Program Manager, Research and Learning

New York, NY, OR Washington, DC | Full-time


About BRAC, BRAC University, BIGD, and BRAC USA

BRAC is a global leader in developing and implementing cost-effective, evidence-based programs to assist the most marginalized people in extremely poor, conflict-prone, and post-disaster settings. These include initiatives in education, healthcare, microfinance, women and girls’ empowerment, agriculture, human and legal rights, and more. Headquartered in Bangladesh and implementing programs in 11 countries across South Asia and Africa, BRAC touches the lives of more than 100 million people worldwide.

Brac University (BracU), established in 2001, has become one of the most reputed educational institutions in Bangladesh. BracU follows a liberal arts approach to education that nurtures fresh ideas and gives new impetus to the field of tertiary education. It ensures a high quality of education and aims to meet the demands of contemporary times. Building on BRAC's experience of seeking solutions to challenges posed by extreme poverty, BracU hopes to instill in its students a commitment to working towards national development and progress. Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) is a knowledge institute within Brac University. By influencing policy and practice using rigorous research and by building fit-for-future capabilities through quality educational programmes, BIGD aims to promote innovation and improvement in governance and development processes, leading to a just and prosperous society.

Based in New York, BRAC USA is the North American affiliate of BRAC. BRAC USA provides comprehensive support to BRAC around the world by raising awareness about its work and mobilizing resources to support programs. BRAC USA works closely with international counterparts to design and implement cost-effective and evidence-based poverty innovations. It is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

About the Position

BIGD based at BracU in Dhaka, Bangladesh will launch the Research Initiative on Digital Financial Services and Women’s Economic Empowerment (the Initiative), which will be supported by BRAC USA, based in New York with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Initiative will enhance knowledge on the causal mechanisms by which Digital Financial Services (DFS) impact Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) by funding a multi-year research grant-making facility. The Initiative will competitively fund sub-awards to leading researchers for projects across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa through a variety of award categories. With support from the Program Manager, BRAC USA will accept and deploy donor funds under the oversight and direction of BIGD.

The Program Manager, Research and Learning, will report to BRAC USA’s Senior Advisor for Learning and Innovation and will be directly accountable to the Initiative’s Director in Dhaka for the Initiative-specific activities. The person in this role will have two main categories of work. The first category will involve working as a member of the Initiative team, supporting external communications efforts, to promoting Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and managing fund-transfer-related activities to both BIGD and Initiative awardees. The second category of work will involve direct outreach to new donors to develop new sources of funding both for the Initiative with BIGD at BracU specifically and to support BRAC’s research and learning agenda more broadly. He/she will cultivate relationships with donors, conduct research on donor prospects, and apply for funding.

Primary Responsibilities

1) Initiative to Accelerate Research on Digital Financial Services and Women’s Economic Empowerment (50% time):

a) Networking, match-making, promoting, and fund-raising (40%)

  1. Identify forums, institutes, and researchers for RFP circulation. Support the Initiative to develop relationships with prominent academics and research institutes to promote the Initiative as well as the RFPs.
  2. Identify potential intervention implementation partners in the priority countries in collaboration with BIGD and support the Initiative in match-making between researchers and implementers for submitting good-quality proposals in line with the Initiative’s research agenda.
  3. Participate in the fund-raising process for the Initiative as well as for BIGD: networking with donors, investigating potential sources of research funding for the Initiative, participating in the proposal development process.
  4. Take at least two trips to Bangladesh annually and other initiative countries, as needed/requested.


b) Supporting grant management (10%)

  1. Collaborate with the Initiative Grants Manager to: develop and deploy standard award contracts, standard set of deliverables, and reporting templates for each award for monitoring and reporting purposes; manage and coordinate the approval of agreements and sub-agreements, amendments, cost extensions, and no-cost extensions, as applicable.
  2. Ensure that all the payments are made on time, following the due diligence required by all parties involved and upon instructions from BIGD.
  3. Report fund status (receipts and payment) to BIGD at the end of each month.
  4. Support on all donor reporting to BMGF, ensuring that deadlines are met and reports are informative and comprehensive.


