Vacancy: Director of Research


Vacancy:                                Director of Research

Location:                                WASCAL Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Duration of contract:            3 years renewable contract

WASCAL (West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) is looking for a Director for Research to consolidate its position as a Regional Research Partner Institution, to expand into new areas of work, and to lead the Competence Centre and develop the Research Team. The position is based at its Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

WASCAL is a research and education-focused institute designed to provide knowledge and climate services that should help tackle the climate change challenge and thereby enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems. It does so by strengthening the research capacity and infrastructure in West Africa related to climate change by pooling the expertise of ten West African countries and Germany. The West African countries include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d‘Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Cape Verde.

WASCAL has its headquarters in Accra, Ghana, the Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and 12 graduate schools (PhD and MSc. Programmes) in 12 host universities in across West Africa.

The WASCAL Research Programme is aiming to  (i) develop qualitative and quantitative tools and models for linking bio-physical and socio-economic processes and feed-backs; (ii) use these models and tools to develop and analyse impact scenarios of climate change including the assessment of alternative land use options as a means to help society cope with the vagaries of climate change, both in climate trends as well as climate variability and extreme events and (iii) facilitate collaboration with research and donor institutions and organizations in West Africa to commonly identify constraints to adaptation and mitigation strategies in land use and how to master these.

Job Summary

Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the Director of Research will make the necessary linkages between the different poles of the WASCAL Research Programme and with external research partners, particularly the national, regional and international research institutions.  The Director of Research shall lead the staff of the WASCAL Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  The candidate shall have a strong track-record in the research community – perhaps in a research centre, foundation or academia – and specifically have experience of managing and publishing projects in at least one of our areas of expertise.

 The Director of Research, among other things, will

  • Coordinate the WASCAL research programmes activities;
  • Coordinate joint research activities of research institutions in the member countries of WASCAL and build a strong Network with them.
  • Lead the staff at the WASCAL Competence Centre 
  • Initiate the design, development, execution and the implementation of basic and applied research projects;
  • Design and implement a fundraising strategy for research activities
  • Ensure scientific excellence and maintenance of standards for high scientific quality
  • Maintain substantial knowledge of state of art principles and theories and contribute to scientific literature and conferences.
  • Initiate and oversee dissemination of science and research information and knowledge to the academic and broad public;
  • Write and submit proposals to international partners for funding.
  • Maintain high level of communication with WASCAL management and provide high level scientific advice to the Executive Director and to the Governing Board.

Position Summary

The duties and responsibilities include but not limited to the following:

  • Managing and coordinating the research group of WASCAL from the Competence Centre in all respect and developing strategies to ensure effective achievement of WASCAL vision and scientific objectives;
  • Collaborating with the regional and international scientific community for developing and maintaining effective partnerships and to ensuring that WASCAL’s research is well positioned, demand-driven and responsive to current and future adaptation/mitigation challenges.
  • Collaborating with WASCAL graduate studies programme
  • Writing or editing and approving research proposals to be submitted to partners or donors for fund raising or joint research projects;
  • Writing, editing and approving manuscripts for publication;
  • Overseeing, monitoring and evaluating research activities and completion of scientific projects;
  • Selecting, supervising and evaluating personnel to ensure the efficiency of the research group;
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of internal research policies and programmes and ensuring the application of scientific ethics, codes, rules, standards and guidelines;
  • Any other duties that may be assigned

Desired Skills and Experience

  • A doctoral degree in life science, climate change, geosciences, economics or socioeconomics
  • At least 5 years of research experience in a research institution setting with experience in leading interdisciplinary scientific teams, senior research management and coordination of research and development activities;
  • Extensive experiences in acquisition research funds from national and international donors as well as administrative and financial management of research programmes;
  • A track record of significant scientific achievements and demonstrated success in raising funds from national and international donors
  • Ability to manage, motivate and develop staff and to maintain good working relationships with individuals of different national and cultural backgrounds;
  • Excellent interpersonal relationships and an ability to approach regional leaders and donors;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English and French
  • Work experience in West-African countries and willingness to travel is of an advantage

Application procedure:

Applications including a covering letter (no more than two pages) with a statement of motivation, and highlighting the candidate’s experience against the criteria listed above (desired skills and experience), and a curriculum vitae including a list a publications, with names addresses, fax numbers and e-mail addresses of three professional referees should be emailed to Please indicate “Director of Research” in the subject line. Prospective candidates must be from WASCAL operating countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, the Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and Senegal.

The successful candidate will be appointed for an initial term of three (3) years starting with a six- month probation.

WASCAL offers an attractive tax-free remuneration package. WASCAL is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women to apply. 

Applications will be accepted up to the 30th of August, 2019.

Applications will be acknowledged, but only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Please visit for further information.

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