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Job of the year: Head of the Think Tank Initiative

Here is the recruitment announcement for the Head of Think Tank Initiative:



Ottawa Canada

Job Overview

The Think Tank Initiative (TTI)  is an innovative program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions or “think tanks” in developing countries, enabling them to better provide sound research that both informs and influences policy.  Funding is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation, and the International Development Research Centre.  These five organizations comprise the Initiative’s Executive Committee, responsible for key programming decisions and oversight.  Total funding for the Initiative’s first phase is CA $115 million.

An eminent International Advisory Group, consisting of experts in the fields of policy research and management, advises the funding organizations and the Initiative’s staff on strategic directions. The Initiative focuses in four regions: East and West Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, with 52 organizations selected to receive core funding through a highly competitive process. TTI staff engages with these grantees to strengthen research, outreach and organizational development, and to support broader learning across the Initiative.

As the Head of the Think Tank Initiative, you will contribute to its strategic direction and evolution, overseeing and managing its implementation at the grantee and program level. A vibrant leader, you will motivate and guide a multidisciplinary team of professionals based in Canada and developing regions to deliver on-the-ground results. You will also promote a dynamic learning culture within the Initiative and by engaging with key stakeholders.  As an international spokesperson, you will enhance global awareness, understanding and support for the Initiative to influence and inform the activities of development actors.  In addition, you will foster linkages with other funding agencies to expand resources for a second phase.

Candidate Profile

Education & Knowledge

  • A graduate or post-graduate degree in social sciences, public administration or business with application to developing country contexts
  • Knowledge of economic and social policy issues in one or more of the regions targeted by the Initiative
  • Understanding of policy research methods and approaches, including strategies for effectively communicating research results and linking research to policy


  • Ten (10) years of relevant experience, with an emphasis in developing countries, in:
    • managing and communicating relevant policy research and/or policy formulation and implementation;
    • developing, leveraging and maintaining stakeholder relationships;
    • leading and managing multidisciplinary, international teams that include diverse backgrounds and expertise; and
    • managing, governing or working in an independent policy research organization or a grant-making organization is an asset.


  • Strong English and French language communication skills
  • Proficiency in Spanish is an asset


  • Strategic Agility: uses influence and networks to gain strategic intelligence; formulates novel and innovative approaches; and takes timely action to generate, leverage or expand opportunities
  • Leadership: leads by examples demonstrating integrity, fairness, transparency, balance and respect; champions and positively integrates change; effectively represents IDRC in diplomatic, political and international fora;
  • Management: accurately assesses and mitigates risks; and achieves challenging and realistic goals while responding to changing needs and priorities on time and on budget;
  • Engagement: fosters collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement; uses and values partners and stakeholders perspectives; creates a sense of direction which inspires, motivates and guides team
  • Expertise: provides specialized advice and guidance on issues of research design, outreach, communication and/or organizational development; and articulates how research contributes to development goals
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills  to influence and engage with diverse audiences


  • Willingness to travel internationally, an average of 60 days per year

To learn more about this unique career opportunity, please visit to view the complete position profile. For further information or to apply for this position, please contact Tom Foster or Nicole Poirier at +1.800.513.8117 or email your cover letter and resume to or  no later than December 11, 2011.

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