Program Associate

  • Entry-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 4 June 2020

Job Description

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. Other initiatives that R4D is heavily involved in include the Million Lives Club and DFID’s Frontier Technologies Hub.


As an integral member of the Innovation Team, the Program Associate (PA) will work with colleagues across a number of projects in the Innovation Portfolio, providing project management support and inputs on technical deliverables as required.

We are seeking an entrepreneurial, strategic, and creative individual to help us take this work forward during an exciting juncture of rapid growth within our portfolio. Previous experience working on donor-funded projects, strong verbal and written communication skills, and an ability to think creatively and strategically are required, as well as comfort with working independently and remotely (for the foreseeable future).

The opportunity represents a chance to work with a highly collaborative team which embraces innovation and learning together, taking ownership over key project activities and deliverables.

This position is based in London and will report to the Program Officer.


As noted above, the PA role will span several projects within the Innovation portfolio, and the list below provides details of specific activities that the PA would be involved in for each of the current projects in the portfolio. Distribution of time across each these projects is likely to flex depending on project needs, and indeed as new projects are added to the Innovation portfolio.

Innovation Practice - General

  • Organize and participate in regular Innovation Practice team meetings, including liaising with colleagues to develop the agenda, sending meeting invites, capturing minutes and actions.
  • Contribute to the development of Innovation Practice communications, for example drafting content about innovation projects for the R4D website or for the R4D internal organization newsletter.
  • Support business development efforts by carrying our desk research and contributing to proposal writing.
  • 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.
  • Contribute to the research, curation and development of innovation tools and resources for use by R4D staff.
  • Support the Finance & Operations Officer in activities including drafting/processing purchase and contract requisitions and invoices in R4D systems; and drafting narrative reports for funders.

International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA)

Effectively manage the administrative and logistical activities associated with IDIA Principals’ meetings, both virtual and in different global locations with a diversity of participants.

Contribute to the execution of activities as outlined in the IDIA Strategy 2020-22, which are focussed around four pillars: Scaling, Data & Intelligence, Technology and Systems. This may include coordinating working group meetings, conducting desk research on key themes, gathering inputs from IDIA Members on relevant initiatives aligned with the strategic pillars, and drafting technical outputs.

Million Lives Club (MLC)

  • Coordinate the selection process for MLC Members, including management of the online application platform.
  • Support the continuous review and improvement of MLC processes and outputs (e.g. application process, review process, MLC innovation list), in order to align them with the needs of Members and Partners.
  • Draft/develop content for the MLC website and social media accounts.
  • Coordinate annual announcements of MLC Members.
  • Identify potential partners, aligned with the needs of both MLC Members and MLC internal processes (e.g. expert reviewers for applications).
  • Coordinate events in order for MLC Members, Partners and others in the development innovation space to share their experiences and learning.

Frontier Technologies (FT) Programme

  • As required, support colleagues from the Innovation and Research & Learning teams in the delivery of discrete outputs for the FT programme. This may include carrying out desk research, drafting materials, organizing meetings and planning and organizing events.
  • Support the design and implementation of high-quality monitoring, evaluation, and learning experiments using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods
  • Support outreach activities, including drafting blog posts and coordinating social media campaigns.

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • Graduate degree in international development / development studies or a relevant field (e.g. social anthropology or development economics).
  • At least two years’ experience working on donor-funded projects, ideally in the development innovation space.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with strong attention to detail on written outputs such as documents and presentations.
  • 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.
  • Examples of work that illustrate strong research and analysis skills.
  • Experience in event design/planning and implementation.
  • Experience in Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning is desirable but not essential.
  • Highly collaborative and approachable team member who is enthusiastic about supporting the Innovation team and working closely with others at R4D.
  • High level of organization, attention to detail, professionalism, and reliability.
  • Ability to prioritize and manage work in a fast-paced environment across multiple projects and work streams with competing time/resource demands.
  • 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 2-3 trips per year).

Other requirements

  • Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the UK.

How to apply

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.

About the Organization

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. 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.

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