Program Director
Innovations for Poverty Action
IPA Country Office, New York City, Philippines
2d ago

This position can be based in a country where IPA has an office or in New York, NY or Washington, DC.

The Peace and Recovery Program (P&R) at Innovations for Poverty Action develops and carries out groundbreaking research and informs policy and programs that strengthen state capacities, reduce violence, build peace, or respond to public health emergencies, natural disasters, or human-made crises.

The initiative is broad by definition and covers topics that range from criminal justice, policing, crime, and organized crime / gangs, to violence reduction and peacebuilding, to responses to forced displacement.

  • The program achieves this through investing in research project development with researchers, implementing partners, and IPA country offices;
  • funding projects through a competitive fund; providing technical assistance to research projects; and interacting with implementing partners and decision-makers to disseminate evidence and empower them to make use of emerging research.

    Since P&R was founded in 2017, the program has supported over 50 research projects, and in great part because of this support, the number of rigorous impact evaluations within P&R’s thematic scope has increased significantly.

    More than half of the studies P&R has supported are in forced displacement settings, and in order to respond to this demand for evidence, IPA in 2019 founded the Humanitarian and Forced Displacement Initiative (HFDI), which sits under the P&R program.

    The Program is also currently expanding its footprint in Latin America and the Caribbean through research on organized crime and policing.

    Chris Blattman and Betsy Levy Paluck serve as academic leads for the Peace and Recovery Program, while Jeannie Annan and Mushfiq Mobarak serve as academic leads for the Humanitarian and Forced Displacement Initiative.

    The P&R program is funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF).

    While in 2017-2020, the P&R Program focused on creating the evidence base, in the coming years many of the studies funded through the P&R program will publish their findings, and so the Peace and Recovery Program will have a unique opportunity to ensure that the findings inform policy and practice.

    IPA’s vision is that the program will continue to grow in the next half decade, particularly by expanding its portfolio of research and policy engagements in forced displacement, peacebuilding, and organized crime.

    For this next chapter of the P&R Program, IPA is seeking a talented manager, communicator, and fundraiser who will continue to grow the program, empower the Program’s staff, and communicate research findings to a broad audience.


    The P&R Director provides leadership and strategic guidance to the P&R Program, and to the Humanitarian and Forced Displacement Initiative.

  • This includes wide-ranging work streams from high-level relationship building with donors, researchers and implementing partners;
  • managing a core team; and liaising with various support departments at IPA.

    To be successful, the incoming program director will need to have strong fundraising, management, and communication abilities, and be a highly dynamic, analytical and driven individual who can build relationships and excel in a range of tasks from working with partners to identify research questions, to translating academic research into sensible policy recommendations.

    Being successful in this role will also require the ability to develop strong professional networks with academic researchers in the fields of political science and economics, among others.

    This will require the director to not only bridge the gap between practitioners and academics but also bridge multiple academic disciplines.

    Core responsibilities include the following :

  • Develop the Peace and Recovery Program’s vision, scope, and research agenda;
  • Spearhead fundraising efforts to support core sector activities and a competitive research fund;
  • Lead global policy outreach and policy relationships in the sector, oversee related policy and communications activities, and coordinate with relevant counterparts for local policy outreach in individual countries;
  • Hire and manage global staff, and support IPA country office staff, particularly in countries where peace and recovery is a priority sector, engaging with IPA partners to implement the sector program’s research and policy objectives in those countries;
  • Work closely with principal investigators to identify and develop research opportunities that answer key questions in the sector, with frequent travel to support project development and set-up;
  • Maintain key relationships among parties including donors, key sectoral partners, internal research and policy leadership, and researchers;
  • Represent IPA at high-level external policy and research functions and meetings with key players in the sector;
  • Ensure smooth administration of the Program, including financial and administrative oversight, project management, and grant reporting.
  • Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in Economics, Political Science, Public Policy, or related field
  • At least seven years of work experience ( or four minimum with a Ph.D.) in rigorous research, peacebuilding, conflict mitigation, citizen security, forced displacement, or related topics;
  • Strategic thinker and persuasive communicator who can rally a team around a shared vision of producing evidence and bringing it to the fore among practitioners and policymakers;
  • Track record of successful staff management and working across teams;
  • Demonstrated ability to raise funds, experience in building and maintaining relationships with donors, writing proposals, and growing a program;
  • Familiarity with quantitative research, randomized trials, international development programs and issues facing fragile and conflict-affected states;
  • Project and grant management experience, including budget management, grant reporting, and coordinating diverse and diffuse co-workers;
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain high-level relationships with partners, including donors, international development practitioners, or academic researchers;
  • Demonstrated project management skills, including budgeting, attention to operational and research details, and ability to manage multiple projects efficiently;
  • Excellent communication, client management and presentation skills;
  • Given the expectations of program growth in the forced displacement, peacebuilding, and organized crime topic areas (the second one particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean), experience in one or more of these topic areas is preferred;
  • Proficiency in a language other than English is an advantage, particularly Spanish, French or Arabic.
  • Personal characteristics that are highly valued include analytic ability, curiosity, humor, self-awareness, and humility.
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