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Senior Director of Research

Job Description

  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is one of the world’s largest humanitarian relief and development organizations. For 90 years, the IRC has been at the forefront of every major humanitarian initiative to assist people uprooted by war, persecution, or civil conflict. IRC staff go to the toughest places, implement both immediate response and long lasting programs. In all its country programs and in the US, the IRC partners with local governments, community organizations and private sector companies to achieve measurable improvements in people’s economic well-being, safety, health and education. 
  • The Airbel Impact Lab – the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC’s) research and innovation team –
  • designs, tests, and scales life-changing, cost-effective solutions for people affected by conflict and disaster. By applying deep technical expertise and field experience with a range of skills from research to human-centered design, we take a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving in humanitarian contexts. We are a leading contributor of impact evaluations and other research in humanitarian settings. Our portfolio consists of nearly 300 research and innovation projects across 40 countries; and we’ve collectively published over 150 journal articles in peer-reviewed publications on education, nutrition, violence prevention, health and economic programs. We use this research to increase the IRC’s impact and to change the way humanitarian aid is delivered around the world.
  • The Senior Director of Research will lead the organizational vision for conducting research to improve impact and scale across IRC programs and influence the humanitarian sector to uptake research results and findings. They will continue to build organizational capacity and systems for research, drive ambitious research agendas across IRC technical sectors, and lead research teams and projects to answer the most pressing questions to improve humanitarian impact and scale. 

Major Responsibilities: 
Oversee research agendas and manage teams to deliver high quality research. 

  •  Refine and oversee technical research agendas with IRC technical units driving towards improving IRC impact, equity, influence and scale across outcomes.
  •  Lead high performing research teams to develop research projects and deliver on ambitious workplans to carry out research agendas.
  •  Oversee workforce planning to deliver the research agendas and proactively identify and fill staffing gaps where needed. 
  •  Cultivate and support passionate team members, creating a space of belonging, professional development, and research excellence across a geographically dispersed team. 
  •  Oversee community of practice for research across IRC countries 

Build and support data science team. Strengthen organizational systems to carry out high quality, ethical analysis.

  •  Support country and regional program teams to streamline and carry out high quality data collection for research priorities.
  •  Strengthen and continuously improve our research systems, including standards and support for high quality data collection, cleaning, coding, analysis, writing and dissemination, including to participants and communities involved in research.
  •  Strengthen systems for data storage, cleaning, sharing and analysis, as well as for version control and reproducibility. 
  •  Serve as IRC’s Institutional Review Board Chair. Support teams to maintain high ethical standards in research.          

Develop strong partnerships and represent research internally and externally. 

  •  Develop and maintain effective partnerships for research priorities at country, regional and global level that will amplify IRC’s ability to generate evidence and influence targeted policy and practice. 
  •  Present, publish and represent IRC research and innovation at events and meetings to influence key stakeholders. 
  •  Cultivate strong relationships across departments within IRC. Represent the Airbel Impact Lab with senior leaders across the organization. 
  •  Collaborate with Technical Units, Communications and Advocacy on strong research communications to key audiences.

Fundraise and ensure strong financial management of research team

  •  Raise funds needed to support IRC’s research agenda and research systems
  •  Oversee budgets and the financial health of research teams, initiatives and projects. Identify and communicate gaps or concerns in a timely manner, and proactively seek out viable solutions. 

Job Requirements:  

  • Education: Ph.D. in field related to development and humanitarian intervention (e.g., economics, epidemiology, political science)
  • Work Experience: 10+ years in research, with significant experience in humanitarian or development contexts

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies: 

  •  Extensive experience in designing research and managing research teams in low resource environments. 
  •  Fluency in translating the use of empirical evidence to support technical and implementing teams to know what works best to achieve meaningful results for people.  
  •  Demonstrated success in business development for research projects with public and private donors.
  •  Experience developing and driving research strategy and learning agendas across a large, complex international organization.
  •  Strong record of publication and authorship/co-authorship of peer-reviewed articles.
  •  An existing and strong professional network in humanitarian and development research communities. 
  •  Very strong leadership and management competencies including the ability to bring people from divers backgrounds along with a stated vision and strategy, and capacity to communicate effectively with IRC leadership, technical peers, and colleagues in fundraising, communications and advocacy. 
  •  Excellent public speaking and writing skills.

Language Skills:

  • Fluency in English is required; Proficiency in French, Arabic or Spanish is a plus.

