Talent Acquisition System

International employment opportunities
Posted on : July 05, 2023 Application deadline : Until filled

Senior Director, Nutrition Research Division (Adv#181/2023)

icddr,b, (formerly the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh),is an international public health research institution based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and has a 60-year history of innovation. Its research agenda, reflects the full spectrum of global health challenges affecting people living in poverty, is articulated in its current Strategic Plan (available at http://www.icddrb.org).

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Senior Director, Nutrition Research Division (NRD) will lead and effectively manage a team of research staff to implement a research agenda with the objective of translating research to influence national and global policies, achieving excellence in priority research areas and developing institutional capacities within the international standards of research, organisational values and guidelines.

The position will be based at icddr,b’s research centre headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Specific responsibilities include:

Strategy and Research Development:

Envision the role of the division in transformative public health research in Bangladesh and at a global level; Evaluate the external environment, policy changes, research issues, and influence funding opportunities; Filter-out conflicting demands for research; Prioritise areas for research focus where internal capacities exist (or can be developed) to conduct transformative research; Take a long-term view of changing trends in public health and funding patterns and make a strategic choice to invest in building capacities ahead of time; Maintain organisational focus and energies in areas where real impact can be achieved and sustained; Build capacities (people, processes, budgets, structures etc.) for inter-disciplinary research in chosen areas in order to focus the centre in conducting transformative and impactful research.

Research Oversight:

Establish transformational concepts that lead to breakthroughs in the scientific domain; Work with divisional scientists and scientists across icddr,b to conceptualise new ideas for multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research of global strategic relevance; Encourage researchers to deliberate on trends, forecast impact and relevance to public health in Bangladesh and beyond and to develop transformative research ideas; Stimulate healthy discussions on research concepts and approaches; Develop a compelling case for donors to sponsor such research in order to conduct transformative research.

Research Proposal Development and Fund Raising: 

Generate research grants, Use conferences, seminars meetings, etc. to seek potential donors for research proposals; Create and leverage professional networks to partner with national/international institutions for collaborative working; Understand explicit mandates of donor organisations, as well as implicit needs/criteria of decision-makers for awarding grants; Coach researchers in writing/reframing proposals in a manner that is understandable to decision-makers; Validate costing assumptions, timelines and other critical parameters of proposals; Position research proposals in a manner that highlights alignment between research objectives and donor(s) objectives; Facilitate securing funding from global and diverse donors in order to generate sustained research funding.

Scientific Quality Control:

Review and approve all protocols from centre scientists for scientific quality, feasibility, and consistency with centre strategic objectives; Review research findings generated by the centre; "Stress-test" conclusions (such as cross-checking inferences); Validate recommendations and implications for public health; Guide development of manuscript/research reports for publication in international peer journals; Approve final reports and publications in order to ensure sound and appropriate research that meet international standards.

Knowledge Translation:

Engage in a strategic systematic effort to ensure research findings are utilised; Leverage work from across the centre, icddr,b and global scientific landscape to stimulate evidence-informed dialogue and catalyse improvements in policy and practices at the national and global level in order to improve national and global public health.  

Scientific Capacity Building:

Create an environment where young and mid-level scientists are nurtured and encouraged; Assess the development needs of scientific staff; Develop plans to address competency gaps; Provide feedback to improve performance for non-performing scientists; Model scientific mentoring; Coach Research Group Coordinators to mentor junior scientists to become successful principal investigators of research projects; Secure the required resources in order to enhance the overall capabilities of the centre for sustained excellence in research.

Process Improvement:

Assess current and anticipated challenges to the centre; Evaluate current capacities to deliver on these challenges; Conceive improvements needed to various organisational elements (e.g. strategy, structure, people, process, performance measures, incentives, and leadership capabilities); Organise resources for such improvements; Educate staff on the need for such improvements and involve staff in designing and deploying improvements; Monitor progress and verify the impact on research capacities; Confront resistance to change and devise means to resolve this (modify plans, develop alternatives, use authority, seek consensus etc.) in order to enhance continuously the capacities of the centre to deliver on research.

Centre Administration (Planning, Organising, Review & Control):

Assist the Executive Director in running the Centre; actively participate in Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meetings; provide opinions, ideas and suggestions to the ED and help evolve institutional plans as the senior management representative of the division; provide inputs for the ED to consider for resolving critical issues; consult SLT members and formulate institutional policies; review progress in achieving institutional plans in order to collectively advise the ED in the governance and administration of the institution.

Envision a future end-state and derive 1-year / 3-year tactical objectives in alignment with the strategic goals; Brainstorm with team and establish operational plans; Organise financial and non-financial resources; Devise performance parameters (e.g. Balanced Score Card approach) and review mechanisms (such as dashboards and status updates) in collaboration with Strategy and Internal Oversight team; Allocate responsibilities, tasks, goals and budgets; Monitor progress of plans, expenses and utilisation of people; Oversee the establishment of sound project charters and project plans; Track progress of projects in the centre and guide/direct corrective actions to control deviations; Direct and guide team to meet performance parameters; Resolve issues; Track compliance to Internal Governance Framework (IGF), gender diversity, Ethical Review Committee (ERC) & Research Review Committee (RRC) guidelines, project plans and budgets and other internal norms; Direct corrective actions as needed in order to deliver on committed plans over a 1-year/3-year time period.

External Relationship Management:

Initiate and maintain productive relationships with policy-makers from the GoB, NGOs, community leaders, and other stakeholders; Understand their issues and need for research support; Assess technical and financial feasibility of support sought; Determine the potential for conducting impactful research; Establish and maintain productive collaborations with international research/academic institutions; Oversee mechanisms for collaborations (e.g. exchange programmes for scientists); Propose and direct joint research programmes; Utilise forums to explore research opportunities, resolve issues, secure additional resources and improve the quality of work done; Build healthy working relationships with diverse stakeholders in order to create a network of partnerships for the long term growth of the Centre.

People Management:

Manage a complex team of scientists working in basic and community domains, and connect NRD staff with the mission of the Division; Make personnel-associated decisions in a fair, transparent, and consistent manner in line with icddr,b policies, and guidelines; Model professional personnel management; Keep NRD staff informed of icddr,b management, and policy decisions; Promote a spirit of collegiality and gender diversity amongst team members and in the organisation; Encourage team members to collaborate across areas; Address and resolve any issues; Set goals, conduct appraisals and confront poor performance in a positive manner; Identify, mentor and reward high performers; Recommend final increments and promotions; Take appropriate actions to manage poor performance (such as creating Performance Improvement Plans, coaching, job rotations, planning separations from icddr,b) in order to build an engaged and productive workforce in the centre.

Required Skills and Experiences

  • MD and/or PhD
  • Minimum 15 years of work experience in international organizations or reputed universities including at least 5 years’ experience of administration of a research unit or department;
  • Experience in managing multi-donor and multi-partner large research projects, and generating funds.


  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are essential
  • Track record of publications as first or senior author in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Demonstrated leadership ability, team management, and a track record in global health


This is an internationally recruited position for which icddr,b offers internationally competitive remuneration paid in US Dollars. The successful candidate will be offered an initial contract of 3 years, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled

icddr,b regrets that due to number of applications received, it will not be possible to reply to all individual applicants. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

icddr,b is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women candidates.

For detailed information about the organisation, visit our website: www.icddrb.org.