Senior Program Officer

Job Overview

IDRC invests in research and innovation so that people around the world can enjoy the benefits that democracy and inclusive governance bring to everyday life. 
Our work on democracy and how countries are governed supports tangible improvements for everyone, especially women, minorities, refugees, and other groups that are denied their rightful place in civic life.
To empower people to claim their rights and shape the policies and practices that affect them, we connect communities to thought leaders in civil society organizations, universities, and think tanks in their countries and around the world. When embedded within local communities, research is not just a scientific endeavour, but also a driving force for positive action. In contexts of democratic transition and political fragility, IDRC mobilizes local researchers to build the knowledge, trust, and dialogue needed for public policy and civic engagement on issues of vital importance to democratic development.

As a Senior Program Officer you will report to the Director of the Democratic and Inclusive Governance Division based in Ottawa and work under the supervision of the Regional Director in IDRC’s Asia Regional Office in New Delhi. This post will take the lead for IDRC’s work in conflict, fragile states and states at critical democratic junctures. 
You will be responsible for:

  • Provide intellectual leadership, identifying critical research opportunities and taking the lead in managing, monitoring, and evaluating a portfolio of research projects
  • Play a key role in leading new directions in governance in fragile contexts aligned with IDRC’s  new Strategy 2020-2030.
  • Engage proactively to coordinate and collaborate with IDRC’s regional offices, the government of Canada, partner agencies, and other international organizations to ensure that IDRC is supporting key governance development challenges and opportunities in low and middle-income countries
  • Mobilize alliances for impact and specifically, mobilizing others to join us in supporting governance research through funding partnerships;  
  • Engage proactively on ensuring that IDRC supported research is used to advance governance development for people, by advancing knowledge sharing activities and thinking on governance
  • Contributing towards Centre-wide communications and public relations efforts 

Candidate Profile


PhD (preferred) and a record of research and publication in a relevant discipline such as international development, peace and conflict studies, international law, political science or political economy. A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline with five (5) years of qualifying experience will be accepted in lieu of a PhD. 


Position requires a minimum of three (3) years’ relevant experience for holders of a relevant PhD and a minimum of five (5) years of experience for holders of a relevant master’s degree which includes:

  • Supporting the identification of critical research issues in the area of fragile states, governance in conflict areas, governance in states of critical democratic junctures, with some experience in the other areas  typically covered by the Democratic and Inclusive Governance Division.
  • Managing research including technical and financial aspects, monitoring and evaluation of research performance and reporting and/or experience in leading and conducting research projects involving multiple stakeholders.
  • Managing and undertaking projects from design, to implementation, monitoring and evaluation. 
  • Establishing and building partnerships with development organizations including multilaterals, research organizations, funding agencies and Canadian stakeholders.
  • Consulting with researchers, decision-makers and policy actors to identify research needs and facilitate research uptake for influencing policy and practice.
  • Communicating results to professional, expert and non-expert audiences and developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with a range of different stakeholders. 
  • Scoping opportunities for increased partnership collaboration and participation in revenue generation with donors.
  • Organizational representation at national and international meetings.
  • Working and/or living experience in low and middle-income countries.


Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French and/or other languages utilized in the region is an asset. 


  • Sound knowledge of current debates and research agendas on fragility, violence, justice and promoting community engagement for democracy and governance in developing countries
  • Understanding of capacity development and development policy challenges in low- and middle-income countries, especially in countries affected by conflict, violence, and political fragility
  • Managing a portfolio of projects with a degree of independence and discretion within the policies of the Centre 
  • Showing entrepreneurship in identifying additional sources of funding for Centre-supported projects
  • Sound understanding of research-policy linkages and how to move research into action
  • Knowledge of diverse research methodologies


  • Ability to communicate effectively, in a wide variety of cultural settings and in different fora.
  • sensitivity to the importance of gender equity and related issues.
  • ability to work as a member of multi-disciplinary teams.
  • ability to plan, organize, coordinate, and negotiate under pressure.
  • ability to provide specialized advice and professional guidance to external contacts.
  • good analytical and writing skills with a demonstrated peer review publication record.
  • proven administrative and problem-solving skills.
  • ability to supervise research and administrative support staff.
  • knowledge of computer systems relevant to the position
  • capacity for increased initiative, independent action, and program level responsibility.

Additional Information

This position requires a willingness to travel, mainly internationally, an average of 60-90 days per year. For more information on primary duties and responsibilities, view job details.

How to Apply:

We appreciate your interest, however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. IDRC is committed to creating and fostering a respectful, diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace culture that reflects the people’s lives we impact and the Canadian community we work within, where everyone is comfortable being their authentic selves. We welcome Indigenous peoples and persons from all races, ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, and physical or mental abilities to be part of our team. We strive to ensure barrier-free selection processes. If you are contacted regarding a job opportunity, testing or interview, please advise the HR representative of the accommodation measures that must be taken to enable you to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner. Application process Frequently Asked Questions.
Who can apply? The general public - national and international populations.


August 3, 2021




Full-time Permanent


New Delhi