Vacancy: Executive Director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme

Applications are now closed.

About IRDR 

The International Science Council (ISC) invites applications for the post of Executive Director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) programme.  

IRDR is an international scientific programme addressing all hazards bringing together the natural, social, medical and engineering sciences. It is an Affiliated Body of the ISC. The mission of IRDR is to mobilize science for the reduction of all types of disaster risk, building resilience and reducing vulnerability by integrating risk science with climate adaptation and mitigation and sustainable development. Its objectives include:

  • the scientific characterization of natural and human-induced environmental hazards, vulnerability and risk;
  • the understanding of decision-making in complex and changing risk contexts; and
  • the reduction of risk and curbing losses through knowledge-based actions.

The programme is founded on the recognition that disaster prevention and mitigation are critical dimensions of the global poverty reduction agenda and efforts to adapt to climate change, and should be an integral part of all international and national sustainable development efforts. 

IRDR is an international scientific programme co-sponsored by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the International Science Council (ISC), and funded by the China Association of Science and Technology (CAST). The International Programme Office of IRDR (IRDR IPO) is hosted by the Aerospace Information Research Institute (AIR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences based in Beijing, China. 


The Executive Director heads the International Programme Office (IPO) that provides the secretariat of the Programme. The main responsibilities of the Executive Director are the following: 

  • manage the IPO currently comprising a team of a science officer, a communications officer and an administrative officer with the possibility of recruiting additional staff,  
  • lead the development and implementation of the programme’s action plan,  
  • maintain excellent communication and collaboration with the Scientific Committee (SC) on all scientific issues and support the work of the SC including through regular online and in-person meetings, 
  • engage all components of the IRDR network, including the National Committees, International Centers of Excellence, and the Young Scientists network to foster their meaningful contribution to the programme, 
  • engage DRR scientists and stakeholders across the world in the implementation of the IRDR’s strategy and action plan and in relevant DRR policy processes,  
  • develop partnerships to support the delivery of the IRDR mission and ensure its global impact, 
  • fundraise and mobilise resources for activities,  
  • liaise with the host organization to ensure compliance with the host’s administrative rules and regulations.

Working conditions 

The Executive Director will be a full-time employee of AIR. 

The Executive Director manages a small team employed by AIR and directs all activities of the IPO. Much of the activities of the IPO revolve around a cycle of designing and leveraging resources for initiatives designed to mobilize the multi-disciplinary expertise of the extensive IRDR network and build the programme’s profile, often implemented through a mix of meetings, partnerships with organizations with cognate interests and virtual communications. She/He will have responsibility for drawing up annual workplans and budgets for the Office, and ensuring that they are implemented. The position requires regular regional and international travel to attend conferences and meet with partners. 

The Executive Director reports to the co-sponsors of IRDR on the overall development of the programme and strategic considerations, maintains excellent cooperation with the donor and the host, and reports to the host on all financial, administrative, legal and human resources matters.


The Executive Director will hold a PhD in a natural, social, medical or engineering science discipline related to disaster risk reduction and have several years of direct experience in international programme management. Proven management, fundraising, and diplomatic skills, and capacity to work in a multi-cultural environment will be essential. Both an excellent command of written and spoken English and a working knowledge of Mandarin are required. The following additional qualities are considered to be essential: 

  • The ability to lead and motivate a small team to deliver on a range of scientific activities, policy engagement and outreach activities,
  • The ability to engage and leverage a large international network of experts to deliver impactful activities of global relevance, 
  • Experience in operating at the interface of diverse scientific disciplines and in engaging with policy-makers and other non-scientific stakeholders, 
  • A high level of flexibility and adaptability, 
  • The ability to think strategically while managing the operational side of the programme, including host reporting requirements, 
  • An understanding of Asian and other cultures.

Applications should include a Curriculum Vitae (maximum 4 pages) and a cover letter (maximum 2 pages) combined into a single PDF file and be submitted via the dedicated online application form below. Any questions regarding the post should be directed to, with “IRDR Executive Director” in the subject line. Please note: Email applications will not be accepted.

The closing date for applications is 18 March 2024.

The salary of the Executive Director of IRDR will be negotiable but UN salary scales do not apply for this post. The initial contract of employment will be of two years’ duration, renewable. The preferred starting date would be 1 June 2024.   

Photo by ISC

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