Grants & Contracts Coordinator

The Role:

  • The Grants & Contracts Coordinator, with a Commercial Contract Management focus, will maintain quality awards management for a portfolio of complex awards within IRC’s Technical Excellence (TechEx) Department. Reporting to the Deputy Director, Award Operations, Grant Operations and Analytics Team (GOAT), this position will work closely with in-country and HQ awards staff, finance and business development teams to ensure timely and accurate award reporting, maintenance of award records, and leadership of the proposal process for new awards. The Grants & Contracts Coordinator will also be responsible for the hiring and supervision of several grants & contracts award managers.
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Major Responsibilities:
Awards Management (estimated 50% of time):

  •  Develop and maintain an in-depth understanding of TechEx awards, donor compliance, and budget conditions and status
  •  Design and manage systems, capacity and capability for accurate and timely tracking of budgeting, spending, reporting, and compliance for intricate awards
  •  Lead risk management and mitigation strategies to ensure accuracy of award financial/budget reports; promptly flag issues and TechEx Directors on areas of concern 
  •  Prepare financial internal and donor reports and review narrative donor reports, coordinating with the necessary technical and field staff as necessary
  •  Liaise between donors and project teams on matters of financial and award compliance
  •  Attend and actively participate in all award related meetings
  •  Manage OTIS (Opportunity Tracking Information System) workflow for ongoing awards, reporting, agreements and amendments
  •  Coordinate the approval of agreements, amendments, cost extensions and no-cost extensions for TechEx awards
  •  Work closely with the Awards Management Unit on all compliance and post-award award activities
  •  Assess linkages with Finance and the Awards Management Unit to pinpoint gaps and challenges and find solutions as needed.
  •  Collaborate with the Data Analytics Coordinator to provide strategic analyses on commercial contract portfolio composition; revenue and cost forecast; business development tracking and projections; program quality framework; scorecards; and other areas as needed
  •  Act as contracts implementation focal point within TechEx.
  •  Ensure TechEx’s full cost recovery from Commercial Contracts
  •  Ensure TechEx’s commercial contracts managementa is in line with GOAT’s awards management processes.

Business Development (estimated 20% of time):

  •  Support the Senior Advisor, Business Development and Unit technical staff in the development of high value proposals for new development opportunities, including reviewing and contributing to concept notes, proposals and creating budgets ensuring donor and IRC compliance.
  •  Support the Senior Advisor, Business Development to continue to build and refine business development processes for TechEx Commercial Contracts bids.
  •  Support the Senior Advisor, Business Development in tracking the pipeline of business development opportunities across TechEx and assist with assigning business development (concept note, EOI, proposal development) to Awards Managers.

Staff Supervision & Development (estimated 30% of time):

  •  Supervise grants & contracts managers
  •  Monitor and build the technical capacity of direct reports as needed
  •  Maintain and promote a positive work environment for direct reports including providing timely support, effective feedback and professional development opportunities 
  •  Ensure that direct reports understand the roles and responsibilities of their position, have agreed performance objectives for each year and receive required training on IRC systems and processes 
  •  Monitor quality, activity timelines and due dates for deliverables to ensure staff meet internal and/or external requirements and deadlines

Key Working Relationships:

  • You will report to: Deputy Director, Award Operations, Grant Operations and Analytics Team. 
  • Position supervises: Grants & Contracts Managers
  • Position works closely with: the Senior Advisors and Deputy Director, Business Operations in GOAT, Finance Department and the Awards Management Unit colleagues. 

Job Requirements:

  •  5+ years of progressive work experience including awards management, budget management, systems and procedure development
  •  Successful experience managing complex awards, particularly commercial contracts funded by FCDO or USAID
  •  Highly collaborative and pro-active colleague with talent for teaming with cross-functional groups
  •  Skills for and interest in providing creative solutions for challenging organizational systems and procedures
  •  Strong Microsoft Office skills and experience with organizational information and financial systems 
  •  Previous management experience and/or training 
  •  Proven acuity to thrive in a fast-paced team environment and continuously adapt to new challenges and dynamic priorities, while maintaining professional grace and a sense of humor 
  •  Dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion and a strong passion for our mission
  •  Excellent written and verbal communication skills in a multi-cultural environment 
  •  University degree in Business Administration, Finance; International Development or a related field or equivalent work experience

Deputy Director, Finance

Major Responsibilities:
Strategic Planning & Analysis

• Provide financial information which supports the VP, EHAU in making business decisions in line with IRC, Regional & Response strategies

• Provide strategic analysis on the overall financial health of all ongoing emergency responses to the VP, EHAU and HQ Finance and collaborate across the regional teams when needed and with responses on corrective actions and support plans

• Contribute and provide feedback to the development of response/s Strategic Annual Plans and annual operating budgets.
Financial Management Oversight

Provide high-quality financial and accounting support to IRC to ensure the following for all emergency responses:

• Accurate and timely recording of accounting transactions including regular review of Response office transactions and balance sheet accounts

• Ensure Response offices perform month-end close using tools and resources provided by Global Finance.

