Program Officer, SSRC Africa Initiatives

Social Science Research Council
  • Location
    Brooklyn, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Aug 08

Position description

The SSRC seeks a Program Officer (PO) to support and help lead two programs devoted to building research capacity in Africa, the Africa Peacebuilding Network and Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa. Reporting to and working closely with the Program Director, the Program Officer will play a key role in the management, design, and direction of these programs.

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences through a wide variety of workshops and conferences, fellowships and grants, summer training institutes, scholarly exchanges, research, and publications. For more information, please visit our website: 

The African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program (NextGen) are funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and support independent research by African scholars and practitioners in the fields of peacebuilding, security, development, and related areas through fellowships, grants, publications, and public engagement. The APN focuses on conflict-affected countries and neighboring regions of the continent and the integration of African peacebuilding knowledge into global policy communities. The APN facilitates research projects and networking activities involving African academics, policy analysts, and practitioners working on peacebuilding issues by offering competitive research grants and other forms of targeted support. The NextGen program offers fellowships to nurture the intellectual development of early-career faculty in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The program assists fellows in developing research opportunities and skills, obtaining doctoral degrees, and participating in robust research communities. 

Reporting to the Director of the two programs and helping to supervise staff members, the PO will be responsible for a range of programmatic activities. This includes participating in the oversight of the application, review, and selection processes of APN and NextGen competitions and design and implementation of workshops and other events. In addition, the PO will support networking and outreach activities of the cohorts of both programs including assisting with communications activities and playing a central editorial and managerial role in the programs’ digital platforms (e.g., the APN’s forum, Kujenga Amani). 


  • Working closely with the Program Director, the PO will: 
  • Manage the operations of annual fellowship and grants competitions, including wide dissemination of calls for applications and the selection process. Coordinate with selection committee members, and manage electronic applications portal, database, website, and social media related to the competitions.
  • Liaise with the SSRC fellowships team to share and integrate best practices for program administration.
  • Support planning, organization, and facilitation of upcoming events, including conferences, workshops, and other meetings.
  • Facilitate communication and collaboration among a wide and interdisciplinary group of researchers and other members of the programs’ networks.
  • Manage program budgets.
  • Conduct research related to the intellectual vision of the programs, and participate as an active member in relevant scholarly communities.
  • Write proposals and grant reports for current and potential funders.
  • Providing oversight of, and mentorship for, program staff.
  • Serve as a leading editor of APN and NextGen online publications, working with the Program Director to establish and maintain editorial vision, tone, and direction. 
  • Craft communication and publicity strategies and develop media contacts. 
  • Oversee all social media efforts (Twitter, Facebook) carried out by program staff.
  • Other duties and additional responsibilities and projects as directed, depending upon interest and capacity.


  • Recent PhD in social sciences, humanities, or a closely related field (within three to seven years).
  • Knowledge of and interest in peace and security issues in Africa, and experience with or knowledge of educational institutions in the region. 
  • Considerable administrative experience in academic or nonprofit settings (minimum of three years). Experience planning and implementing academic fellowships programs and events is a plus. 
  • Familiarity with and a strong interest in programs designed to support and strengthen the work of young/early-career researchers.
  • Demonstrated success in administering complex tasks in an office environment, and excellent organizational and budgeting skills. 
  • Ability to work collaboratively, to manage multiple priorities, grants, and projects effectively, and to communicate effectively with both researchers and nonacademic constituencies, including funders and practitioners.
  • Demonstrated ability to supervise staff. 
  • Demonstrated achievement in communications-oriented work is strongly preferred.
  • A high level of interest in and a strong commitment to the advancement of diversity in higher education.
  • Excellent scholarly writing, research, proposal development, editorial, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to travel 20–30 percent of the year.
  • Proficiency in a language other than English, such as French, Arabic, or Portuguese, will be an added advantage.

Application instructions

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