2) Resource Mobilization and Partnership Development (40% time):

In addition to supporting the BMGF-funded Initiative, the Program Manager, Research and Learning will develop a more robust portfolio of grants supporting BRAC research efforts globally.

  1. Investigate potential sources of research funding for BRAC University, BRAC Bangladesh and BRAC International.
  2. Cultivate and manage key donor and partner relationships. Support the development of proposals for research initiatives. Compile necessary information for the application process through collaboration with other staff, database research, and other fact-finding actions.
  3. Draft and complete grant applications, making sure that applications focus on the conditions, restrictions, meets application requirements and goals of the sponsoring organization. Coordinate with BRAC University, country office and head office proposal development team members as needed.
  4. Support budget development and review budgets for donor responsiveness and alignment with technical narrative.
  5. Oversee administration of projects to ensure that efforts conform to the terms of the agreements.
  6. Develop and maintain master files on grants and paperwork connected to programs funded by grants.


3) Communications and Advocacy (10% time):

  1.  Edit and sometimes author external communications related to the Initiative in collaboration with BIGD, ensuring impactful and high quality English-language communications befitting a world-class research organization.
  2. Build awareness of BRAC by representing BRAC University and the broader BRAC research portfolio through participation at conferences, events, and external meetings with diverse stakeholders.
  3. Develop summary fact sheets (capacity statements) and work with communications staff to build awareness of BRAC research programs.



Education and Experience:
● Bachelor’s degree required plus at least six years’ relevant experience or Master’s Degree/equivalent + at least four years’ relevant experience.
● Experience implementing/managing projects funded by grant making organizations.
● Experience working with research universities and multi-cultural teams preferred.
● Track record in mobilizing resources from institutional donors and investors, writing proposals and fundraising for a global development organization preferred.

Knowledge and Skills:
● Strong understanding of academic research on developing world interventions (preferred).
● Understanding of financial inclusion and women’s economic empowerment in developing world contexts (preferred).
● Strong problem-solving skills. Highly organized, strategic thinker with a strong attention to detail.
● Ability to analyze, synthesize, and present information.
● Excellent verbal and written English-language communication skills, with meticulous attention to detail. Thorough understanding of effective grant writing techniques.
● Excellent project management skills and ability to prioritize work and resources.
● Excellent time management skills with a proven ability to meet deadlines.
● Ability to interpret financial data and prepare budgets and financial grant reports.
● Professional demeanor and ability to interact with a wide range of individuals.
● Strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to be a team player and to work independently and with initiative when needed.
● Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues on remote and diverse teams.
● Diplomatic and emotionally intelligent with demonstrated ability to work effectively with sensitivity and understanding in a cross-cultural environment.
● Passion for enhancing the global impact and recognition of BRAC-affiliated institutions, which are at the forefront of people-centric innovations to reduce poverty.
● Proactive team player with strong desire to learn and ability to be flexible.
● Willing and able to travel internationally with some frequency (25%) and with minimum notice.
● Ability to perform under pressure and prioritize with multiple competing demands.
● Desire to work in a fast-paced, high-performing environment.
● Strong Microsoft Office skills, especially Excel.

Location: New York, NY or Washington, DC
Up to 25% travel to Bangladesh and/or other BRAC country programs.

How to Apply

Based in either New York, NY or Washington, DC this is an outstanding opportunity to support a highly effective and growing nonprofit.

To apply, please upload your resume, cover letter, and references by January 31st, 2020. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with preference given to early applicants. No calls, emails, visits, or recruiters associated with this position, please.

BRAC USA offers a competitive benefits package including base salary, medical/dental/vision insurance, FSA, life insurance, 401k, annual professional development stipend, and generous paid time off. Note that some benefits are subject to a waiting period and more information can be provided to shortlisted applicants, upon request.

BRAC USA is an Equal Opportunity employer. Personnel are chosen on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation, in accordance with state and federal law.