Senior Program Specialist - Governance and Justice

International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
  • Location
    Ottawa, Canada
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 03

Position description

IDRC’s Governance and Justice Program funds research that addresses development challenges posed by insecurity, injustice, and inequalities. We support evidence-based research that helps people and public authorities address the causes and drivers of fragility, conflict, violence, and weak governance in a manner that promotes empowerment and incorporates gender equality and inclusion of excluded groups. The result is a better understanding of how institutions, policies and practices can be made more effective and accountable to the populations they serve. 


As the Senior Program Specialist, reporting to the Program Leader (PL), you will identify critical research and capacity issues; assist in developing and implementing the research strategy; and take the lead in managing, monitoring and evaluating a portfolio of research projects. In addition, you will provide intellectual leadership to identify and create strategic synergies with other thematic programs in IDRC including with regional offices, the government of Canada, partner agencies, and other international organizations to ensure that IDRC is supporting key development challenges and opportunities in low and middle-income countries. You will also play a key role in leading new directions that will be set out in IDRC new Strategy 2020-2030.

Candidate Profile


  • PhD and a record of research and publication in a relevant discipline such as international development, international relations, international law, public policy, political science or political economy OR Master’s degree in a relevant discipline with pertinent work experience.


Position requires a minimum of eight years’ relevant experience in the development and management of international cooperation programs which includes:

  • Identifying critical research issues in the areas typically covered by the Governance and Justice Program and assisting in the further elaboration of program strategy;
  • 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;
  • Measuring and communicating results to professional, expert and non-expert audiences and developing and maintaining collaborative relationships with a range of different stakeholders; 
  • Scoping opportunties 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.

Note: Candidates with less than 8 years of experience but at least 5 years, may be considered and appointed at the Senior Program Officer level.


  • Advanced English communication skills
  • Advanced Spanish communication skills


  • Sound knowledge of current debates and research agendas on fragility, violence, justice and promoting citizen engagement for democracy in developing countries, in particular in Latin America
  • Understanding of capacity development and development policy challenges in low and middle income countries, especially in countries affected by conflict, violence and fragility
  • Sound understanding of research-policy linkages and how to move research into action
  • Knowledge of diverse research methodologies


  • Strong leadership, interpersonal and communication skills
  • Initiative, solid analytical including judgement and writing skills
  • Results-oriented with strong organizing, problem-solving, implementing, evaluative, monitoring and reporting skills
  • Proven ability to adapt quickly to change and work under pressure
  • Ability to identify opportunities in a creative and innovative manner, to influence and negotiate
  • Ability to effectively represent an organization in public fora
  • Ability to work in a collaborative manner and with multidisciplinary teams from diverse cultures, expertise and experiences.

Application instructions

Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on

follow us on Twitter