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Director, Science and Data Centre

Vacancy #:   6087
Unit:   IUCN Centre for Science and Data
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Headquarters, Gland, Switzerland
Reporting to:   Deputy Director General - Programme
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   D
Expected start date:   01 March 2023
Type of contract:   Max-term (24 months)
Closing date:   30 September 2022
This senior leadership position provides an exciting opportunity to help shape and steer the innovation, knowledge generation and collaboration with partners required to achieve the Union’s Vision, Mission and deliver its Programme of work. The Director of the IUCN Centre for Science and Data will be a seasoned conservation expert with an established and proven track record in institutional leadership and management. Working in full collaboration with her/his peers in the other Thematic Centres and IUCN Regional Offices, the Director will:-

i) set the Centre’s strategic vision;
ii) develop and take to market appropriate business models capable of sustaining IUCN’s leadership role in the field of conservation science and data;
iii) be accountable for the Centre’s conservation outcomes and impacts;
iv) enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the Centre’s operational delivery; and
v) ensure the Centre’s financial stability and growth.

Candidates should note that as this is a senior leadership position, the Centre Director will be rotated periodically (normally every 3 to 4 years) across other equivalent senior management positions.

Lead and direct the strategic development, positioning and effective implementation of the IUCN Centre for Science and Data, its four Thematic Teams and associated initiatives. S/he works strategically and in support of the Deputy Director General – Programme and in full collaboration with the other Centre Directors, his or her Regional counterparts, IUCN Member organisations, Commission members, governments, institutions, and civil society groups to advance IUCN’s Mission and mandate of the organisation. With a firm understanding of global conservation and sustainable development and a keen desire to innovate and deliver positive change at scale, the Centre Director oversees and drives the development and implementation of the Centre’s portfolio, in line with IUCN’s strategic plans and programmes. She/he is responsible for maintaining a high and professional corporate profile for IUCN, particularly with IUCN Members, partners, donors and other stakeholder groups.

This position requires an accomplished, credible and reliable senior leader with strong experience, an innovative track record and a good understanding of the demands and requirements that various stakeholders (from both within and outside the conservation sector) have for credible conservation knowledge, tools, guidance and technical engagement. The Centre Director has an institutional responsibility for oversight of the broad spectrum of expertise offered by her/his Thematic Teams as well as the skills to oversee organisational management and financial planning. S/he is equally accountable for financial, people and administrative resources and ensures the financial viability of the Centre in line with IUCN policies and procedures. The Centre Director ensures that all organisational activities are consistently performed under the principles of equity, fairness, inclusiveness and respect for the diversity of people and that all Centre staff adhere to IUCN’s standards and values and observe a high level of personal and institutional propriety.


Leadership, Programme Management and Representation

• Represent and promote the Mission of IUCN to Governments, donors and collaborating boundary partners in a manner that enhances the status of the Union and influences decision-making bodies, intergovernmental agencies, non-governmental organisations, civil society and the private sector;
• Provide strategic leadership and guidance in developing and implementing innovative robust and reliable business models to support delivery of IUCN’s Programme;
• In close collaboration with peers, ensure that the Centre’s programmatic delivery fully integrates the required skills and knowledge from other thematic Centres and Regional Offices and that the cost of such inputs are fully covered;
• Oversee the preparation, implementation, evaluation and reporting of multi-year work plans for the Centre in line with the IUCN Programme and its operational and management procedures;
• Serve as a member of the IUCN Programme Centres Coordinating Group;
• Establish programme and portfolio targets derived from IUCN’s quadrennial strategic programme;
• Support the Programme Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Team in coordinating and tracking the delivery of designated Prioritised Programme Areas and Programme Enabling Activities;
• Establish and maintain institutional relations with key collaborating partners and formalise such relationships by establishing Agreements that enhance active cooperation and collaboration between parties in conserving the integrity and diversity of nature;
• Establish priorities and remain accountable for the implementation of work plans to manage and mitigate strategic and operational risks associated with various programmatic engagements;
• Provide intellectual direction on the development, uptake and use of knowledge products, analysis and reports developed by the Centre;
• Ensure Centre’s initiatives and projects are delivered within time, quality, scope, specification, and budget as well as compliance with all appropriate stakeholder and donor requirements and reporting.

Resource mobilisation, Operational Oversight and Constituency Engagement

• Cultivate and develop a dynamic, effective and committed team of professionals while addressing workforce diversity, equity and equality;
• Foster the behaviours and values that prioritise the delivery of high quality, team-based results across the Centre, ensuring that staff understand how their work, role and responsibilities fit into the strategic objectives IUCN;
• Review, maintain and, as necessary, enhance the mix of technical skills and competencies within the Centre’s workforce required to deliver the individual Teams’ mandate;
• Develop and safeguard a professional work environment, free from harassment, ensuring that the highest standards of conduct are observed at all times;
• Maintain a positive work environment that facilitates proactive collaboration, programmatic integration and information sharing across Teams, Centres and Regional Offices;
• Direct the effective operation of the Centre’s activities including workforce resources and financial management, as well as the effective application of IUCN’s policies, procedures and internal control mechanisms;
• Lead and manage the Centre’s budgeting process, prioritising key investments in innovation and ensuring the Centre’s overall financial sustainability;
• Facilitate the necessary donor intelligence and align the Centre’s products and outcomes with helping to meet their needs and priorities;
• Build and nurture the Centre’s engagement with the IUCN Commissions, developing deeper collaboration.


Enthusiastic commitment and vision, characterised by: a commitment to the systematic incorporation of cutting-edge knowledge and approaches in policy and practices and an ability to provide inspiration and strategic direction.

Leadership abilities and experience, maturity and management skills, characterised by: unimpeachable integrity as evidenced by behaviour, communication style and way of handling ambiguous or difficult situations involving staff with skills, personalities, and backgrounds. Furthermore, the Director must possess a clear commitment to fostering a culture of high performance and accountability, demonstrated in the ability to manage by results, differentiate performance and assertively give feedback and take decisive action when necessary.

Senior management experience, characterised by: a commitment and co-ownership of institutional change processes combined with well-developed sense of managerial self-awareness that enables proactive management of individual strengths and weaknesses (including one’s own).

Sound judgment and decision-making, characterised by: a clear moral compass and resolute managerial courage that does not shy away from making the ethical, just, fair and professional decisions even when they are difficult or potentially unpopular.
  • Advanced graduate degree in a development or science-related area including natural resources management, business management, public administration, project management, economics, conservation and sustainable development or relevant social sciences.

• At least 15 years of experience of proven and innovative conservation leadership.

• At least 10 years of leadership experience in managing a large team of professionals working in a decentralised global network.

• Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences. A basic command of a second language (French, Spanish) is desirable.

• Demonstrated experience in partnership, government relations, and operations management.

• Experience in developing projects and programmes and ability to lead fund raising strategies and activities with the donor community, both public and private.

• Ability to travel frequently.
The minimum gross annual salary for this position is CHF 194'014, subject to deductions for social security contributions and second-pillar pension, and before tax. While this is an indicative amount effective as of the current date, changes may occur as per IUCN's compensation practices without prior notice. The same applies to other organisations hosted by IUCN.

Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System, by opening the vacancy announcement and pressing the "Apply" button.

Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST). Please note that only selected applicants will be personally contacted for interviews.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website: http://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 10,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.

Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.