Senior Associate (Director of On Think Tanks)

OTT Director
Location Remote
Application deadline 31 July 2023
Contract type Consultancy
Hours Full-time
Salary Competitive depending on your experience
Apply now
We are looking for a leader who is strategic, has practical think tank management and network experience, consulting experience, is an excellent communicator and can work collaboratively within a fully remote team.

About OTT

OTT is a global consultancy and platform for change. We support and strengthen the work of research organisations, foundations, governments and others in support of better-informed decision making.

Through our consultancy work, we develop tailored solutions to specific challenges. With services spanning research, learning facilitation, strategy development and refresh and monitoring, learning and evaluation, we partner with organisations to drive evidence-informed change.

Through the On Think Tanks platform we build, nurture and support a global community of people working in, with, and funding policy research organisations. On Think Tanks is a space to learn, reflect, imagine, connect and take action.

All our work has public good at its heart.

OTT is a fully remote organisation. We have a small team of around 12 full-time staff and associates working across four continents.

About the role

You will be responsible for leading OTT’s portfolio of work on evidence production and communication, which includes our well-established On Think Tanks initiative. This will involve:

  • Building on and scaling On Think Tanks’ current offering to its global community, including: the annual OTT Conference (next on: May 2024) and Local Conferences; the annual School for Thinktankers (next one: January 2024 in Brussels) and Fellowship Programme; the Open Think Tank Directory and annual Think Tank State of the Sector Report; the Funders Circle; and regular blogs, publications and events to generate and share knowledge and learning on evidence informed decision making.
  • Developing and proactively securing funding for new On Think Tanks projects, including for example: a new fund to support thinktankers joining think tanks events in other regions(we have funding for a pilot!); a global think tank awards; a mentoring programme for think tank leaders.
  • Responding to and developing new project/sector opportunities. For example, over the last two years OTT has delivered projects such as: mapping think tanks in key markets for the Gates Foundation; developing an internationalisation strategy for a Benin-based think tank; and designing and delivering long-term organisational strengthening for a Senegalese think tank.

You will also take the lead in developing our work on AI and think tanks, think tanks and impact investing, and more!

You can expect a 60:40 (aprox.) dedication to leading the On Think Tanks initiative and developing and delivering new think tank related consulting projects.

This role will join one of three area leads:

  • Evidence generation and communication (this role)
  • Evidence use (led by OTT Senior Associate, Emily Hayter)
  • Evidence funding (led by OTT Senior Associate, Clara Richards)

Collaboration between the Senior Associates is essential.

You will be managed by Enrique Mendizabal, OTT Founder and Director. You will manage a Research and Learning Officer and we are currently looking to recruit an Events and Community Officer to directly support On Think Tanks’ activities. You will also work closely with the Finance and Planning Director and Business Development Officer; the Director of Communications and Digital Communications Officer; the other OTT Senior Associates, Associates and Consultants.

Specific responsibilities

  • Leadership, strategy development and delivery: Take the lead in developing and delivering a strategy for On Think Tanks and OTT’s consulting work related to think tanks and other producers and communicators of evidence. You will be responsible for setting objectives and developing a plan, budget and raise the necessary funds to achieve them.
  • Fundraising and business development: Search for and follow up on new funding and project opportunities, contacting funders and clients, developing concept notes, proposals, budgets and expressions of interest with a view to ensure the growth and financial sustainability of our work. We are keen to maintain a good balance between proactively developing initiatives based on our own understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the field and responding to calls for proposals from funders and clients.
  • Team building and management: Develop your team by nurturing current members, identifying needs and opportunities for growth and recruiting (with the support of the Executive Director, Director of Finance and Director of Communications) new members and/or consultants.
  • Project delivery and support: Lead the delivery of projects and provide specific technical inputs to ongoing projects, including time and budget management – this may include overseas travel.
  • Knowledge synthesis and development: Proactively contribute to the generation of original content, sharing knowledge and learning from across OTT’s work.
  • Communications and outreach: Engage with OTT audiences through our multiple channels and spaces, including social media, blogs, webinars and the OTT Talks podcast series. We expect you to seek opportunities to represent OTT in relevant international fora and spaces.
  • Community building: Actively contribute towards building OTT’s community of associates and consultants. Always seeking opportunities to work across the team.

