Vacancy Announcement: Executive Director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Programme
05 June 2013

The International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR) invite applications for the important post of Executive Director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme, which is becoming vacant on 30 November 2013.

IRDR is an exciting decade-long, internationally integrated, all-hazards research programme bringing together the talents of the natural, social, medical and engineering sciences in a way not attempted before. Its objectives are the scientific characterization of natural and human-induced environmental hazards, vulnerability and risk; the understanding of decision-making in complex and changing risk contexts; and the reduction of risk and curbing losses through knowledge-based actions. The programme is founded on the recognition that disaster prevention and mitigation are critical dimensions of the global poverty reduction agenda and efforts to adapt to climate change, and should be an integral part of all international and national development efforts.

The Executive Director heads an International Programme Office (IPO) for IRDR being hosted by the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China, with core funding from the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST).

The IPO meets the management needs of the IRDR programme and fully supports the work of the international Scientific Committee for the IRDR programme (SC-IRDR) responsible for its overall scientific planning, coordination, guidance and oversight.

Under the authority of the SC-IRDR, and in particular its Chair, the Executive Director of IRDR is expected to:

  • Facilitate the development, implementation and co-ordination of IRDR science projects, and those carried out jointly with partner programmes;
  • Liaise with such international centres as may be established within IRDR;
  • Ensure effective representation and links between IRDR and other relevant research programmes and their sponsoring organizations, relevant entities of the United Nations system, as well as the international policy community and funding agencies;
  • Support the development and implementation of an information strategy which promotes networking within the disaster risk research community and the wider practice community;
  • Play a major role in organizing capacity building and outreach activities;
  • Promote the establishment and/or strengthening of national IRDR committees and regional initiatives; and
  • Promote IRDR internationally and assist in the acquisition of funding for the programme.

The Executive Director will oversee a team of at least two professional staff members, and will direct all activities of the IPO, especially in respect of the preparation for, and conduct of, meetings of the SC-IRDR and of the implementation of actions decided upon by the Committee. He/she will have responsibility for drawing up annual programmes and budgets of the Office, and ensuring that they are implemented. The Executive Director will maintain effective cooperation on administrative and technical matters with the host institution and relevant local organizations. He/she will have a particular responsibility for organizing a major IRDR Conference every second year in China.

The host institution, RADI, is recognized for its commitment to scientific research, with wide experience and expertise in research on disaster mitigation—especially through remote sensing, data collection and modelling. The Institute also has a proven track record in international cooperation, establishing long-term partnerships with institutions from more than 20 countries and international organizations. The IPO is located within RADI’s new Headquarters within Space City, a major new research park on the edge of Beijing.

The Executive Director will hold a PhD in a natural, social, medical or engineering science discipline related to natural hazards and disaster risk reduction and have several years of direct experience of international research collaboration in an interdisciplinary setting. Proven management, fundraising and diplomatic skills will be essential. He/she will have an excellent command of written and spoken English, and a working knowledge of other major languages would be desirable. Some experience in the use of on-line consultation techniques and web-based collaborative tools would be an advantage.

Applications should include: (i) a Curriculum Vitae; (ii) a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the post, and outlining the skills and experience you feel you, the candidate, could bring to IRDR and its IPO; and (iii) the names and addresses of three individuals who have indicated their readiness to provide a reference.

The address to which applications should be sent is:

Dr Howard Moore
International Council for Science (ICSU)
5, rue Auguste Vacquerie
75116 Paris, France

The closing date for applications is 19 July 2013.

The annual salary of the Executive Director of IRDR will be negotiable in the range 80,000-100,000 euros equivalent and will take due account of the experience and qualifications of the candidate. The initial contract of employment will be of two years’ duration, renewable. It is expected that the successful candidate would take up his/her appointment, located in Beijing, no later than end-December 2013.

For more information on the IRDR visit the programme’s website at:

Click here to download this vacancy announcement.

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