Call for Interest for Temporary Assignment – Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D), Italy At International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


Closing date: Thursday, 25 May 2023

Job Title : Call for Interest for Temporary Assignment – Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D), RIA – Re-Advertisement

ID : 11254

Location : Italy

Date of issue : 05/17/2023

Close Date : 05/26/2023

Organizational Unit : Research and Impact Assessment

Full/Part Time : Full-Time

Regular/Temporary : Regular

Assignment Duration : 1 Year

Grade : P-4

Organizational Setting

This Call for Interest is for a Temporary Professional Officer (TPO) for the duration of 12 month position, which is a short-term contract. The appointment of a short-term staff member carries no expectation of continuous employment or conversion to any other type of appointment with IFAD.

The Strategy and Knowledge Department (SKD) provides expert guidance on IFAD’s strategic direction, thematic priorities and technical quality of IFAD operations. It plays a critical role in providing technical expertise to operational teams to enhance development effectiveness by generating and disseminating IFAD’s development knowledge and evidence on strategic themes, and encouraging innovative application of cutting-edge global knowledge and evidence in IFAD investments to help countries tackle their most complex development challenges in fostering inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. SKD is composed of the: (i) Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division (ECG); (ii) Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division (PMI); and (iii) Research and Impact Assessment Division (RIA).

Within SKD, RIA is the research, data, knowledge and evidence generation arm of IFAD. By systematically assessing the impact of IFAD investments and through research, RIA produces evidence and knowledge to support the design of new projects/programs, and to inform advice and strategies aimed at achieving low emission climate resilient rural development and food system transformations. It also focuses on strengthening IFAD’s capacity to influence dialogue on rural development globally by systematically assessing the impact of IFAD investments and through analysing the context in which IFAD operates. Working with partners inside and outside IFAD, RIA conducts research on relevant themes, such as agricultural and rural transformation, economic mobility and social inclusion, climate and environment and resilience. It also supports innovative agricultural research topics through the Agriculture Research for Development (AR4D) financing window. RIA provides advice and support services throughout the data cycle to:

  •  a) Assess data needs, availability and demand (work with RIA’s stakeholders to evaluate data needs and devise a plan on how to meet them);
  •  b) Facilitate data collection (provide advice on approaches, tools and methods) and collect data for specific purposes (e.g. Impact Assessments)
  •  c) Produce and mobilize the creation of Knowledge Products (to meet the demand of different stakeholders):
    •  Advocacy materials for engagement of the general public (Knowledge Type 1),
    •  Policy support outputs to foster policy and decision making (knowledge Type 2),
    •  Technical articles to validate research and innovation and contribute to the Global pool of scientific knowledge and for purposes of reputational enhancement (Knowledge Type 3)
  •  d) Promote knowledge dissemination (workshops, training, technical assistance and international Conference on knowledge and use dissemination)

The Senior Technical Specialist works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance of the Director, RIA and under the direct supervision of the Lead Technical Specialist

Job Role

The Senior Technical Specialist serves as IFAD’s technical expert in his/her area of expertise. S/he supports country/regional programs by providing state-of-the-art global technical advice throughout the project cycle (strategic and operational), as well as contributes to the corporate agenda, in his/her technical area of expertise. Within his/her areas of responsibility, the Senior Technical Specialist exercises a high degree of independence in providing reliable programme delivery. The incumbent at this level performs the full complexity range of work independently, including the analysis and approval of complex and/or precedent setting cases with the aim to ensure cohesion and synergy in the application of technical advice and provision of programme development support. S/he works collaboratively with the thematic Technical Specialists, Country Directors (CD)/Heads of Multi-country Offices (MCO) and other staff to ensure consistency.

The Senior Technical Specialist is an expert and knowledge builder in her/his thematic specialization. S/he provides technical expertise and guidance on generating and using new ideas to enrich the knowledge base that supports the Fund’s policy agenda. With corporate, rather than country or regional specific focus, s/he provides substantive contribution to understanding future trends in rural development strengthening IFAD’s strategic planning perspective and pro-actively fostering innovative and effective solutions to rural poverty within country programmes, IFAD policy, member governments, the academic community, and public opinion in the international development community. Work at this level is characterized by technical leadership in field of specialization in collaboration with professional and support staff of a unit or by the provision of authoritative technical advice. S/he works collaboratively with SKD technical specialists (both in PMI and ECG) to ensure consistency, cohesion and synergy in the application of technical advice and provision of programme development support facilitating knowledge flows and building of communities of practices.

