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Manager, Grant Administration

Job Summary

As an essential member of the management team, the Manager provides expert advice related to grant administration and financial management throughout the life cycle of the Centre’s projects/programs. The incumbent is an essential member of the Resources Branch Extended management teams and participates in key strategic and operational discussions. 

Core responsibilities of the Grant Administration Manager include:

  • provide advice and interpretation of project administration policies and grant administration;
  • procedures, including controls and risk mitigation measures, country clearance, and exceptions or deviations to standard policies and procedures;
  • monitor project allocations and research program expenses for the portfolio under their responsibility, in collaboration with the Grant Officers, and advise Responsible Officers, Team Leaders and Program Directors on corrective action as required; 
  • supervise a team of Grant Administration Officers;
  • review all donor agreements, as well as grant agreements requiring significant modification from the standard templates, ensuring Externally Funded Programs are administered respecting the conditions and timelines imposed by the donor(s);
  • conduct institutional risk assessments of recipient institutions;
  • support continuous improvement of policies, processes, procedures and systems.

Additional tasks assigned to some GAD Managers include:

  • Financial analysis, forecasting and reporting with respect to IDRC‘s research program allocations and expenses;
  • Divisional management responsibilities related to budgeting, forecasting, and ad hoc analysis;
  • Project Management and Change Management Support.

Primary Duties and/or Responsibilities

Providing advice and policy interpretation

  • Provide expert advice and guidance with regards to the interpretation and application of IDRC policies and procedures related to project design, risk management, grant administration, and financial management to Grant Officers, Program and Partnership Branch (PPB) and Strategy, Regions and Policy Branch ¸(SRP), including senior managers (VPs and Directors), ensuring stewardship of resources in alignment with corporate priorities.
  • Determine when to liaise with Legal Services (LS) on risks identified within the various grant and donor agreements and negotiations requiring Legal Services involvement, as well as on issues that may arise over the project lifecycle (i.e. breach of contract), ensuring that financial and administrative decisions remain under the purview of GAD.
  • Provide interpretation of IDRC country procedures for the purpose of their application to IDRC-funded projects and within the regions under the Managers responsibility. Accountability includes decided when consultation with Legal Services and Regional Directors is required for reviewing, updating and implementing the country procedures.
  • Participate as a member of the Grant Administration Division and Extended Resource Branch management teams by contributing to the establishment of priorities and implementation of the workplan of the Branch; take a leadership role in GAD and corporate initiatives as well as divisional communications.
  • Collaborate with other divisions to address issues and support an appropriate balance between service delivery and stewardship of resources while always ensuring the protection of IDRC’s reputation.
  • Support program staff orientation, with respect to financial and administrative aspects of project management, in conjunction with PPB and SRP; identifying needs as well as assisting in the delivery of the training.

Monitoring program allocations and Research program expenses

  • Provide advice and participate in the establishment of Programs’ allocation plan and on-going monitoring of allocation, commitment and expenditure performance to support Programs staff in avoiding significant deviations from IDRC’s budget determined by the financial forecasting model.
  • Advise senior managers with respect to the discharge of the annual program allocations, commitments and expenditures, both parliament and donor funded, so as to support the Centre in meeting project expenditure targets.

Supervision of Grant Officers

The Manager is responsible to oversee all aspects related to front-line grant administration done by a team of Grant Officers, from initial planning and project design, preparation of project approval documents, legal agreements, monitoring, through to official project closure. Activities include:

  • Support the Grant Officers (GOs) and Responsible Officers in the initial planning of projects, ensuring due consideration is given to the granting modalities used and factors that could delay commitment of the grant.
  • Assist Grant Officers in the review of project approval documents, as required based on the complexity or value, to ensure compliance with IDRC policies and procedures as well as to ensure that the administrative treatment is commensurate with the recipient administrative and financial risks.
  • Oversee the preparation and communication of legal agreements to recipient institutions and individuals, including providing advice as needed to Grant Officers on the drafting of legal agreement when aspects are escalated.
  • Analyze and recommend changes or approve exceptions in areas such as financial monitoring, risk management, contracting and legal matters in order to ensure the outcome is aligned with the IDRC objectives, policies and procedures.
  • Approve all disbursements charged to projects greater than $100,000 while ensuring consistency with the appropriate policies and procedures and adequate justification for payments. Also approve monthly grant accrual entries prepared by Grant Officers before submission to FAD. 
  • Guide and advise their team in balancing the need for effective service and responsiveness while also maintaining compliance with the objectives, policies and procedures of IDRC and consistency across GO teams.
  • Manage all human resource aspects of their GO team including recruitment, orientation, professional development, planning work and priorities, motivating, and monitoring performance.

Management and Administration of Externally Funded Projects and Programs (EFPs)

  • Provide expert advice to Program staff on the management and administration of donor funded projects/programs in a manner that meets the requirements of the donor institution while aligning with the mandate, priorities and policies of IDRC.
  • Perform the grant administrative review of donor agreements and underlying budgets, ensuring that the donor agreements accurately reflect IDRC’s requirements (legal, financial, administrative, etc.) and that the downstream grant implications are acceptable to IDRC.
  • Develop the appropriate structure for EFPs in consultation with Program Leaders or Program Directors and the Manager, External Fund Management (EFM).
  • Participate in the preparation of EFPs annual budgets to ensure operational and program budgets are established according to the signed donor agreements and IDRC’s approved allocation budget.

Risk Management and Capacity Building

The Manager is responsible for assessing and managing the financial and administrative risks involved in granting funds to recipient institutions. The resulting rating of the Managers’ assessments determines the financial control framework (payment and reporting frequency, as well as any specific mitigations) applied through the terms and conditions of IDRC’s grant agreements. More specifically, the Manager is responsible to:

  • Assess the risk level associated with grantee institutions through the conduct of a risk assessment, generally beginning with a desk assessment based on submitted documents and complemented with a virtual meeting or on-site review as determined.
  • Develop an understanding of the region under their responsibility for risk assessment including government regulations and country/regional intelligence that may impact ease of grant making.
  • Collaborate with Grant Officers and Programs staff to ensure that all significant risks associated with funding research to a recipient institution are identified, documented and mitigated and that the project control framework has built in appropriate milestones for monitoring in order to maximize likelihood of successful project execution.
  • Identify requirements and opportunities for capacity-building within project proponents and recommend measures for consideration by Program Staff to allow for the creation, training and procurement of policies and systems to reduce risks and enhance the financial and administrative strength of our recipients.

Continuous improvement of policies, processes, procedures and systems

  • Monitor and evaluate policies and procedures on an ongoing basis for effectiveness and identify opportunities for enhancement; this includes assessing the impact of changes in policies from other divisions of IDRC to determine the impact on grant administration functions and the required procedure changes.
  • Provide recommendations to address gaps and improve policies and procedures in collaboration with other work units as needed; for policies and procedures related to project administration this requires collaboration with PPB. 
  • Contribute to the formulation of new and revised policies and procedures ensuring business processes and corporate information systems are effectively integrated through collaboration with the impacted divisions and the Office of the VP Resources.
  • Identify business opportunities and requirements to enhance information systems including providing feedback regarding the design of enhancements and identifying resources for user testing.

