the stakeholder teams.

4. Key responsibilities

4.1 Strategic Leadership and Vision:

  • Define and implement strategic goals and ambition in alignment with the RCC’s vision and FCDO’s overarching research objectives
  • Develop long-term strategies for scaling up research initiatives, with a focus on achieving measurable impacts on UK global development priorities
  • Develop and promote culture of lessons learning and continuous improvement and innovation conducive to world class commissioning and cutting-edge research in FCDO’s key priority areas
  • Report progress and strategic insights regularly to the Executive Director of 3ie and the RCC Steering Committee

4.2 Research Commissioning and Management:

  • Oversee the development of the RCC operational framework, including the commissioning process
  • Oversee the research commissions, from scoping and development of calls for proposals, through proposal review and selection, to due diligence and contracting
  • Ensuring transparency, efficiency, and adherence to ethical standards in all the RCCs work
  • Facilitate transparent and effective communication between all parties involved in the research commissioning process
  • Oversight of the progress of research commissions to ensure they meet predefined objectives and quality standards

4.3 Partnership and Network Development:

  • Engage and collaborate with other UK Government R&D funders and the broader research community to ensure the RCC effectively shares lessons and adopts world class, ethical, inclusive, and impactful research commissioning practices, whilst aligning and reducing burden on research where possible
  • Engage with the Bureaucracy Review Reform and Implementation Network (BRRIN) led by the UK Government Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
  • Strengthen relationships with existing partners in the RCC consortium through regular engagements and oversight of RCC commissions
  • Engage with international research communities to exchange knowledge, best practices, and actively seek new partnerships to enhance research capacity and output
  • Develop targeted strategies and approaches to capacity-strengthening programmes to enhance the skills and knowledge of RCC stakeholders to respond to requests for proposals
  • Advocate for and support the principles of inclusion and equitable partnerships within all research activities

4.4 Operational and Financial Oversight:

  • Lead the RCC secretariat and ensure the effective administration of the Centre’s operations
  • Oversight of budgeting, financial planning, and resource allocation to ensure sustainability of the Centre’s activities
  • Implement risk management strategies to mitigate potential challenges impacting research timelines and outputs

4.5 Capacity Building and Team Leadership:​

  • Develop targeted capacity-strengthening programmes to enhance the skills and knowledge of RCC stakeholders, including the RCC team itself, consortium partners, and the wider research institutions network. Special attention will be given to partners from the global south, to help ensure a levelling of the playing field
  • Mentor and guide RCC staff, fostering a culture of excellence, continuous improvement, and ethical conduct
  • Lead and motivate the team to achieve high performance and meet research commissioning targets

4.6 Stakeholder Engagement, Communication, and Impact:

  • Oversee the development and implementation of the strategic engagement and communications strategy for the RCC
  • Oversee the development of RCC’s approach and systems for developing and tracking evidence use and impact of RCC commissioned research
  • Ensure all RCC-commissioned research includes planning for stakeholder engagement and evidence uptake and use
  • Contribute to thought leadership to amplify RCC’s work, reflect on lessons learned and showcase impacts.
  • Regularly engage with the FCDO, academic institutions, policymakers, and other stakeholders to align research activities with broader policy goals
  • Represent RCC in national and international forums to promote the RCC, lessons, impacts and innovations from the RCC
  • Through regular engagements with key stakeholders in FCDO and the UK government, advocate for the use of evidence to inform decision-making
  • Oversee the development and management of the upcoming Digital Platform for commissions, results, and impacts

4.7 Innovation, Evaluation and Learning:

  • Encourage the use of advanced and innovative technologies and methodologies in research commissioning and management
  • Ensure that innovation and lesson learning is embedded in the RCCs ways of working, through for example lessons learnt log and after-action reviews
  • Oversee the development and implementation of evaluation and learning frameworks to assess the effectiveness and continuously improve the relevance of commissioned research

5.Qualifications and skills

5.1 Education and Work Experience

  • Educational Background: Master’s degree or higher in International Relations, Public Policy, Development Studies, Economics, or a related field
  • Professional Experience: Minimum of 15 years of progressive leadership experience in research management in international development or a related field
  • Partnerships and Networks: Track record of building strategic engagement with research funders and relationships across the research network; and building and managing partnerships across geographies and disciplines
  • Research Commissioning: Track record of successful research commissioning and management, including adopting and testing innovative approaches and solutions to increase effectiveness and inclusion
  • Research Expertise: Experience in managing large-scale research projects and working with international development agencies is highly desirable
  • Research-Policy interface: A deep understanding of the research to policy interface, including a track record of either conducting of managing research with policy impact
  • Familiarity with FCDO or Similar Entities: Knowledge of FCDO’s operational framework and objectives, or experience working with similar international development organisations
  • Publications and Thought Leadership: A record of publications or contributions to influential reports or thought leadership in relevant fields
  • Financial Acumen: Experience in financial management, including budgeting, resource allocation, and fiscal reporting.

5.2 Skills

  • Leadership and Strategic Thinking: Strong leadership skills with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems
  • Analytical and Problem-Solving Skills: Ability to think critically and analytically, with a proven record of solving complex problems and making decisions that are data driven
  • Stakeholder Management: Excellent skills in managing relationships with diverse stakeholders including government officials, researchers, NGO partners, and donors
  • Communication and Advocacy: Exceptional communication skills, capable of effectively presenting and discussing both the technical and critical impacts of research findings with a variety of audiences. Excellent cross-cultural skills and diplomacy
  • Adaptability and Innovation: Capacity to adapt to changing situations and to approach challenges with creativity and innovation
  • Project Management: Proficiency in project management tools and methodologies, with the ability to oversee multiple projects simultaneously under tight deadlines
  • Ethical Integrity and Cultural Sensitivity: High ethical standards and sensitivity to cultural differences, with the ability to navigate complex global issues
  • Inclusive Leadership: Commitment to fostering an inclusive environment in line with equitable partnership principles.

5.3 Desirable Additional Competencies:

  • Digital Proficiency: Familiarity with digital tools and platforms for research management and communication
  • Language Skills: Proficiency in multiple languages is a plus, especially those relevant to FCDO’s key geographic areas of operation.

6. Eligibility
3ie will recruit one individual for this full-time position, with a preference for candidates who have authorisation to work in the United Kingdom. The candidate will be based in the UK and will be expected to be physically present for meetings with FCDO staff on a regular basis. The ideal candidate is a visionary leader passionate about leveraging research for global development impact.
3ie is also willing to consider a secondment from an existing job. The initial term is for four years.

3ie is an equal-opportunity employer committed to equality and diversity. We do not discriminate based on sex, age, religion, ethnicity, caste, sexual orientation or for being differently abled. We particularly encourage ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities to apply.

7. Terms of employment

Candidates should be available to start work at the earliest after accepting an offer. The salary range for this position will be internationally competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Our policies and procedures reflect our commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from abuse. We follow a zero-tolerance policy for any form of bullying or harassment in the workplace.

8. How to Apply

Your application package must include the following*:

  • A cover letter, highlighting your experience relevant to the terms of reference. Please include information about the country you are based in and your work authorisation for the UK
  • Curriculum vitae along with names and contact information for at least three professional references

*Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only the shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled, with the initial review starting 10th June 2024.

Posted by
International Initiative for Impact Evaluation View profile Company size Size: 51 - 100
Posted on: 23 May 2024
Closing date: 22 June 2024 at 17:19
Tags: Policy/Research,Senior Management,Social Care/Development,Management,Project Management

The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.