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Opportunity: Programme Director – Early Childhood Development

Opportunity: Programme Director – Early Childhood Development

The British Academy is seeking to appoint a Programme Director to be responsible for the oversight of the Early Childhood Development Programme. This Programme is being delivered by the British Academy with funding from the Department for International Development and the Global Challenges Research Fund.

The Programme will fund around ten interdisciplinary research projects with international development impact. It aims to generate evidence that will inform the policies and interventions that will transform the life chances and destinies of children in their early years in low- and middle-income countries.

Strengthening early childhood development is central to achieving at least seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG Target 4.2, which states that by 2030 countries should ‘ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education’. To achieve these goals, there needs to be a step change in early childhood development research and policy action that drives interaction and cross-learning between disciplines, sectors and actors.

The Programme will provide the evidence and insights needed to enable policymakers to design and implement effective early childhood development interventions in developing countries. In particular, the Programme will focus on:

  1. supporting innovative interdisciplinary research projects and partnerships, including with practitioners;
  2. advancing cross learning between disciplines and building our understanding of how existing interventions contribute to child development outcomes;
  3. addressing key questions around how to implement and scale cost-effective early childhood development, including how to work with government systems where appropriate;
  4. expanding the research base in countries and populations with high unmet needs and low research capacity.

The Programme Director will help maximise the opportunities for take-up of the research findings and impact, and be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the Programme. Funding of up to £150,000 is available for the duration of the contract (up to 18 months). It is anticipated that the research grant available will cover the salary and replacement teaching costs broadly equivalent to 0.3 FTE of the Programme Director's time, starting in October 2017.

The British Academy is seeking to appoint an outstanding researcher or researchers who has/have an established and distinguished track record of publication in a relevant field and who is/are, therefore, likely to have completed his/her/their doctorate(s) not less than ten years ago, or to have a similar length of equivalent academic experience. The applicant(s) should be able to work and communicate effectively with a range of stakeholders, including academic researchers, policymakers and practitioners. The role is suited to those who are particularly interested in operationally-relevant research.

It is anticipated that the successful candidate(s) will be currently employed at a UK university or other UK institution of higher education. The Programme Director(s) cannot themselves be involved with any of the individual research projects supported under the Early Childhood Programme.

The essential criteria for this position are:

a)       In-depth knowledge in relevant subject areas, with demonstrated interdisciplinary experience.

b)      High esteem and standing within relevant research communities.

c)       A significant track record of publication. 

d)      Well-developed networks within relevant research and policy communities.

e)       A track record of effective communication to a wide range of audiences.

f)       A strategic understanding of the environment in which the Programme operates.

g)      Experience of working in developing countries and with local partners.

h)      Value for money should be clearly demonstrated in the application.

For further information, including on how to apply, please email Dr Stephanie Appleton at

The closing date for all applications is midnight on Thursday 28 September 2017.

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