About you: qualifications and skills

We are looking for individuals with an entrepreneurial drive. OTT supports its team members and the development of their ideas – but we expect them to be in the driving seat.

Key skills and competencies:

  • 10+ years working in or towards a similar role and with the relevant stakeholders.
  • Strong management skills.
  • Strong strategic thinking and capabilities. You will be called to play a strategic role within OTT and in individual projects. The future of the On Think Tanks initiative will be in your hands!
  • Extensive knowledge of key issues and organisations in the fields of evidence-informed policymaking and think tanks.
  • Strong analytical skills – we are looking for someone who can incorporate political, economic and social elements into their analyses. Also useful, would be experience of field/empirical research in a variety of settings, as well as primary and secondary data collection and analysis – but this is not an academic role.
  • Excellent communication and writing skills, for a variety of audiences including for fundraising and business development purposes (concise, succinct, and clear).
  • Proven ability to translate ideas into fundable projects.
  • Skills in negotiation, listening, communication of ideas, problem solving, decision making.
  • Ability to work as part of a team and ability to work independently and remotely.
  • Strong multitasking and project management skills. Specifically, time management skills, including managing a complex and varied workload and its corresponding budget.
  • Excellent IT skills (Word, Excel, Power Point plus survey and qualitative/quantitative research software is ideal) and an appetite for using new AI tools.
  • Fluent in English and competency in other languages. Fluency in a language other than English (e.g., French) would be desirable.

Previous experience:

  • Proven experience developing their own projects and programmes and successfully raising funds to deliver them.
  • Proven experience leading, managing and building remote teams and supporting their growth.
  • Experience in producing high-quality research outputs for different audiences. In this role, consultancy-type experience will be more useful than academic research experience.
  • Experience designing and delivering consulting projects, especially aimed at strategy development and organisational strengthening.
  • Experience working in a think tank or a policy research institute in a management role.
  • Experience working with or being part of communities of practice.
  • Experience writing successful bids in response to requests for proposals from foundations, bilateral and multilateral agencies, NGOs, etc. and developing fundable projects. This post will have a fundraising target.

Personal qualities:

  • Self-motivated, proactive and independent worker. We are looking for candidates with an entrepreneurship spirit and approach.
  • Critical thinking and thought leadership.
  • Able to multitask, manage time and prioritise competing deadlines.
  • Able to work and get along with a diverse set of individuals working in different parts of the world.
  • Willingness and ability to travel globally.


  • A commitment to OTT’s mission.
  • An interest in contributing to the growth of On Think Tanks, OTT and the field by promoting new initiatives.
  • A positive disposition to engage with policy research funders, policymakers, thinktankers and think tank leaders from all parts of the world.

Terms of employment

  • Hours: Full-time with flexible working hours. Our team is based across 4 continents (from Sri Lanka to Mexico) and we work with partners and clients who are also based in multiple-time zone.
  • Salary: Competitive depending on your experience
  • Please note that OTT is a UK-based company, for UK residents this would be a salaried position; for non-UK residents the post may be in the form of a consultancy contract depending on the legislation of your country of residence.
  • Contract type: Initial fixed, 1 year, with option to renew. There is a 3 months probation period.

Application process

To apply, submit your application by 31st July using this link including:

  • Your CV in PDF (3 pages maximum). Please include information about where you are resident.
  • A cover letter outlining (1) how you plan to contribute to On Think Tanks’ development, (2) your relevant experience and skills for the role, and (3) your motivations to take on the role (2 pages maximum).
  • An example of your writing.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an informal conversations with Enrique Mendizabal. This is a chance to fully understand the role and what is expected of its holder. This is also a chance for the candidates to ask any questions that will help them decide if this is the ‘right job’ for them. This informal conversations will be scheduled on a rolling basis.

Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to a formal interview and asked to elaborate on their plans for On Think Tanks.  Successful candidates will be asked to provide two references.

If you have any questions about the position, please email Enrique Mendizabal ([email protected]). He’ll be happy to talk about it.

Diversity and inclusion

At OTT we value diversity. We are a Southern-led global organisation. We encourage applicants from all over the world and will not discriminate on the basis of anything other than the candidate’s ability to do the job.