Research and Learning Lead

Christian Aid , Christmas Island
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Job Summary

Job Description

Salary will be dependant on country location. If based in London Office an additional £4,170 London Allowance will be added to the yearly salary.

About Us

Christian Aid is an international development charity that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty, and for this to happen unequal power relations need to be challenged and changed.

We work in partnership to eradicate extreme poverty; dismantle its root causes across the world; and enable the voice and agency of the poor and marginalised to be fully realised. We deliver humanitarian assistance, in the wake of disasters and conflict, development programmes and policy, advocacy and campaigns so that poor and marginalised children, women and men, of all faiths and non, can achieve equality, dignity and justice.

This role sits in the Programme Policy, Research and Learning team (PPRL); and leads the Research, Evidence and Learning (REL) hub. REL has a dual mandate – to strengthen Christian Aid’s capabilities on research and evidence; and to influence wider sector thinking on development research. Team members deliver capacity development opportunities, provide technical support and advice, and work in collaboration with staff across the organisation to capture programme learning, and design and deliver research. By sharing our learning and research we work to shift power in development research with a view to making it more inclusive of diverse and often excluded perspectives, and more responsive to the realities, practices and needs of those working and living in the global south. Key to this is to build Christian Aid’s profile as an organisation that produces credible research, through our own research outputs, and in collaboration with academics and research institutes, especially those based in the global south.

About the role

This role line manages the six members of the REL hub; three advisors (on capacity development, evidence and impact, and research communications) a thematic research specialist, and 2 fixed term posts (a research funding manager and a research associate); and provides strategic leadership and vision for the team, to enable team members to balance practical support to Christian Aid in its evidencing work, with the wider influencing aims: of shifting power in development research.

In addition to strategic leadership and operational management of the team, this role is designed to strengthen Christian Aid’s ability to develop research partnerships at national and regional level across our African programmes, working with country teams to support them to think through the types of research partnerships which would be useful for their humanitarian, development and advocacy programmes. This includes 10 African country programmes working on a variety of themes: Climate, governance, health, markets and livelihoods, and gender; in development and humanitarian contexts.

About you

We are looking for an exceptional individual who is passionate about practitioner led research, and the value of research for development impact. You will understand the dynamics of development programmes, while also feeling confident in engaging with academics and forging partnerships in both NGO and academic sectors. You will provide leadership on how to integrate research into the programme management cycle and design research to be useful for practitioners. You will feel as comfortable working with Christian Aid staff and partners as you are engaging with policy makers on issues of research funding and research agenda setting, and you will share our vision of shifting power in research so that the voices of those working with or living in poverty can be better heard.

Equally important will be your leadership and interpersonal skills, your ability to build strong relationships and work across different departments, appreciating a diversity of cultures, workstyles and perspective. You will thrive on learning and developing with others, enjoy facilitation and creating space to promote critical thinking and learning from practice. You will have experience of working as an advisor, be confident at team management and at managing your own workload and competing priorities.

You will have extensive experience in building research partnerships, particularly with African academics based in at least one of the countries where Christian Aid works. You will understand the politics of these, and have experience in creating mutually beneficial partnerships that value the skills, expertise, knowledge and motivations that different actors (both academic and practitioner) bring. You will be passionate about the wider politics in development research, working at both the operational and strategic level to create a more enabling environment for inclusive, diverse, responsive, useful and accessible research which builds from the knowledge and experience of development practitioners and the people they are working with – ie those living in poverty in the global south.

Further information

This role requires applicants to have the right to work in the country where this position is based.

We value diversity and aspire to reflect this in its workforce. We welcome applications from people from all sections of the community, irrespective of race, colour, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief.

Christian Aid is committed to providing a safe and trusted environment for every person connected to the work we do; and to preventing any type of unwanted behaviour including sexual harassment and exploitation, abuse, and financial misconduct. Any candidate offered a job with Christian Aid is expected to share and demonstrate our values, and adhere to Christian Aid’s Safeguarding policy and sign Christian Aid’s Code of Conduct.

You can expect a wide range of rewards and benefits, including a generous holiday allowance, a season ticket loan, and flexibility that will ensure you enjoy a good work/life balance.

Competency questions

As part of your application you will be asked to demonstrate your suitability by giving answers to the following questions:

  • Partnership: Please tell us about a time that you built a research partnership. What were the key factors you considered in developing this partnership; what was your motivation for the partnership and what roles did the different actors play?
  • Communication: Please tell us about a piece of research you designed that had an impact on policy or practice. Why was this piece of research impactful?
  • Realising potential: A colleague in a country programme wants to commission an impact assessment as part of their work on climate and comes to you for advice.

  • What questions would you ask them to understand more about their plans?

  • In thinking about designing such a study what would be your five top pieces of advice? (please use bullet points for your answer)