Director of Programme (Climate and Sustainability)

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

London, , GB

Contract: Permanent

Salary: £64,888 – £79,538 per annum

Location: London

Ref: CES/02/20

An independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives.

About us

ODI is an independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world. ODI has been at the forefront of producing evidence, convening debate and promoting ideas to address global challenges for 60 years. We have been thought leaders, critical friends and policy advisers to governments, heads of state and international agencies, and agenda setters for global processes and changemakers. (

We are now looking for a Director of Programme to lead a newly reconfigured team that brings together multi-disciplinary expertise in the areas of climate change, energy and the sustainable use of natural resources. This new team will provide internal and external visibility across these issues, strengthen our ability to take on bigger, multi-faceted bids and ensure that ODI is able to make a critical contribution on climate change mitigation, energy transitions and environmental sustainability at a critical juncture. The team, for example, will play a vital role in shaping debate before and at COP26 in Glasgow through its own distinctive contribution and by harnessing the power and influence of its wider networks and partnerships.

About the Climate and Sustainability Programme

The programme will act as the hub for work in this area within ODI and provide leadership on the key climate change and environmental sustainability priorities laid out in the ODI strategy. The new team will work closely with our Risk and Resilience team who lead our climate adaptation and resilience work and the International Economic Development programmes to bring multi-disciplinary expertise to address the most significant global challenges of our time. ODI has a strong offering in this area with a body of existing work on fossil fuels, climate finance and the transition to low-carbon energy and sustainable natural resource use, with a particular focus on land, agriculture and water. The team brings together a group of twelve researchers in this broad area, supplemented by a network of associates and the wider multi-disciplinary expertise across the Institute. The current project portfolio has an annual turnover of just under £4million. They are supported by programme management, communications and public affairs specialists to maximise the impact and reach of the team.

About the role

We are looking for someone who will provide and enable thought leadership for ODI’s work on climate change mitigation, sustainable energy, net zero transitions and environmental sustainability. Within this broad thematic area, they will provide strategic direction, develop a climate and sustainability strategy in partnership with other programmes across the Institute, lead ODI’s related policy influence and representation externally, undertake and oversee research, and contribute to overall ODI leadership and strategic direction.

The Director of Programme oversees and manages the programme including being accountable for its strategic and financial performance and the overall impact of our work. S/he ensures implementation of ODI’s business and operating framework and leads business development and fundraising for the thematic area.

S/he manages a team of programme and research staff, develops a dynamic and effective team and upholds ODI’s values. The setting up of the newly configured team, the development of its agenda and building of cohesion across the team will be critical early objectives. They will collaborate with ODI functional teams to co-manage support to the programme and work closely with other programme teams to foster strategic alignment, learning and multidisciplinary work. S/he will participate in broader leadership across ODI and play a critical role in promoting this agenda across the organisation.

About you

The Director of Programme will be an established thought leader who can operate across the broad themes of climate change mitigation low-carbon energy transitions and environmental sustainability. S/he will set the agenda for ODI’s work in this area seeking to influence and shape the external policy agenda as well as the practice and delivery of support.

The existing team has a track record of innovation (recent work includes influential work on fossil fuel subsidies, climate finance and land rights amongst a broader portfolio of work) and has constantly shaped and developed new areas of work. We are looking for a leader who can consolidate, innovate and reinforce ODI’s credentials as a leader in this wide field.

The Director of Programme will provide oversight for the development and delivery of the programme including research, advisory and public affairs work in the above areas and will inform policy and practice with partners at national and international level through this work. S/he will identify strategic opportunities and synergies across work programmes through dialogue with staff, key partners and stakeholders, and with senior colleagues in ODI.

Significant experience of multi-partner work in different countries, and in fundraising for research, public affairs and knowledge management programmes is required. The position may involve frequent travel, and the post holder will be expected to organise their schedule to be available for key meetings and to be accessible to staff in their programme.

Demonstrated strong programme management experience including achievement of strategic and financial results, experience in building and sustaining an effective and high performing team, staff management and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.


  • A degree and post-graduate qualification in a relevant discipline
  • Extensive knowledge of key issues and organisations involved in climate change mitigation, sustainable energy and natural resource use
  • Technical experience with climate change mitigation and energy transitions (esp. in LDC’s ), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s new Paris Agreement, renewable and clean energy, policy and governance are advantages.
  • Able to manage research, analysis and syntheses activities, and identify proposals and options to enhance support for the transition to a net zero sustainable world.
  • Recognition as a thought leader in a relevant topic
  • Significant knowledge and experience of programme management
  • Building and management of a high performance team

Closing date: 28th of February 2020

Interview Date: TBC