Program Head/Senior Researcher, Inequality and Exclusion Grand Challenge

Program Head/Senior Researcher
Inequality and Exclusion Grand Challenge, Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

Exciting opportunity to lead a ground-breaking research program as part of a cross-regional alliance of countries, civil society, multilateral partners, and global thought leaders that are seeking to identify practical and politically viable solutions to ensure the targets on inequality and exclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals are met.

Job location:

New York City, New York University Center on International Cooperation

What is CIC/the Pathfinders intiative?

For over two decades New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) has built a reputation for its work on the links between politics, security, and sustainable development. CIC is a champion of the positive role that global institutions can play in fostering peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies is a group of UN member states, international organizations, global partnerships, civil society, and the private sector that work together to accelerate the delivery of the SDG targets for peace, justice and inclusion (SDG16+). Pathfinders was co-founded by and is hosted by CIC.

The Pathfinders initiative brings together 36 countries and close to 100 other partners. We launched the Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies in 2017 and played a central role in the mobilization for the High-level Political Forum (which reviewed SDG16 for the first time) and the first SDG Summit in 2019.

We actively support national implementation of the SDG16+ targets and work with global and regional partners to strengthen strategies and operational support for peaceful, just and inclusive societies. A key part of our work involves supporting three Grand Challenges, including the ministerial Task Force on Justice, fostering a community of action on SDG16.1 (significantly reduce all forms of violence everywhere), and supporting a coalition of countries and other partners working to tackle inequality and exclusion.

Job description

CIC is seeking a Program Head for its Inequality and Exclusion challenge as we help identify practical and politically viable solutions to meet the targets on equitable and inclusive societies in the Sustainable Development Goals and deliver on the motto of Leaving No One Behind.

Reporting to the Pathfinders Director, the principal job responsibilities are to:

  • Provide research and thought leadership, strategic direction, and management oversight for the initiative.
  • Develop and harness evidence, synthesizing research developed across multiple workstreams – fiscal and macroeconomic policy, political inclusion and participation, spatial inclusion, empowering social protection systems, technology and the future of work - to inform a vision and strategies for reducing inequality and exclusion at a domestic and international level.
  • Based on this research, develop a comprehensive portfolio of policies and approaches to implementation, which will be relevant in a variety of contexts and setting
  • Developing concrete strategies to engage member states and other partners on the implementation of evidence-based approaches and solutions
  • Represent the Grand Challenge and its research and policy recommendations in a variety of settings
  • Cultivate and maintain a productive and collaborative relationship with a variety of key partner countries, organizations, institutions, and individuals
  • Facilitate and support the work of the Advisory Council of the Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion (the political steering group of the initiative)
  • Identify and utilize high level political opportunities to further the agenda of the Grand Challenge including through United Nations and International Financial Institutions meetings, events and processes
  • Develop and implement a plan to take forward the movement to address inequality and exclusion as part of the UN’s Decade of Action for the SDGs.
  • Manage a team of staff and consultants, secure the continued financial sustainability of the program, and report on impact and value for money to donors.
  • Work with the Pathfinders director and other program leads to ensure the effective management of the Pathfinders program.
  • The program adopts a redistribution and recognition lens, which looks at multiple dimensions of inequality and patterns of exclusion, which are distinct but related: including material opportunities (distribution), but also status, esteem, and perceptions of worth and respect (recognition).

Our work aims to help reduce the structural inequalities, discrimination and exclusions faced by historically marginalized groups, including communities of color.

The position requires a track record as a research and thought leader in inequality and exclusion, with experience that ideally covers multiple dimensions of inequality and exclusion. The candidate should have demonstrated skill in leading research and policy partnerships, including in the Global South, and the ability to lead and manage a dynamic and fast-moving program. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential, as well as experience with effective communications strategies. Fluency working proficiency in more than one of the UN’s official languages is highly desirable. We value diversity at CIC and especially appeal to persons from minority or marginalized groups to apply.


Required Education:

Master's Degree or PhD in a relevant field, combined with relevant practical experience.

Required Experience:

15+ years’ experience working on research and action to promote peace, justice, or inclusion. Experience working with many types of research partners and stakeholders (governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society) in different regions, including the Global South.

Preferred Experience:

Playing a leadership role within a multi-stakeholder policy research partnership or process, including in the Global South. Track record of publishing influential policy research. Fundraising for a think tank, research center, or non-profit organization. Management of a research and advocacy team (including goal setting, resource allocation, and professional development).

Required Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:

Deep expertise on inequality and exclusion. Ability to maintain an overview of a broad policy agenda. Strategic skills to direct and develop a program. Networking skills to manage a positive relationship with member states, international organizations, civil society, and donors. Experience in fundraising and grant management, and in managing complex budgets. Proven ability to manage and develop a team. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Fluency in English and one additional language, with a preference for another UN language.

How to apply: Apply by following this link.

Additional Information

EOE/AA/Minorities/Females/Vet/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity