Think outside of the box? USAID's Global Development Lab wants you

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah unveils the U.S. Global Development Lab on April 30. Photo by: USAID

The U.S. Agency for International Development's initiative to use science, technology, innovation and partnership to end extreme poverty is currently hiring a diversity of experienced technical professionals, as well as fresh graduates.

“We are looking for extraordinary talent,” Andrew Sisson, acting executive director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, told Devex. “We’re looking for talent that is unusual. We want people who will be diplomats and represent us in all kinds of roles. But we’re also looking for people who are out-of-the-box thinkers.”

Sisson, who in October will be returning to his role as USAID’s mission director in Indonesia, explained the diversity of talent within the Development Lab is what will make it unique and advised potential job seekers to network.

“Come to lab events … Just get to know us. Tell us why you’re excited, why you think you want to be a part of our team,” he said.

Sisson underscored the importance of checking their website because he said, “we’re advertising for all kinds of positions,” from career civil or foreign service positions to two-year contracts.

As for a new executive director, Sisson said the lab has looked at more than 100 candidates and are currently interviewing.

“It’s not an easy job to fill … It’s really finding a pioneer. Somebody who is incredibly entrepreneurial, innovative, but also has the ability to navigate political and government environments.”

Sisson noted he’s excited to get back to Indonesia to apply some of the lab’s innovative approaches: “I can assure you Jakarta needs effective urban sanitation. I can’t wait to work on that.”

He also had some advice for the future head of USAID's Global Development Lab.

“Be a creative, bold leader. And keep building those partnerships and alliances around the world,” he said. “Build on that spirit of disruption and creativity and partnership. Trust the team … We have recruited amazing people.”

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About the author

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    Jeff Tyson

    Jeff is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, DC, he covers multilateral affairs, U.S. aid and international development trends. He has worked with human rights organizations in both Senegal and the United States, and prior to joining Devex worked as a production assistant at National Public Radio. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.