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Director of Program Area

Job Summary

The Director of a Program Area is accountable to the Vice President of the Program and Partnership Branch for providing strategic intelligence, intellectual leadership and the overall management of the Program Areas personnel (20-35 staff per Program Area).

Primary Duties or Responsibilities

Program Planning and Development

  • Contributes, as a member of Senior Management Committee (SMC), to developing the Corporate Strategy and Program Framework and the annual Program of Work and Budget, including the allocation of the Centre’s total budget, and directs the effective deployment of human and financial resources to the Program Area;
  • Contributes as a Member of the Branch Management Committee to ensure effective and timely information sharing and discussion amongst fellow Director of a Program Areas (DPAs). The Director of Partnership and Business Development, the Director of the Special Initiatives Division and the Branch Vice President (VP);
  • Obtains, synthesizes and communicates strategic and programme intelligence and promotes its effective utilization in the design and execution of the Program Area and the Centre’s Corporate Strategic and Program Framework;
  • Provides intellectual and scientific leadership in research for development within the Program Area;
  • Identifies innovative research areas for centre support within the Program Area; and
  • Identifies and builds synergies within and across IDRC’s Program Areas and with Research and Development partners in the North (with special reference to Canada) and the South.

Management within the Program Matrix

  • Supervises the work of the Program Leaders of Program Initiatives and Corporate Projects that fall within the Program Area and is responsible for the oversight and approval of annual Team Work Plans;
  • Is responsible for the allocation of the Centre’s travel budget to Program Initiative (PI) Teams to support their Annual Work Plan;
  • Manages the professional, technical and support staff in the Program Area, both in Ottawa and in the regions, and assures responsibility for recruitment, assignment, orientation, performance appraisal and professional development in consultation with other DPAs, Regional Directors (RDs) and Program Leaders;
  • Serves as a member of the Performance Review and Assessment System (PRAS) Review Committee, chaired by the VP;
  • Ensures the successful execution of activities within the Program Area that are not directly managed by Program Leaders or the Executive Directors of Secretariats such as special projects, explorations and orphan projects;
  • Interacts regularly with RDs and colleagues in the Program and Partnership Branch and the Policy and Planning Group to strengthen the coherence of IDRC’s overall program and ensure that IDRC’s Matrix management structure operates efficiently and effectively;
  • Manages and facilitates the interactions of the Program and Partnership Branch with other units in the President’s Office and Resources Branch as they relate to the Program Area; and
  • Contributes to policy development, planning, management and evaluation of program and administrative activities at the corporate and regional levels.

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Provides assistance to the Evaluation Unit and Program Leaders in the planning of evaluation activities which maximize corporate learning and ensures implementation and follow-up on their results; and
  • Provides leadership and support to Program Leaders to evaluate better PI management practices and promotes them within the Centre.

Resource Expansion (RX)

  • Plays a leading role, in collaboration with Donor Partnership Division (DPD), in identifying new opportunities for RX and partnering and in designing and implementing the Centre’s resource expansion plans within his/her Program Area, either through co- or parallel funding.

Dissemination/Closing the Loop

  • Actively leads, promotes and supports activities that increase the awareness, understanding and ownership of research outputs by a range of decision makers and society in general, thus enhancing the influence of the work that IDRC supports.


  • DPAs serve as the President’s designate on the Steering Committees of Ottawa-based secretariats attributed to the Program area, and act, upon request, as the President’s representative at national and international fora;
  • Represents and advances IDRC’s views and interests at senior levels of international agencies and other major donors;
  • Delivers substantive contributions in international science fora on major issues related to the Program Area; and
  • Promotes IDRC’s image and relationships at senior levels of Canadian government, universities and scientific organizations to help ensure the participation by Canadians in the Centre’s work.


Direct Supervision

Program Initiative Program Leaders and Executive Assistant

Indirect Supervision

Program Officers in Ottawa and Regions, Research Officers in Ottawa and Regions, and Program Assistants