Position specifics: The Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D) is responsible for management of AR4D Grants portfolio (currently worth USD 70m). Specifically this role provides the oversight and coordination of all aspects of AR4D delivery including: (i) development of AR4D grants management strategy; (ii) working closely with the AR4D team, PMI/ECG/PMD/FCD to review lessons from the overall AR4D programme and incorporate lessons learned as appropriate in setting progressive priorities and in new operations; (iii) provide operational leadership to IFAD in the development of AR4D grant operations; and (iv) play a key role in the design of future AR4D programmes and ensuring that all activities are executed to a high standard, on time and on budget. This role also represents SKD and IFAD with external audiences and positions the Fund in relation potential AR4D grant opportunities.

Under the supervision of the Director of RIA, the Senior Technical Specialist(AR4D)will work closely with ECG, PMI and other IFAD departments (PMD, GPR) to support resource mobilization opportunities for AR4D. In addition, s/he works closely with FCD/FMD/LEG in management of AR4D supplementary funds mobilized for AR4D initiatives to ensure prudent utilization of funds disbursed to grant recipients.

Key Functions and Results

1. SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVICE: The Senior Technical Specialist provides technically authoritative advice to improve the IFAD’s capacity to position itself as an influential global player in these domains, and to improve related national government policies and programmes, ensuring IFAD is regarded as a trusted and valued partner. Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to: (a) providing IFAD staff and partners with up-to-date professional advice on policy, institutional and technical issues; (b) contributing to ensuring that IFAD senior management is regularly and adequately briefed to engage effectively in high-level fora with policy implications for rural transformation; and (c) providing senior-level technical expertise to the preparation of knowledge products aimed at advancing IFAD’s voice in the global debate on rural transformation, in close collaboration within SKD and other IFAD departments.

2. KNOWLEDGE AND ADVISORY SERVICES: The Senior Technical Specialist enhances the development of viable and sustainable policies, and supports regional and global thematic input, through authoritative technical knowledge sharing for her/his area of specialization. S/he will ensure access to the latest sources of knowledge and innovation, strengthening of technical capacity, and establishment of new knowledge and advisory partnerships. Accountabilities may include, but are not limited to: (i) supporting intelligence gathering and analysis of debates relevant to inclusive and sustainable rural transformation in the global debate and facilitating knowledge sharing and experiences in this area within SKD, IFAD and among other stakeholders in the global arena; (ii) supporting the coordination of relevant knowledge development and dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned with external partners and stakeholders (including regional and national institutions) through seminars, workshops and the publication of Occasional Papers, journal articles, and electronic media, as well as the development of new knowledge products and operational tools informed by learning from the field; (iii) participating in IFAD-wide thematic discussions and developing appropriate technical and operation approaches of relevance to country/divisional strategies and programmes; and (iv) planning and leading learning events to strengthen IFAD’s knowledge and capacity to engage in global debates with policy implications for rural transformation.

3. PARTNERSHIP BUILDING AND OUTREACH ACTIVITIES: The Senior Technical Specialist develops and maintains a network of strategic partnerships that can help advance IFAD’s mandate and messages around rural transformation in the global debate. S/he develops peer contacts inside and outside IFAD to keep up-to-date on activities at country and regional levels, support joint advocacy, and share knowledge to enhance the Fund’s profile as a highly competent and viable partner in development. Accountabilities may include: (a) building strategic partnerships with centers of excellence, complementary technical organizations, and specialized departments of other development institutions (including United Nations agencies, International Financial Institutions, bilateral cooperation agencies, non-governmental organizations, etc.); (b) strengthening IFAD’s representation and communication in policy processes, including representing IFAD at international, regional, and inter-agency meetings, seminars and conferences; and (c) developing and cultivating alliances in key global policy fora to strengthen IFAD’s influence over time, with a strategic focus on specific themes.

4. MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: The Senior Technical Specialist is accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources. This includes, among others, people management through support to recruitment of technical specialists and technical leadership/capacity development, coaching and mentoring of new and/or more junior staff, supervisory role and evaluation of performance of professionals and general service staff under his/her purview.

5. MONITORING, EVALUATION AND REPORTING: The Senior Technical Specialist supports the Director/Lead Technical Specialists in knowledge management and other monitoring and reporting activities to enhance country level programme and funding decisions

6. PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT The Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D) accountabilities may include:

  •  Management/oversight of existing new AR4D contribution agreements and specific grant agreement to recipient organizations,
  •  Overall responsibility for the full portfolio of AR4D grants – this includes the whole grants life cycle, from grant design, selection, start up, implementation through to grant closure, ensuring compliance with internal procedures and contribution agreements
  •  Regularly reviewing progress made by grant recipients against the agreed targets. This involves coordinating the day to day inputs of the Grants Officer and Grants and Finance Officer, and inputs from Finance and Country Programmes teams to ensure smooth grant implementation,
  •  In consultation with GPR, manage relations with partners and grant recipients to ensure optimal performance in delivery of pipeline research projects – including maintaining frequent and timely contact with grant recipients to ensure projects are implemented in accordance with annual work plans and budgets plans,
  •  Prepare TORs, mobilise and manage consultants and participate in project monitoring and supervision,
  •  Manage and provide mentorship to staff/consultants reporting to him/her, promote peer-to peer learning and facilitate training as required.
  •  Ensure knowledge capture through enabling collection and synthesis of quality data from field research projects and preparation and dissemination of knowledge products

7. STAFF MANAGEMENT The Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D) accountabilities may include:

  •  Manage the grants management staff under his/her direct supervision, create supportive environment and provide direction around expected standards of professionalism and quality of outputs,
  •  Support the team in the delivery of programme activities, coordinate regular meetings and assist in problem solving,
  •  Act as a sounding board for ideas/innovation and seek to optimise team members’ professional potential,
  •  Undertake required HRD tasks following all appropriate IFAD policies and procedures.

8. PARNERSHIP BUILDING AND RESOURCE MOBILISATION

The Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D) develops and maintains a network of peer contacts inside and outside IFAD to keep up-to-date on AR4D, to support joint advocacy and for knowledge sharing to enhance the Fund’s profile as a highly competent and viable partner in development. Accountabilities may include:

  •  Identify and assist in the programming of new sources of funding in the thematic area to complement and diversify AR4D portfolio
  •  Prepare, coordinate, revise and/or finalise selected supplementary funded proposals and/or concept notes and their project preparation grants for approval;
  •  Building partnerships with EC and complementary technical organizations, CGIAR, CAADP ex pillar IV organisations, Universities, research institutes, NGOs, and specialized departments of other development agencies as potential operational and strategic partners at regional and country levels;
  •  Strengthening IFAD’s representation and communication in policy and technical dialogue/processes and strategy issues (including representing IFAD at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars, conferences etc.)
  •  Capture lessons and contribute to the preparation of knowledge management products, including technical documents, inputs to events and global initiatives and the organization of relevant events as needed;

9. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT

The Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D) enhances the development of viable and sustainable policy and project development at the country-level and supports regional and global thematic programmes. S/He will ensure country-level specialists access to the latest sources of knowledge and innovation, strengthen national/partners capacity and establish new knowledge and advisory partnerships. Accountabilities may include:

  •  Capture lessons and contribute to the preparation of knowledge management products, including technical documents, inputs to events and global initiatives and the organization of relevant events as needed;
  •  Coordinate with other operational divisions in IFAD to develop synergies between AR4D and IFAD projects in countries. S/He works closely with PMI, ECG and CDs to ensure that research and innovation are contributing to IFAD projects
  •  Shares knowledge and experiences generated through project results and activities under AR4D grants and AR4D programmes.
  •  Coordinates relevant knowledge development and dissemination with institutions outside of IFAD, disseminating knowledge and lessons learned with outside partners and stakeholders through publication, seminars and workshops, through electronic media and the development of new knowledge products and operational tools that are informed by learning from the field; and
  •  Participating in IFAD-wide thematic discussions and developing appropriate technical and operation approaches of relevance to the country/divisional strategies and programmes.

