Director of Programme – Politics and Governance

Programme/ Department: Politics and Governance

Contract Type: Full time, Permanent

Salary: £64,888 - £79,538

Location: Overseas Development Institute

Hours: 35 hours per week

Closing Date: 15 March 2020

Interview: TBC

Assessment: TBC

Director of Programme – Politics and Governance

Contract: Permanent

Salary: £64,888 - £79,538

Location: London

Ref: POGO-0220


An independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable

and peaceful world in which every person thrives.


About ODI


ODI is an independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives. We harness the power of evidence and ideas through research and partnership to confront challenges, develop solutions and create change. (


We are looking for a Director of Programme to lead a team of researchers, technical advisors, and strategic communications professionals seeking to understand how politics and power shape development, conflict and fragility, and using those lessons to help donors and aid implementers improve their systems and approaches. You will drive team collaboration across our thematic areas, lead policy influencing, and oversee research projects.


About the Politics and Governance team


Within ODI, the Politics and Governance team addresses how politics and power shape development, conflict and fragility. We help partners understand and navigate the politics of the places they work, the issues they deal with, and the organisations and systems they operate within, identifying levers for change that can deliver on aid’s promise of empowering the poor and sustaining peace.


Building on decades of empirical research on governance, fragility, and ways of working in the aid sector, we work with a variety of donors and implementers on how to move towards more agile and politically smart ways of working, and how to measure the impact of complex aid programmes. Our work provides a constructive critique of SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), looking beyond the formal state to explore the role and function of justice, inclusion, and violence. We research political settlements; the political economy of justice, service delivery, and the aid industry; the dynamics of inclusion and legitimacy in democracies and fragile and conflict affected situations; and how bureaucracies (beyond aid agencies) take decisions, adapt to changing contextual realities, and use new technology.

We use these perspectives and more to influence global debates in two main areas: migration, and fragility. We contribute to cross-institute work shaping the international governance of migration and displacement, building on our team’s research on migrant and refugee decision-making and the relationship between migration and development. Drawing on our largescale empirical research on conflict, livelihoods, and governance reform we work with our colleagues in the humanitarian and public finance fields to help policy makers understand the dynamics of fragility and post-conflict recovery.

Our projects range from long-term empirical research programmes with partners around the world, to advisory services on embedded political economy analysis; programme design, theories of change and MEL systems; and innovative approaches to operationalizing the evidence from research. A sample of our ongoing projects includes:

  • The Learning Evidence and Advocacy Partnership in DFID Nigeria’s Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL). ODI researches the impact of governance and service delivery programming, lessons for future large adaptive programmes, and provides technical advice on learning approaches.
  • Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium a ten-year global research programme on livelihoods, basic services and social protection in conflict-affected situations (South Sudan, Uganda, DRC, Afghanistan and Pakistan).
  • Lessons for Peace, drawing lessons from past engagement in Afghanistan and peace processes globally to advise policy makers and stakeholders in Kabul and national capitals.


About you


As Director of Programme you will lead the team and drive a forward-looking vision that enables ODI to innovate in our research and deliver an evidence-backed critique of development norms and discourse and shape policy and practice, especially on fragility. In your first months you would lead a review of the politics and governance team’s cross-institutional offer on politics, governance, and conflict to ensure coherence, focus and appropriate linkages with other ODI programme teams. You will oversee the management of the projects in our portfolio and build an alliance of donors willing to engage meaningfully on lessons from complex programmes and in fragile and conflict affected situations.


You will be a strong believer in values-driven leadership, and be interested in how to lead diverse teams well and support the professional development of colleagues (including mentoring junior researchers), whilst also having a passion for research and driving substantive change in our sector. You will be able to lead projects in your thematic area of expertise, represent ODI in policy influencing and public affairs work, and develop and fundraise for new projects. You will have worked or lived in a variety of contexts to inform your understanding how change happens, and have deep knowledge in our field.


You’ll also have:


  • A degree and post-graduate qualification in a relevant discipline, such as governance or conflict
  • Extensive knowledge of governance or conflict issues, ideally stemming from a long history of research
  • Knowledge of policy processes in development, and how research can inform policy and practice, especially in fragile and conflict affected situations
  • Significant management experience including of programmes, strategic and operational plans, and finances
  • Significant experience of working with partners in developing countries and fragile and conflict affected situations
  • Exceptional written and oral communications skills



Closing date: 15 March 2020


Interview date: TBC



As this role may require you to work with children or vulnerable adults (for research purposes) a DBS check will be required for a successful candidate.


For more information, please download an application pack from here. If you are experiencing difficulties downloading, please telephone 020 7922 8234 or email



ODI is an equal opportunities employer                                                                                          Charity Reg. No.228248

Apply now