Senior Researcher (Adaptation Finance)

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

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Senior Researcher, Adaptation Finance

Resilience – Geneva, Ottawa or Winnipeg

Location: IISD’s Office in Ottawa or Winnipeg

 IISD is looking for a researcher and project manager with expertise in climate adaptation finance to join its Resilience Program and provide support to the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network. The Project Manager will report to the Director of the Resilience Program.


IISD’s Resilience Program focuses on the policies, tools and research needed to help societies plan for and recover from shocks and stresses they may encounter on their path to sustainability. Starting in 2015, the Program became the Secretariat for the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) Global Network. The NAP Global Network seeks to enhance national adaptation planning and action in developing countries through coordination of bilateral support and in-country actors. As the Network Secretariat, IISD oversees the day to day management of the Network, including building the participant base, organizing meetings and peer exchanges, producing resource materials to support national adaptation planning, running a Virtual Help Desk, and undertaking a range of outreach and communications activities.  

One of the consistent areas of interest among Network participants is adaptation finance – namely, understanding and strategically combining, sequencing, and accessing the range of different public and private funding opportunities available to implement adaptation actions in developing countries. IISD is looking for an individual with solid experience in these areas to provide ongoing technical support to the NAP Global Network, and complement existing capacities on the Resilience Team more broadly.

In particular, the Senior Researcher will support the development and dissemination of content related to adaptation finance and the NAP process – both in terms of the role of the NAP process in enabling access to adaptation finance, and the finance options available for adaptation implementation. This can include looking at potential domestic public revenue streams; understanding the role of public-private partnerships; financial instruments such as green bonds; financial structuring of adaptation programs and projects; and accessing international funds such as the Green Climate Fund.

The Senior Researcher will engage regularly with local and national, public and private stakeholders in trying to better understand the specific needs and options related to adaptation finance. They will be in charge of facilitating dialogue between representatives of the environment, development and finance communities, whether they be policy-makers or practitioners. They will also be expected to help synthesize country experiences and share them more broadly with the climate change adaptation community. S/he will also work to build a network and roster of resource people that might be called upon to provide support to countries seeking technical inputs on financing options for national adaptation planning and implementation.

The Senior Researcher will work closely with the Network Coordinator in developing and executing his/her responsibilities, and collaborate with other members of the NAP Global Network Secretariat staff and broader Network Management Team. Time permitting, s/he may also be called upon to contribute to other parts of the Resilience program and engage with other IISD programs that are working in the sustainable / green finance space.



  • Engagement with local and national stakeholders: convening, facilitating, and contributing to workshops, meetings, dialogues and other events related; these events may be focused on adaptation finance or may be about the NAP process in general with an aspect related to adaptation finance;
  • Expanding / developing a network of experts and partners on adaptation finance that can be engaged in Network activities as needed (e.g. peer exchanges, Virtual Help Desk, targeted in-country support);
  • Development of targeted resource materials – e.g. guidance notes, overview briefs, handbooks – on adaptation finance and its links to the NAP process, based on an understanding of what different target audiences need;
  • Research and issue tracking: Conducting and managing targeted policy research related to adaptation finance and its links to the NAP process; following and summarizing news and events pertaining to adaptation finance;
  • Communications: Writing and review of relevant research publications; prepares and delivers presentations for internal and external audiences; produces clear and concise written content for print and online media; participates in conference calls, team meetings, and other management communications events;
  • Project management: Manage projects (or components of larger projects) in cooperation with other IISD personnel, including but not limited to controlling budgets, managing donor relationships, supervising IISD personnel and external consultants;
  • General project development and implementation: Contribute to the design, fundraising, execution of research and capacity building projects in the Resilience Program and IISD more broadly;
  • Team outreach: Support development and distribution of communication products of the Resilience team, undertake country missions and represent IISD at international conferences and events


The Candidate should have the following set of skills:

  • Knowledge and experience in development economics and/or finance 
  • Knowledge of climate change adaptation / climate risk management generally, and adaptation finance – including the different sources, mechanisms, and access modalities – specifically;
  • Solid understanding of development policy processes, particularly in developing countries;
  • Ability to effectively communicate policy issues and research findings to different audiences via different platforms
  • Strong interpersonal and networking skills
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills
  • Computer literacy – Microsoft Office applications, knowledge of database packages, and experience in handling of web based communications and management systems.
  • Ability to design, fundraise for and implement and policy-oriented research projects, from start to finish.
  • Positive work attitude and ability to work in a multi-disciplinary, internationally-distributed research team and independently
  • Flexibility to take on tasks ranging from highly complex to basic in nature
  • Results-focused, ability to work under tight deadlines, prioritise tasks, and work quickly and accurately


The Senior Researcher will possess the following qualifications:

  • A minimum of a Master’s degree or equivalent in relevant social sciences
  • 5-7 years of relevant work experience in conducting finance or economic analyses in the field of climate change adaptation
  • Fluent written and spoken English and ability to work (read, write, speak) in French or Spanish or both;
  • Work experience in developing countries, particularly related to adaptation finance
  • Experience with external communications
  • Experience in stakeholder management and outreach
  • Ability to travel overseas on a regular basis
We welcome all applications however only candidates currently eligible to work in Canada will be considered.
Application deadline: July 15, 2016