10. MONITORING, EVALUATION AND REPORTING

The Senior Technical Specialist (AR4D) supports the Director and RIA in knowledge management and other monitoring and reporting activities to enhance IFAD programme and funding decisions as well improved results and impact monitoring. Accountabilities may include:

  •  Coordinate the implemention of M&E plan with the adoption of results-based management approaches and methodologies
  •  Ensure performance indicators are clearly defined, expressed quantitatively, and linked to effective verification means
  •  Supports the Director in his/her reporting of the divisional plans and operational strategies to senior management.

Key Performance Indicators

Assignments require the provision of authoritative technical expertise in the field of specialization. The impact of work by the incumbent directly affects the overall country programme and contributes to regional and corporate policy and strategy. Senior Technical Specialists design and contribute to the delivery of a country programme. The impact on the overall IFAD country and regional programmes is significant in projecting the Fund’s role/capacity as a reliable, viable partner in development. Work is intricate in that it requires consideration of a wide range of technical factors and related data, and national policies relevant for the economic policy concerns of the international organization. Senior Technical Specialists also monitor and guide the work of external consultants and participate as experts in field missions and intergovernmental and expert group meetings of a technical nature.

Work at this level normally is not reviewed for technical accuracy. Senior Technical Specialists thus exercise independence and initiative in assessing needs and advising governments when on field mission. Decisions are made on the research or analytical strategies to be followed in resolving problems of concern in the technical area. Established methods and procedures are adapted as necessary in order to achieve desired results.

Position specifics: Assignments require the provision of professional expertise and technical experience at the global, regional and national levels. Senior Technical Specialists support the development of programmes or policies for the Fund and represent the position of IFAD in national, regional as well as global fora and conferences. Innovation is required in the adaptation and development of approaches and methods to evolving technical and programmatic contexts. Work at this level is considered as substantially complex and of critical concern to the Fund. In particular, analytical and advisory work requires in depth identification and consideration of a full range of factors relevant to the examination and discussion of programme problems and policies in the solution of methodological problems or in the formulation of policy proposals and project recommendations. The Senior Technical Specialist contribute to AR4D resource mobilization and the design and delivery of programmes. The impact on the overall IFAD country and regional programmes is significant in projecting the Fund’s role/capacity as a reliable, viable partner in development. Senior Technical Specialists also monitor and guide the work of external consultants and participate as experts in field missions and in the servicing of intergovernmental and expert group meetings of a technical nature.

Working Relationships

The work relationships of the Senior Technical Specialist involve providing technical advice, and negotiating and resolving problems that arise in technical project design and appraisal, supervision/implementation support and in preparing studies and reports. S/he serves as an expert in rural infrastructure and renewable energy and works with full technical independence in providing technical expertise and methodological guidance at the country level, as well as regionally, as required. Contacts are with counterparts and senior officials within other United Nations organizations having related programmes, and with officials of governments, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, research institutes and academia. At intergovernmental bodies, expert groups and other meetings, the Senior Technical Specialist (Research) provides technical expertise and recommendations for policy formulation and official conclusions in a consultative and specialist capacity; s/he may also provide information regarding the organization’s policies, and act as the representative of the organization, maintaining contacts to identify and evaluate emerging developments.

Position specifics: In participating in CGIAR and other related intergovernmental bodies, expert groups and other meetings, the Senior Technical Specialist provides technical expertise and recommendations for policy formulation and official conclusions in a consultative and advisory capacity;

Job Profile Requirements

Organizational Competencies:

Level 2:

  •  Building relationships and partnerships – Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally
  •  Communicating and negotiating – Acquires & uses a wide range of communication styles & skills
  •  Demonstrating leadership – Leads by example; initiates and supports change
  •  Focusing on clients – Contributes to a client-focused culture
  •  Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating – Challenges, innovates & contributes to learning culture
  •  Managing performance and developing staff – Manages wider teams with greater impact on others and on the organization
  •  Managing time, resources and information – Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources
  •  Problem-solving and decision-making – Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact
  •  Strategic thinking and organizational development – Staff in management and/or strategic leadership roles
  •  Team working – Fosters a cohesive team environment

Education:

  •  Advanced Degree from an accredited institution in a technically relevant area.
  •  Areas – environmental management, agriculture, economics, geography, climatology, engineering, geosciences, or any relevant rural development subject.
  •  Degree must be an accredited institution listed on https://www.whed.net/home.php .

