The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC works with people forced to flee from war, conflict and disaster and the host communities that support them, as well as with those who remain within their homes and communities. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.
As a global humanitarian organization, the IRC has unique capabilities, and is particularly known for rigorous research and evidence-based programs. The IRC’s strategy over the next 5 years builds on these capabilities, and its mission is to extend IRC’s thought and operational leadership in the sector.
A key initiative that supports this strategy is the IRC Research & Development (R&D) lab, aimed at investing in the design, development, and scaling of new humanitarian interventions and delivery models. The lab seeks to apply best practices from human-centered design, rapid iteration and cross-functional problem-solving. Combining these capabilities in IRC’s extensive field presence, supported deep sector expertise from our research capability, we believe it is possible to design and scale breakthrough humanitarian programs that could impact millions of people most affected by conflict and disasters.
Job Overview: The Associate Director, Research and Development, will support the strategic direction and cultivation of R&D partnerships, including donors and thought leaders. He/she will also contribute to R&D’s employment project and lead development of 1 new idea generation process. This role will be a high-visibility position, and will have the unique opportunity to engage leading humanitarian sector innovators, social entrepreneurs, and private sector leaders, and innovation thought leaders in the world.
Employment Project: The R&D lab, in collaboration with Economic Recovery & Development (ERD) at the IRC aims to explore a range of ways to create wealth and employment in fragile economies. This role will support the project in the following ways:
- Conduct research through qualitative interviews to understand preferences of and barriers faced by refugees In Jordan
- Synthesize and communicate research findings that will inform and inspire design of potential solutions
- Design and manage prototyping of potential interventions in the field to understand how refugees are motivated to engage in export market jobs.
- Coordinate closely with IRC’s R&D & ERD teams to conduct multidisciplinary stakeholder meetings for ideation and implementation of new interventions.
Partnership and Advocacy:
- Represent R&D and build networks in DC with thinkers and donors.
- Identify and cultivate relationships with public and private sector organizations for potential funding, partnership and advocacy opportunities
- Write, speak and present as a contributor to IRC’s thought leadership in areas of influence
- Represent the IRC at high-level policy-related meetings, committees and fora with donors and key policymakers
- Create and leverage a network of relevant contacts that provide context and feedback for IRC’s thought leadership
Idea Generation and Evaluation of existing R&D Projects
- Drive an intensive 3 month “idea generation process” including problem identification, design & ideation that produces 1-2 high-potential concepts that align with the R&D project criteria. This involves working closely with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, strategists, and design-thinkers
- Generate think pieces on ways of ensuring programs have higher effect size and larger scale, in particular through
- Developing a definition of scale
- Identifying the potential of task shifting
- Assessing the challenges and opportunities of embedding innovation in existing delivery systems
- Examining the potential of chains of private providers as a route to scale
- Examining the potential of behavioural science interventions in the Outcomes and Evidence framework
- Graduate degree in relevant field such as Public Policy, Law or International Relations
- 6-8 years of experience working on complex humanitarian and/or foreign policy issues, preferably in the area of forced migration, refugee protection and/or refugee resettlement
- Demonstrated management experience in planning, implementing and running research and implementation efforts in relevant organizations and contexts
Demonstrated skills and competencies:
- Knowledge of and experience implementing a variety of advocacy tactics to influence policy outcomes
- Strong communication and writing skills and the ability to translate complex and technical material into coherent narratives
- Proven analytical and problem solving skills with confidence distilling data into actionable insights
- Strong presentation skills and ability to communicate with senior leaders
- Cross-functional, generalist skillset to engage with internal and external participants
- Extensive knowledge of international relief and development
- Fluency with key parts of the IRC’s strategy, including the aid community’s journey to become increasingly results and evidence-based
- Ability to handle multiple tasks and projects simultaneously
- Capacity to innovate and problem solve
- Strong personal impact in representing IRC and building networks
Working Environment: Standard office work environment. Up to 10% travel required.