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Transparency & Accountability Initiative Vacancy: Program Officer (research and learning)


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The Transparency & Accountability Initiative is looking for a Program Officer to join its team.  If you are passionate about impact of transparency and accountability interventions, we encourage you to apply!


Program Officer (research & learning)

Transparency & Accountability Open Society Foundation–London

Application Deadline: September 6, 2011


The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve this mission, the Foundations seek to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights. On a local level, the Open Society Foundations implement a range of initiatives to advance justice, education, public health, and independent media. At the same time, we build alliances across borders and continents on issues such as corruption and freedom of information. The Foundations place a high priority on protecting and improving the lives of people in marginalized communities.

Investor and philanthropist George Soros established the Open Society Foundations, starting in 1984, to help countries make the transition from communism.  Its activities have grown to encompass the United States and more than 70 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Each Foundation relies on the expertise of boards composed of eminent citizens who determine individual agendas based on local priorities.

The Transparency and Accountability field is one of the fastest growing public movements of recent years. The International Budget Partnership, Transparency International, Revenue Watch Institute, Global Witness, the nascent aid transparency movement and many other leading civil society organisations have laid the groundwork. There is now a huge potential to make ambitious, concrete gains in the next decade by bringing together the different strands of what has emerged as a thriving movement of transparency and accountability initiatives worldwide.

The Transparency and Accountability Initiative is a donor collaborative that aims to seize this momentum and expand the impact, scale and coordination of funding and activity in the transparency and accountability field, as well as explore applications of this work in new areas. The Initiative was created by a group of global, private and government funders committed to strengthening democracy and development through empowering people to hold their governing institutions to account: Ford Foundation, Hivos, International Budget Partnership, Omidyar Network, Open Society Foundations, Revenue Watch Institute, United Kingdom Department for International Development and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It is co-chaired by OSF and DFID.

Position Description

Without a better understanding of impact and better learning, transparency and accountability initiatives will not deliver on their promise. The Transparency and Accountability Initiative seeks a Program Officer (research and learning) to support its impact and learning working group by developing, managing and monitoring a number of research and evaluation projects.

The goal of the working group is to enable funders and transparency/accountability practitioners to learn about where, when and how initiatives succeed, and use this knowledge to inform more effective transparency and accountability interventions. In support of this goal, we will support longitudinal research across contexts and transparency and accountability sectors, impact evaluation (e.g. budget transparency, freedom of information, natural resource governance) as well as comparative case studies of policy and programmatic innovations. We support leading transparency and accountability organisations in designing their impact and learning programs. We are also exploring the possibility of supporting long term institutional funding for transparency and accountability impact and learning initiatives.

We are looking for an individual with a passion and deep interest in transparency and accountability issues, with strong understanding and experience of using applied research methods, impact evaluation techniques and learning tools. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience of managing research projects and communicating research findings. This position provides a unique opportunity to use knowledge of diverse research methods in impact and learning to help strengthen, influence and improve the next generation of transparency and accountability initiatives.

The Program Officer will report to the T/A Initiative Program Director. The position will be based at the London-based Open Society Foundations, which hosts the Transparency and Accountability Initiative. It will be offered as a fixed-term contract to July 2013.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Lead the Transparency and Accountability Initiative’s impact and learning network, which advises and supports the impact and learning approaches of leading civil society organisations working on transparency and accountability.
  • Ensure that the impact and learning working group delivers its intended outputs, working towards the creation of a stronger evidence base which informs the design of more effective transparency / accountability interventions
  • Commission, broker and manage longitudinal research across contexts and transparency and accountability sectors, impact evaluation (e.g. budgets, freedom of information, natural resource governance, new technologies) and comparative case studies of policy innovations (includes drafting ToRs, identifying researchers and research teams and representing the interests of TAI members in negotiations with researchers)
  • Quality control and oversight of commissioned research during implementation
  • Manage the impact and learning network’s mentorship scheme, commission learning products, design and manage an outward facing web and networking presence
  • Liaise, collaborate and engage with the Initiative’s other working groups on a pro active basis.
  • Develop additional funder/partner interest, specifically to engage with the working group when new funding opportunities arise
  • Advise on avenues for long term institutional funding for transparency and accountability impact and learning initiatives
  • Identify opportunistic moments to communicate this work and vision of the initiative among partners, external players and/or events
  • Oversee the design and implementation of briefings on the impact and learning working group’s findings
  • To support the Program Director by acting as a public representative of the Initiative when necessary

Qualifications and Experience

  • Minimum master’s degree or equivalent in Economics, Sociology, Political Science, Development Studies, International Relations, Human Rights, or any other related social science field; PhD desirable
  • Extensive experience of designing, developing and implementing impact and learning initiatives
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in evaluation and research methodologies including quantitative, qualitative, mixed and participatory methods, field experiments and randomised evaluations
  • Knowledge of and relevant experience in the transparency and accountability field, and, preferably, government and foundation funding communities
  • Proven ability to think strategically, innovate, learn fast and interact with a multitude of stakeholders, and deliver outcomes
  • Proven ability to manage diverse teams and to facilitate complex processes.
  • Possess exceptional interpersonal skills, including relationship building, communication skills, and partnership development
  • Ability to work independently and perform as a self-starter who can take initiative and sustain work with little supervision
  • Ability to work under pressure and on a range of tasks and meeting deadlines

Start Date/Duration

September 2011. The successful candidate will be offered a fixed term contract until July 2013 with possibility of extension.


£38,000 – £42,000, excellent benefits package

To Apply

Please email resume and cover letter to: by Tuesday, 6 September 2011.  Include job code in subject line: PO/TA

No phone calls, please. The Open Society Foundations is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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