Experience:

  •  At least eight (8) years work experience in the formulation, management and supervision of research and development investment programmes, mobilization of resources and reporting to donors
  •  Three (3) years in a multi-cultural organization or national organization providing support on a global scope.
  •  Position specific experience: Solid experience in programme management issues related to AR4D, including the ability to set out a coherent argument in writing, presentations and group interactions. Demonstrated experience in the formulation and supervision of rural development projects, including field experience in a developing country (experience in the design and implementation) of EU, CGIAR, CAADP or other multilateral or bilateral sources will be an advantage). Proven experience in negotiation, decision-making and also leading some complex project design and implementation/supervision issues. Good working knowledge of Windows-based computing, and electronic communication is a requirement.

Languages:

  •  English (4-Excellent)
  •  Additional IFAD language (Arabic, French or Spanish) would be a strong asset.

Skills:

  •  Partnership building: Ability to formulate new approaches or identify new opportunities to build relationships with both traditional and non-traditional partners, focusing on impact and results.
  •  Stakeholder management: Strong alignment capabilities and consultation skills, building on effective interactions and relationships with different stakeholders (e.g. for the co-creation of communication material with member states) and ability to build and maintain a strong network (e.g. with journalists, media outlets, etc.)
  •  Strategy implementation: Ability to lead and manage the development and implementation of medium to longer-term strategies for IFAD / for respective divisions
  •  Time management: Adherence to deadlines under time constraints and pressure (e.g. to deliver governing body documents on time); ability to coordinate and manage complex workflows and in-house and external teams
  •  Planning: Know-how in the planning of human, financial and material management of IFAD resources
  •  Adaptability: Adaptability and flexibility when facing new or unexpected situations, and to specific constraints and circumstances and managing complex processes
  •  Change management: Role modelling, anticipation of key risks & conflicts and formulation of contingency plans/solutions, action-oriented
  •  Collaboration: Successfully work toward a common goal with others by communicating clearly, actively listening to others, taking responsibility for mistakes, and respecting different perspectives of stakeholders.
  •  Corporate approach: Ability to bring in corporate vision and priorities into one’s area of work (e.g. budgeting going beyond simple budgetary considerations, taking into account strategic priorities)
  •  Interpersonal skills: Ability to deal patiently and tactfully with others (e.g. visitors, clients, callers, etc.), including senior individuals (e.g. high-level meeting participants)
  •  Specialized communication skills: Ability to negotiate on behalf of IFAD and drive for creative and pragmatic solutions in complex negotiations with key partners, both public and private sector
  •  Synthesis: Outstanding ability to synthesize and simplify complex technical information for a variety of (non-technical) audiences
  •  Verbal communication: Clear, succinct and convincing verbal communication; highly professional, balanced and diplomatic language
  •  Written communication: Clear, succinct and convincing written communication in the language needed for specific role; highly professional, balanced and diplomatic language (e.g. for drafting of position papers, briefings, etc.)
  •  Evidence-based policy: Know-how in the formulation of concrete and actionable policy recommendations based on hard evidence (going beyond simple data interpretation)

Other Information

The appointment of a short-term staff member carries no expectation of extension, continuous employment or conversion to any other type of appointment.

Internal Applicants should verify and obtain their supervisors’ support to be released in the event they are selected, noting that the temporary assignment with a duration of 12 months is expected to start shortly after selection.

Temporary assignments are open to staff members holding a FT/continuing contract and are governed by the applicable HRIP provisions (Section 2.25.6 of the HRIP). Temporary assignments may include movement to a higher grade and granting of a special post allowance (SPA) in line with the provisions of HRIP Chapter 3, and at the end of the temporary assignment staff will return to their former position at the original grade. This temporary assignment is funded for a period of 12 months and the successful candidate is expected to start shortly after selection. Applicants should verify and obtain their supervisors’ support to release in the event they are selected.

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