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African Economic Research Consortium Job Vacancy : Director Research

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African Economic Research Consortium, established in 1988, is a premier capacity building institution in the advancement of research and training to inform economic policies in sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the most active Research and Capacity Building Institutions (RCBIs) in the world, with a focus on Africa. AERC’s mission rests on two premises: First, that development is more likely to occur where there is sustained sound management of the economy. Second, that such management is more likely to happen where there is an active, well-informed cadre of locally-based professional economists to conduct policy-relevant research. AERC builds that cadre through a programme that has three primary components: research, training and policy outreach. The organization has now emerged as a premier capacity building network institution integrating high quality economic policy research, postgraduate training and policy outreach within a vast network of researchers, universities and policy makers across Africa and beyond.

SRI has been retained by African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) to conduct a search for a suitably qualified individual to undertake the position of The Director Research, a crucial position in the growing organisation.

The Director Research provides the overall intellectual leadership and guidance for the Research Programme and ensures that the AERC’s research agenda is of the highest quality and relevance to the economic and policy needs of Africa. In this respect, the Director must actively manage the capacity-building and research aspects of the Research programme.

The Director contributes to the development and implementation of the resource mobilisation strategy with reference to the Consortium’s Research programmes and collaborates with the Resource Mobilisation and Donor Relations Unit to ensure that donor monitoring and evaluation requirements are met. The Director is also responsible for ensuring all other reporting requirements for the Research activities. S/he is a member of the Senior Management Team and supports the Executive Director in promoting teamwork and collaboration, performance standards, and a value for money culture across the Secretariat.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The selected candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

Research Programme management

  • Providing leadership in the strategic development and evolution of the Research Programme through active management Programme activities, ensuring they respond to the longer-term needs of sub Saharan Africa’s needs for research, teaching economic management and that the training provided is of the highest standards.
  • Initiating, innovating and developing activities aimed at improving the scope and quality of Research for individual and institutional capacity building, taking into account the needs of under-represented groups and countries.
  • Monitoring changes in the structure, content and financing of policy relevant research in Sub Saharan Africa and globally with particular reference to their possible impact in the policy-making context in Africa.
  • As part of strategic planning, monitors the economic policy environment and continuously updates the Research programmes to make them responsive. In addition, the Director contributes to the   retention of professionals in sub Saharan Africa in positions that make effective use of their professional skills and knowledge.
  • Overseeing the management and implementation of the Thematic and Collaborative Research programmes.
  • Playing a lead role in the substantive content of the AERC senior policy seminars and in collaboration with Training facilitate the execution of the seminars.
  • Ensuring that reports on research activities are provided to the AERC Board, donors, Programme Committee and management as required.

Liaison with AERC network

Networking with senior African and non-African researchers and academics as well as with relevant African national, regional and international institutions, to ensure continued relevance of Research activities and a high profile for the Consortium.

Enhancing collaboration among African institutions and scholars engaged in economic. Establishing and actively maintaining close links with national policy research institutes both to promote economics Research within their structures and to promote frontier research into issues bearing on economic development in Sub Saharan Africa.

Serve as Secretary to the AERC Programme Committee and its sub-committee on Research in facilitating their activities including the review of submissions for individual and institutional grant support and attachments.

Identifying and recommending new resource persons, ensuring regular renewal and turnover of Resource Persons for adequate support to Thematic and Collaborative Research programmes.

Management and coordination

  • Overall responsibility for the management of the Research Department, including financial management of activities and generally overseeing day to day activities, including the supervision of a small staff team.
  • Ensuring that the Research Department serves the Consortium in line with established policies and procedures using internal and external performance criteria and within a value for money culture.
  • Contributing to the development and implementation of the resource mobilisation strategy with reference to the Consortium’s Research programmes and collaborating with the Resource Mobilisation and Donor Relations Unit to ensure that donor monitoring and evaluation requirements are met and that any indicated changes are implemented.
  • Liaising as necessary with the entire Secretariat to ensure the smooth functioning and high performance of AERC, particularly exploiting successful linkages between AERC’s Research and training activities.
  • Playing an active part in outreach activities and coordinating with the Communications Department as needed, including on the posting of Research information and results on the AERC website.
  • Exercising such managerial responsibilities, including performance management of staff in the department, administrative back-up and serving as Officer in Charge as may be delegated from time to time by the Executive Director.

Secondary Responsibilities

  • Undertake any other duties as directed by the Executive Director.

Required Experience and Qualifications:


PhD in Economics and a track record in economic research as well as experience in graduate teaching of economics in Africa

Relevant Experience

  • At least 10 years relevant experience, including management and teaching experience at university level.
  • Solid publication record in economic research in internationally recognised peer reviewed journals.
  • International working experience in respected institutions or multi-layered think-tanks.
  • Fundraising and resource mobilization for research programs.
  • High level networking at national, regional and global levels.
  • Project management experience.
  • Experience in managing a professional team of researchers and senior researchers.
  • Has clear understanding of the challenges facing economic research in Africa.

Key Skills and Competencies

  • Strategic thinking, leadership and management skills
  • Good financial management skills
  • Good knowledge of information and communication technology and computerized management systems
  • Well-organized and able to multi task and meet deadlines
  • Excellent interpersonal, networking and negotiating skills including diplomacy
  • Excellent people management skills
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Excellent report writing skills
  • Computer literacy including standard office applications such as MS Office packages Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Internet
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Excellent judgment in analyzing data and information
  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Good team player
  • Ability and willingness to travel widely in Africa
  • Ability to work in French would be an asset

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position with the successful candidate being contracted on a five-year basis with the possibility of renewal.   Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. A pension plan, life and medical insurances are included in the benefits package.

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