Unit Director, Development Strategies and Governance

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Job Summary:

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks a qualified candidate to serve as a Director of the Development Strategies and Governance (DSG) Unit for a 3-year, renewable appointment for its Transformation Strategies Department. This position is based at IFPRI headquarters located in Washington, D.C or in a mutually agreed IFPRI office location consistent with the roles and objectives of the DSG Unit. The position involves travel, notably to countries where IFPRI carries out its research.


The Unit Director will be responsible for providing intellectual and managerial leadership for the unit’s research portfolio. She/He will also be responsible for the overall planning and implementation of the unit’s research, communication, and capacity building-related activities as well as supervision of senior staff and administration of the unit’s budget.


The Development Strategies and Governance (DSG) Unit generates innovative, evidence-based policy solutions to help drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth in low- and middle-income countries. DSG provides intellectual leadership on development strategy in IFPRI, in CGIAR, and globally and works with country partners to conduct demand-driven research. Much of the work of the unit is implemented through IFPRI’s country and regional programs. These programs interface with all of IFPRI and serve as an important pathway for IFPRI/CGIAR research to inform policy debates at multiple levels (global, regional, country, and local).


The Director, DSG, sets the direction for the DSG unit, provides oversight and strategic guidance to research teams, guides partnership and initiative development, and engages in resource mobilization in line with the mission of the CGIAR– to advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis. Key research areas include sustainable growth, structural transformation, pro-poor public investments, political economy, and risk/resilience including crisis response. The Director will be expected to build upon and enhance DSG’s tradition of strengthening capabilities in partner countries and contributing to global debates concerning development strategy.


Essential Duties:


Specific Duties include but are not limited to:

  • As a member of the SMT, the Unit Director will participate in shaping the overall direction of IFPRI through activities such as setting research priorities, building organizational capacity, developing short- and long-term goals, ensuring effective communications, and developing and approving management policies.
  • Lead technical and strategic development of a coherent portfolio of research efforts in development strategies and governance, in alignment with related research projects and teams across IFPRI and CGIAR, to support strategic evolution of the unit’s research agenda.
  • Build and maintain partnerships, enhance capabilities, and seek to advance evidence-based policymaking in partner countries.
  • Develop and implement business/operational plans in alignment with IFPRI’s and CGIAR’s Research and Innovation Strategies.
  • Oversee the coordination and integration of country and regional activities with the aim of delivering quality in research, capacity building, communication, and impact by drawing from skills across IFPRI/CGIAR.
  • Develop and empower country and regional programs to deliver, in close collaboration with country partners, on shared objectives.
  • Lead and participate in resource mobilization efforts, working within and across entities and units at IFPRI/CGIAR to raise high quality funding in service of the mission of the CGIAR from existing and new mechanisms.
  • Serve as a thought-leader for development strategy and governance, maintaining and enhancing IFPRI/CGIAR’s position as a leading authority in this area.
  • Engage with stakeholders to build/maintain relationships, further collaborations, identify and cultivate new opportunities for strategic partnerships.
  • Design and develop approaches to ensure responsible resource management of the Development Strategies and Governance portfolio, promote efficiencies, and guide the development of annual work plans, schedules, and budgets.
  • Develop mechanisms to ensure quality of research, delivery of capacity-building activities, and effective communication of outputs generated by the Unit.
  • Lead in assuring the development and effective use of innovative research methodologies in Development Strategies and Governance.


Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in a field such as economics, agricultural economics, development economics, political economy, public policy, or another relevant discipline.
  • Minimum of 12 years of post-PhD experience gained in relevant employment.
  • Ten years of management experience including strong experience supervising staff.
  • Proven track record as a research leader and manager in development economics, political economy, or related fields.
  • Demonstrated research experience in policy analysis and in developing policy options.
  • Deep knowledge of the research-for-development landscape globally and the roles of key actors in government, funders, implementing partners, and academic institutions.
  • Recognized as a strategic systems thinker.
  • Demonstrated recognition in professional networks due to publications and other leadership activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to serve as an agent of change, keen to take a leadership role in building a strong culture for innovation in a dynamic, integrated, and agile IFPRI/CGIAR.
  • Record of success in resource mobilization including proven fundraising record.
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship-building skills; experience in working collaboratively with people at all levels in a decentralized, respectful, multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary organization, and with external stakeholders and partners.
  • Proven ability to integrate and inspire high-performing multidisciplinary teams and manage talent, with a strong commitment to promoting diversity, knowledge sharing, and staff development.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively build and communicate a common vision among diverse internal and external stakeholders and effective public speaker.
  • Consistent record of upholding the highest ethical standards by inspiring trust and treating all people with respect and personal integrity.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform critical analyses of own & others’ research.
  • Strong publications record in peer-reviewed journals and IFPRI publications.
  • Demonstrated research experience in policy analysis and policy recommendations.
  • Demonstrated experience in effective interactions in a multicultural setting with other researchers and with policymakers, donors, and civil society, facilitating impact of research & capacity strengthening.
  • Demonstrated recognition in professional networks due to publications and other leaderships activities.
  • Willingness to travel extensively as required.
  • Excellent written and spoken English communication skills with demonstrated excellence in written and oral presentations.
  • Proven experience in developing, managing and/or reporting on project budgets.
  • Demonstrated computer literacy (including Microsoft Applications).


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Additional language skills are an advantage.


Physical Demand & Work environment:

  • Employee will sit in an upright position for a long period of time.
  • Employee will lift between 0-10 pounds.
  • Employee is required to have close visual acuity to perform activities such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing computer terminal; extensive reading.


IFPRI provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition. IFPRI’s strategic research aims to foster a climate-resilient and sustainable food supply; promote healthy diets and nutrition for all; build inclusive and efficient markets, trade systems, and food industries; transform agricultural and rural economies; and strengthen institutions

and governance. Gender is integrated in all the Institute’s work. Partnerships, communications, capacity strengthening, and data and knowledge management are essential components to translate IFPRI’s research from action to impact. The Institute’s regional and country programs play a critical role in responding to demand for food policy research and in delivering holistic support for country-led development. IFPRI collaborates with partners around the world and is a CGIAR Research Center.


IFPRI offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salaries and excellent benefits. IFPRI is an international and equal opportunity organization and believes that the diversity of its staff contributes to excellence. Women and developing country professionals are encouraged to apply.


IFPRI Washington D.C has a hybrid work environment that allows staff members a minimum of two days (preference for 3 days) in-office work and the remaining two to three days remote work.



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