Research and Learning Programme Manager (20-2018)

Hours per week: Full Time, 35 hours per week
Grade: Grade 7
Salary: £35450 to £46856  per annum
Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 10 June 2018
Interview Date: 19/06/2018

Who We Are

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) delivers world-class research, learning and teaching that transforms the knowledge, action and leadership needed for more equitable and sustainable development globally.

Our Vision

We want a more equitable and sustainable world, where people everywhere can live their lives free from poverty and injustice.

What We Do

Through equitable and sustainable partnerships, we work with governments, philanthropic foundations, non-governmental organisations, academics and civil society to transform approaches to progressive social, political and economic change in ways that ultimately make a difference to people’s lives. 

We have helped foster innovative new partnerships that have generated millions of dollars in additional tax revenues in Africa that can be reinvested in countries’ national development. We have worked to provide solutions to environmental problems that build on local people’s knowledge and practices. We have highlighted the role of local communities in bringing an end to deadly epidemics like the Ebola virus.  We have nurtured hundreds of exceptional development leaders and champions including political leaders, country Ambassadors and government officials, civil society leaders and entrepreneurs.

Our reputation for research and international outlook is second to none and reflected in our performance in the latest QS World University Rankings where we are ranked first in the world for development studies, together with the University of Sussex. We are also ranked as the number one international development think-tank by the 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report.

For more information go to:


Job Description

About K4D and other Resource Centre support

The 5 year K4D programme started in October 2016, offering a range of learning activities and evidence and research services. The programme develops interdisciplinary ‘learning journeys’ using a range of approaches to share knowledge and experience across DFID and with other development partners. The research helpdesk service provides high quality syntheses of evidence and knowledge to support policy and programme work. It strengthens the use of evidence and learning in decision-making processes. 

The K4D programme is led by IDS with six partners: University of Birmingham, International Development Department (IDD); Education Development Trust; ITAD; Nuffield Centre for International Health & Development at the University of Leeds; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM); and University of Manchester, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI).

In addition to this programme, IDS also provides Resource Centre support (e.g. research helpdesk, learning events) to a number of other donors, including through programmes such as HEART and GSDRC. This role will continue to manage and fundraise for these and similar programmes.

Overall purpose of the role:

We are seeking to recruit a highly-motivated Research and Learning Programme Manager to join the Knowledge, Impact and Policy team (KIP).

The main focus of the role (80%) will be management of the Evidence and Knowledge for Development (K4D) programme, a five year research and organisational learning programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), currently in its second year. The successful candidate will be responsible for the management arrangements for the evolving programme of research, learning and policy engagement work being carried out by an experienced team based at IDS and six partner organisations. This role also currently includes management, development and fundraising for other resource centre projects, including the research helpdesk (20%).

The Research and Learning Programme Manager will report to the Head of KIP for line management purposes, and to the K4D Programme Director for K4D responsibilities, in a matrix arrangement. The role will work closely with other members of the K4D programme management team (Research Uptake Manager, Learning Journey Manager and Evaluation Manager) across the K4D consortium as well as the programme management team at DFID. Working as a member of a collaborative and supportive team, the post-holder will need the ability and initiative to work autonomously and contribute to the strategic development of K4D’s evidence and learning work and to facilitate effective communication with DFID advisory staff working in research, policy and programming.

This position is exciting and unusual, providing a bridge between academic expertise and those working in donor agencies and government policy and research departments. This is a large and demanding programme, with nearly 20 research and knowledge staff members sitting across multiple locations, collaborating closely as a team. The post requires strong management skills, including managing donor and consortium relationships, fundraising, supporting the strategic development of the programme and helping to strengthen the impact of the programme. It involves liaison with senior development agency staff so an assertive and diplomatic approach to relationships management is essential.

Key Responsibilities of the role:

Programme Management 

People Management 

K4D programme specific:



Person Specification

Skills and experience
Selection Criteria Description Essential [E] or
Desirable [D]
by *
• Excellent knowledge and understanding of current issues and debates in international development
• Knowledge of current thinking and practice on knowledge management and research communication, and use of virtual knowledge sharing tools
• Understanding of the processes of how evidence can inform policy.
• Good understanding of the challenges facing donor agencies working across a range of different thematic areas and countries
• Strong understanding of programme management approaches.
• Ability to strategically oversee and guide all the necessary management functions of a large and complex and adapting programme
• Excellent all-round communication skills, including English language verbal, writing and editing skills, and the ability to tailor material for different formats and communicate specialist knowledge in non-technical language.
• Team management skills including ability to supervise, support, mentor and motivate individual team members, both in IDS and other locations
• Strong project management skills, including financial management.
• Well-organised, with the ability to prioritise work in order to meet competing deadlines
• Diplomacy and a professional approach when dealing with external partners and funders
• A problem-solving approach to be able to strategically design services around learning and evidence needs
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Ability to assimilate complex research or other relevant material quickly, assess its merits, and draw out key messages and implications for policy and practice
• Good research skills, including analytical and synthesis skills
• Developing and managing partnerships with external organisations, subject experts and content providers, ideally having worked to strengthen the capacity of partners.
• The ability to identify suitable funding sources and experience of raising funds in an international context.
• Project management, including financial management – delivering projects to time and to budget, preferably gained in the context of large donor-funded programmes
• People management experience
• Facilitating and/or participating in networks and communities of practice
• Working with or for DFID or other bilateral or multilateral donor agencies D I
• Ability to work in a fast-paced and client-focused environment
• Good sense of networks and diverse contacts across sector
• A proactive attitude and an ability to work both in a team and take initiative independently.
• Ability to recognise potential, build capacity and train others to gain relevant skills
• Flexible approach and ability to cope with change
• Attention to detail and a commitment to the quality of outputs
• Excellent time management skills, with the ability to juggle various tasks, people, demands, etc. at the same time and often to competing deadlines
• Capacity to work across cultural / institutional barriers
• Regular short term UK and occasional international travel E I
Understanding of the processes of how evidence can inform policy. E A
Good understanding of the challenges facing donor agencies working across a range of different thematic areas and countries E A/I
Strong understanding of programme management approaches. E A/I
Excellent knowledge and understanding of current issues and debates in international development E A/I
Knowledge of current thinking and practice on knowledge management and research communication, and use of virtual knowledge sharing tools E A/I
Would you like to be considered for the Grade 6 Knowledge Officer role we are currently recruiting for if you are unsuccessful on this occasion? E A/I
*A - Application I - Interview

Information to Candidates

Benefits At IDS we offer a number of additional benefits to staff. These include:

The successful candidate will be based at the Institute of Development Studies on the University of Sussex campus. The University of Sussex is located 10 minutes away from the lively and cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton on the UK South Coast, 60 minutes away from central London, 30 minutes away from London Gatwick Airport and is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Sussex South Downs. Situated between the sea and the South Downs, Brighton is one of the most vibrant and unique cities on the South Coast, for more information please go to

How to apply

Please apply using the online application form.