Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist (Innovation Labs)

The World Bank

Washington, DC, US


The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), established in 2006, is a multi-donor partnership and grant-making financing mechanism. The Facility supports on-the-ground technical assistance to help developing countries integrate disaster risk management (DRM) and climate change adaptation into development strategies, policies and investment programs, including post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

GFDRR implements the majority of its activities in countries through the World Bank, in partnership with national, regional, and other international agencies. To support country engagements, GFDRR maintains eight thematic initiatives that provide grant recipients with specialized knowledge and quality assurance in the design and implementation of activities. These initiatives allow GFDRR to collaborate with a broad array of partners, facilitate global engagements and capacity building, and produce innovative knowledge. These are: The Innovation Lab, Hydromet, Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance (DRFI), Resilient Recovery, Inclusive Community Resilience, Urban Resilience, Safer Schools, and the Small Island States Resilience Initiative (SISRI).

The GFDRR Secretariat is hosted within the Climate Change Group at the World Bank in Washington D.C. with satellite offices in Brussels and Tokyo. The Secretariat is responsible for awarding and managing grants, reporting on results, and carrying out outreach and partnership development. It also acts as the support hub for a decentralized network of DRM experts in the World Bank and provides a global platform for knowledge-sharing and capacity building.

GFDRR is seeking a Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist to lead the GFDRR Innovation Lab (www.gfdrr/innovation-lab). Founded in July 2010, the mission of the GFDRR Innovation Lab is to test new approaches in science and technology to deliver risk information that can better empower decision-makers in the developing world to increase their resilience to disasters in a changing climate. The GFDRR Innovation Lab works in partnership with World Bank regional and thematic teams and global, regional and national institutions to identify, disseminate, facilitate and apply best-practice approaches to DRM. Moreover, the team partners with international experts and institutions that are at the forefront this field. The GFDRR Innovation Lab is focused on five key areas:

1. Collaboration and sharing of ideas and best practices in the identification, communication and application of natural hazard risk information to increase resilience;

2. Continued adoption of the Open Data for Resilience (OpenDRI) program, which includes promotion of open data, geospatial data sharing, participatory mapping and user-friendly analytical tools to improve generation, use and communication of disaster risk information;

3. Development of robust risk information, that considers current and future climates, for use in risk-sensitive decision making;

4. Improving the accuracy and efficacy of ex-ante impact forecasts and ex-post damage assessments through appropriate use of earth observation technologies, forecast models, exposure datasets, and ground survey tools; and

5. Developing and promoting innovative open-source software, open data, and innovative ideas and approaches supported by global user communities, for use in ex-ante risk identification and risk modelling and ex-post disaster and climate adaptation planning.

Key programs managed by the GFDRR Innovation Lab include: Open Data for Resilience; Challenge Fund; Understanding Risk Community of Practice; the Think Hazard! tool; and activities across the globe aimed improving the robustness, visualization, utility and uptake of risk information.  

The incumbent will provide leadership of the GFDRR Innovation Lab program, under the direct supervision of the GFDRR Manager, in close coordination with other GFDRR teams, and with regional experts forming the DRM and Climate Change Communities of Practice.

Further information is available at and

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background.  Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.  All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 2 year term appointment.


The team leader of the GFDRR Innovation Lab has the following roles:

1. Lead and supervise the GFDRR Innovation Lab team, a team comprised of staff and consultants from a wide range of specialist backgrounds, nationalities and work locations, to ensure on-time and quality delivery of all Innovation Lab products.

2. Ensure the GFDRR Innovation Lab is a clearing house for risk information, and a knowledge center for best practices in science and technology for disaster risk assessment, in the World Bank and globally.

3. Promote the more efficient and effective development and use of disaster risk information, including the promotion open data and open-source tools and technologies.

4. Pilot innovative approaches, tools and ideas to disaster and climate change risk by connecting relevant global advances, innovations and international expertise to GFDRR, Operational teams and Government activities.

5. Collaborate with other technical teams in GFDRR, Climate Change Group and the World Bank to ensure widespread uptake and collective use of Innovation Lab data, tools and expertise.

6. Build the disaster risk identification and communication community and share best practices and training through the Understanding Risk community. Launch research publications relevant to new approaches to understanding disaster risk.

7. Provide specialist advice, expertise and leadership to World Bank teams on the assessment of risk, open data and new tools and approaches.

8. Deliver strategies to build government capacity to understand, communicate and manage risk; and the use of disaster risk assessments in decision making (from preparedness to building financial resilience).

9. Contribute to the broader directions and management of GFDRR through expert inputs into the GFDRR work plan, annual report, Consultative Group meetings and donor discussions.

10. Mentor staff and share technical guidance with colleagues.


• A minimum of Master’s degree in international development and economics, disaster risk management, geosciences, physics, engineering, and / or spatial analysis etc.

• A minimum of eight years’ professional experience, or equivalent combination of PhD education and experience in disaster risk management, with a focus and expertise on disaster risk identification.

• Experience in the identification of needed resources to accomplish results involving multiple stakeholders and finding solutions to obstacles affecting key deliverables.

• Experience in designing and facilitating training, conference and knowledge sharing activities or programs for disaster risk management.

• Demonstrated track record of developing and applying innovative solutions, open-source tools and/or open data to disaster risk management and/or climate change problems.

• Experience managing technical assistance programs (including budget and resource allocation, reporting etc.) and in the effective use of processes/procedures in bureaucratic organizations to achieve desired goals/objectives within tight timeframes.

• Demonstrated ability to build communities and partnerships. Highly developed international network among academic, private sector and international organizations working on disaster risk assessment and management.

• Track record of working independently, seeking guidance on complex projects/issues from senior specialists.

• Highly developed communication and advocacy skills, including ability to write concisely and clearly in English and synthesize complex documentation and ideas for a range of audiences.

• Demonstrated skills and experience in speaking and writing to senior management, government officials, donor partners, etc.

• High degree of motivation, initiative, flexibility, reliability, and responsiveness to changing demands; capacity for effective multi-tasking, with demonstrated ability of being an independent starter with minimal supervision, and a high capacity to persevere for results.

• Excellent organizational and task management skills, with appropriate attention to details and ability to prioritize work among multiple competing demands, and under tight deadlines.

• Written and spoken fluency in English is required. Fluency in other languages is desirable (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and/or Arabic).


• Integrative Skills – Understands how cross-practice areas are interrelated; able to undertake cross-practice work in lending and non-lending operations.

• Knowledge and Experience in Development Arena – Translates technical and cross-country knowledge into practical applications and contributions to country and practice strategies; interacts with clients at the policy level.

• Policy Dialogue Skills – Anticipates needs and requests in the field and conducts independent policy discussions with representatives of the government and non-government partners.

• Lead and Innovate – Develops innovative solutions with others.

• Deliver Results for Clients – Achieves results and identifies mission-driven solutions for the client.

• Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries – Initiates collaboration across boundaries and broadly across WBG, and brings differing ideas into the forefront.

• Create, Apply and Share Knowledge – Creates, applies and shares knowledge from across and outside WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions.

• Make Smart Decisions – Recommends and takes decisive action.

• Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making – Gathers inputs, assesses risk, considers impact and articulates benefits of decisions for internal and external stakeholders over the long term.

• DRM policy, strategy and institutions – Understands the institutions and governance issues related to DRM, with specific firsthand experience on engaging institutions as well as assessing their respective capacities. Specific elements include: Institutional Assessment; Reconstruction Policy and Planning; International Cooperation; Legislative Framework; Institutional Capacity Building; Transparency and Accountability.