Additional responsibilities assigned to specific GAD Managers

  • Financial analysis, forecasting and reporting with respect to IDRC‘s research project expenses 
  • Responsible for a range of key tasks related to the financial management of the 
  • Centre’s research project portfolio, working closely with the Analyst, Grant Operations and Systems who provides support for these tasks, including:
    • Compile and analyze data and information to establish research project expense targets and adjust for any approved reallocations, collaborating closely with Partnerships and Programs (PPB) and Strategy, Regions, and Policy (SRP) Branch 
    • Management as well as the External Fund Management unit in the Finance and Administration Division (FAD).
    • Prepare the monthly reports on allocation and expense performance which are key for Centre Management, PPB, SRP and GAD to understand progress and take necessary corrective measures. This includes both detailed reports as well as the executive briefings. 
    • Provide accurate, in-depth and timely analyses and forecasts related to performance against allocation and expense targets to the VP, Resources & CFO to support executive level decision making as well as reporting to the Board of Governors.
    • Provide information and analyses to FAD to support timely and accurate forecasting and publication of quarterly financial report and annual financial statements, including monthly accrual estimates.

Divisional management responsibilities 

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Assist the Director in preparation and monitoring of the ongoing work plan; 
  • Monitor the Division’s operational budget and assist the Director with the quarterly forecasting exercise.
  • Collect data and information; conduct adhoc reviews and analysis to support Divisional decision making.
  • Draft communications for a range of audiences.

Project Management and Change Management Support

Responsibility for project management and change management related both to GAD and Centre-wide initiatives, including:

  • Carry out project management duties in support of divisional initiatives or other Centre initiatives, ensuring a disciplined project management approach is taken that balances rigour with flexibility.
  • In consultation with the Director, draft the related communications for the various stakeholder groups impacted by a project or initiative.
  • Should the project management work involve securing external resources to supplement IDRC staff, prepare the statement of work, leading the procurement process with FAD, and managing the supplier contract.
  • Provide change management leadership for GAD initiatives, as well as Centrewide initiatives impacting GAD. For both large changes and those on a smaller scale, be attuned to the impact on the Division’s work and our support for the Centre’s mandate. 

Job Knowledge


  • University degree in finance, administration or commerce or degree in another discipline with acceptable related experience.
  • Professional accounting designation is an asset. The Centre reserves the right to make the designation mandatory in order to ensure an appropriate combination of education and knowledge within the Grant Administration management team.
  • Certification and/or training in project management and/or change management, also considered an asset


Minimum six years of progressive management and supervisory experience in a range of areas, including:

  • grant/project administration, 
  • financial management, 
  • human resource management,
  • resource planning and monitoring. In addition, experience in 
  • project management and 
  • leading change

Requires an in-depth knowledge of the policies, procedures and practices governing grant administration, as well as an understanding of international development context to provide integrated, expert advice

Job Scope

  • The responsibilities of this position are Corporate-wide in scope. The Manager has the responsibility to oversee the grant administration and financial management functions for the largest portion of IDRC’s expenditures (>$100M annualy across the Division). In fact, more than 80% of IDRC’s expenses are channelled through project or program spending for which the Manager plays an active role in both the initial design and the on-going monitoring of project/program activities. In the discharge of his/her duties, the Manager significantly contributes to the achievements of the strategic and operational goals of IDRC and can play a key role in change management for Divisional and Centre initiatives. Managers may also hold responsibility for the preparation of project and expense reports used corporately. 
  • The incumbent of the position is an active member of the GAD Management and Extended Resource Branch Management teams. As part of this function, the incumbent actively participates in the establishment of priorities and implementation of the workplan of the Branch. This includesestablishing priorities for his/her team, allocating resources and managing performance, as well as playing a leadership role in corporate initiatives. The Manager must collaborate with other divisionsto address issues and support an appropriate balance between service delivery and stewardship of resources.
  • In this role, the Manager is a key senior advisor building on best practices for appropriate project design, implementation, administration, and monitoring in alignment with corporate policies and procedures. The Manager provides advice to Program staff, senior managers and grant administration staff (in Ottawa and the regions), while supporting achievment of corporate targets and stewardship of resources. The advice provided by the Manager covers many fields, including grant administration, risk and financial management, legal, travel and human resources.
  • The Manager is self-sufficient, exercises independent judgment and makes decisions based not only on established policies but also guided by the principles upon which our policies are based using a risk-based lens.
  • The Manager acts on behalf of the Director in their absence