• Financial controls are in place and adhered to by implementing the EHAU minimum standards in a Response established in the EHAU Finance Handbook

• Compliance with IRCs financial standards

• EHAU SMT and Global Finance leadership have visibility on financial health 

• Internal financial reports are prepared and reviewed, and ensure that management at headquarters and the regional (if applicable) and response level are kept abreast of financial-related issues

• Provide technical guidance and support as requested

• Ensure new Emergency Finance staff are trained in Integra and PowerBi

• Ensure timely dissemination of new initiatives and policies to the responses and monitoring of implementation

• Develop expertise and maintain current on the rules and regulations of all donors, providing guidance and mentorship in the area of donor compliance

• Play an active role in the allocation and management of Emergency funding to country programs and the ERT
Financial Systems & Business Operations Improvement

• Contribute to discussions on financial policy issues including the maintenance and development of strategic finance policies and SOPs

• Align regularly EHAU Finance Handbook with Global Finance SOPs

• Maintain the EHAU Integra Roadmap guide with new upgrades from Integra

• Liaise with and support the Integra Technical Team to setup and upgrade 7NOC Legal Entity making it ready to use in Emergencies

• Keep up to date and ensure organisational reporting tools such as PowerBi are used in Responses to drive efficiency

• Serve as Integra Super-User and support the roll-out of the new system, to responses, which will include training and technical support

• Ensure EHAU Finance Invoice and payment processes are maintained by providing support and guidance on documentation, system approvals and workflows, vendor issues, etc. 

• Make sure Otis approvals for budgets, partners, and amendments are handled swiftly to increase speed and efficiency for the field team

• Ensure EHAU Finance Invoice and payment processes are maintained by providing support and guidance on documentation, system approvals and workflows, vendor issues, etc.
Regional Finance Support and Risk Mitigation

• Conduct periodic support visits to the responses/following an approved scope of work

• Review non-USG final financial reports, and European donor financial reports, related to the responses, prior to submission to either the donor, IRC Germany or IRC-UK

• Respond to ad hoc requests made by the Director, Funding & Finance in Emergencies, Director of International Finance, EHAU VP, Regional VPs or the responses

• Support and guide new EHAU initiatives like the RUTF mechanism and ensure CO have full understanding to implement

• Monthly Reviews of the financial health and risk identification shared with the VP EHAU for action

• Proactively identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies in conjunction with the VP EHAU

• Internal/External Audit closure and corrective action plan development and tracking associated with the responses

• Attend all audit opening and exit meetings for audits conducted in EHAU responses

• Perform the final financial review of the proposal document, related to EHAU responses prior to approval and submission to the donor
Key Working Relationships Position Reports to:  VP, International Finance & Sr. Director, Funding & Finance in Emergencies (Management in Partnership)Position directly supervises:  Direct supervisor of three ERT DDFs. Technical advisor to roster finance staff (when on deployment)Works closely with:  ERT Deputy Directors Finance, ERT Country Directors, Global Finance staff, as well as regional counterparts in AMU, GSC, HR, IT and other functional departments.  

• Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or Finance – Master’s Degree, CPA or equivalent experience a plus

• Substantial progressive finance/accounting experience in the non-profit sector

• Previous work experience in a multi-cultural international environment abroad is highly desirable

• Demonstrated familiarity with GAAP and proven general knowledge of Fund Accounting

• Previous work experience with a major general ledger software package – experience with MS D365 preferred

• Proven knowledge of US Government and European Union regulations highly desirable

• Excellent communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively in a multi-cultural environment and diplomatically manage collegial relationships

• Solid organizational skills: the ability to be flexible and work well under pressure in a fast-paced team environment

• Flexible work demeanour: the ability to work productively in a team environment & independently and ability to meet unexpected demands

• Strong Computer skills: facility with MS Word, Excel, various accounting software, and email/internet software

• Proven ability to thrive in a matrix management environment

• Ability to present complex financial information in a succinct and compelling manner

• Experience of solving complex issues through analyses, definition of clear way forward and ensuring consensus

• The ability and willingness to travel to emergency responses/Field Offices up to 20% of the time

• Multi-language skills preferable


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