Program Officer, Innovation Practice

  • Added Date: Thursday, 20 February 2020
  • Deadline Date: Friday, 20 March 2020

About R4D

Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents around the world — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — to create strong systems that support healthy, educated people. We help our partners move from knowing their goal to knowing how to reach it. We combine global expertise in health, education and nutrition with analytic rigor, practical support for decision-making and implementation and access to peer problem-solving networks. Together with our partners, we build self-sustaining systems that serve everyone and deliver lasting results. Then we share what we learn so others can achieve results for development, too.

We have a unique and vibrant culture at R4D and we want to keep it that way. Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of our work environment and help advance our mission. Diversity—of ideas, identities, perspectives and backgrounds—is vital to who we are and what we do. We seek people who embrace these values and will help reinforce them. Our work culture is collaborative, creative, and entrepreneurial. We operate based on trust and respect. Teams across the organization frequently collaborate on programmatic work and support each other in continuously building a better R4D.

R4D is seeking a Program Officer who will support the rapidly expanding portfolio of the Scaling Innovation practice.

About the Scaling Innovation practice

Finding innovative solutions to complex development challenges is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enable billions to overcome hardship. Innovations in health, education, agriculture, finance, and other sectors have been vital in the life-saving and life-improving breakthroughs of recent times. Where inadequate practices slow progress, more effective approaches need to be found.

Through R4D’s wider programming, our Scaling Innovation practice connects with a wide diversity of actors at global, regional and country levels committed to doing development differently. In partnership, we facilitate the design, testing and scaling of new solutions to complex challenges. We also provide thought leadership through our unique position managing two highly respected global innovation initiatives: the International Development Innovation Alliance, a platform bringing together senior leadership from the innovation teams of leading development agencies; and the Global Innovation Exchange, the world’s largest database of development innovations.

Over the years, R4D’s approach to scaling innovation has continued to evolve—e.g., from building global knowledge and networking platforms that identify and document innovative programs around the world, to generating new evidence on the scale, scope and results of innovations, to bringing innovators under networks of practitioners that enable collaborative learning and adaptation, and to creating improved linkages between innovators and potential supporters (both donors and governments). This continuous iteration, experimentation, and learning have allowed R4D to accumulate important practical experience and insights about the broader field (what’s working and what isn’t in integrating innovations into systems) and the needs and priorities of target audiences (i.e., innovators, funders, country governments).


R4D is seeking a Program Officer (PO) to work on our growing portfolio of projects and initiatives within the Scaling Innovation practice, specifically the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) and its signature training course: Managing Innovation for Impact.

Drawing on their broad knowledge and experience of international development, the Program Officer will contribute to advancing R4D’s thought leadership and expertise around the potential for innovation to deliver greater impact in development interventions. Operating as part of a small and dynamic team, the Program Officer will use strong communication and organizational skills to engage with senior innovation leaders from donor agencies of IDIA, but also with contractors and across other teams within R4D as part of our matrixed working environment to ensure the effective transfer and application of organizational learning.

With a proven ability to quickly analyse the needs of our partners and projects, predict / assess challenges and propose creative solutions, s/he will be comfortable working under their own initiative and producing quality outputs of different kinds to tight deadlines. S/he will also be given autonomy to drive different elements within the design and execution of the training course, which will require them to flex and manage the application of their skills across many different areas including relationship management, logistics and event planning, financial reporting and independent desk research.

As R4D expands its UK and European network of partners and supporters, the Program Officer will also have the opportunity to demonstrate their own entrepreneurial spirit in identifying opportunities for business development and expansion of the innovation practice portfolio.

This position is based in Washington, DC and will report to the Senior Program Director.


  • Working closely with the Training Director, map and oversee all operational and programmatic activities of the IDIA Training: Managing Innovation for Impact; manage planning and implementation to ensure the training programme achieves outcomes and produces contracted grant deliverables.
  • Engage and manage contractors and consultants who comprise the professional team focused on the training, including faculty for the course, funders, and evaluation specialists; ensure contractor deliverables are of high quality and are effectively integrated into the overall training programme of work.
  • Effectively manage the administrative and logistical activities associated with each instance of the IDIA Training in different global locations with a diversity of participants.
  • Provide on-site support for programmatic execution of some instances of the training (e.g. facilitation, site visits).
  • Engage and support course participants from low and middle-income countries around the world in preparation for the course and in post-training activities.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other R4D teams (principally in Health, Nutrition, Education and Adaptive Learning) to ensure the integration and alignment of activities under R4D’s evolving strategy for the Scaling Innovation practice.
  • Provide general support to the Innovation Practice through the production of presentations, concept notes, briefing materials, and other products on topics related to development innovation that will help keep R4D’s innovation practice informed of key trends and advances within this fluid and fast-moving space.
  • Support the efficient and timely management of project budgets and reporting.
  • Help the Innovation Practice identify and build relationships and business development opportunities to engage with innovation funders and key stakeholders within the UK and Europe.


  • Postgraduate degree in international development / development studies or relevant field (e.g. social anthropology or development economics).
  • 6+ years of relevant work experience with development agencies / institutions, especially in client-facing roles.
  • A demonstrated knowledge of global and international development issues, and proven experience of building / managing relationships with different actors in this landscape.
  • Examples of work that illustrate excellent writing, editing, presentation and inter-personal skills; confident and flexible communication skills, including the ability to prepare compelling presentations or briefing notes and present concepts in a way that is easily understood.
  • Experience working effectively in a team, and ensuring quality deliverables or implementation from diverse teams, including those who are more senior or more experienced.
  • Experience in event design/planning and implementation.
  • Ability to prioritize and manage diverse tasks across multiple projects to meet competing time and resource demands.
  • Knowledge / experience of different tools, frameworks and approaches to innovation (e.g. Human Centered Design, Agile/Lean Impact methodologies) and the factors influencing their pathway to scale (preferred).
  • Large or small group facilitation experience (preferred).
  • High level of personal organization, professionalism and reliability in contributing both independently and as a team member.
  • Enthusiasm, energy, good judgement, humour and the ability to thrive (rather than survive) in a fast-paced and sometimes ambiguous environment.
  • Willingness to travel internationally (approximately 3-4 trips per year).

Interested candidates should submit their CV (max. two pages) and cover letter.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early applications are strongly encouraged.

This vacancy is archived.

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