Vacancy: Executive Director of the ICSU World Data System (WDS) (re-advertised)

The International Council for Science and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Tokyo, Japan, are recruiting a new Executive Director for the ICSU World Data System.


The ICSU World Data System was established by the International Council for Science in September 2008 to promote long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products, and information across a range of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, and the humanities.

The Executive Director will lead the ICSU-WDS International Programme Office (IPO) hosted by the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Tokyo, Japan, with core funding provided by NICT. The Executive Director works under the scientific guidance of the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC) responsible for the overall scientific planning and oversight of the programme. The IPO is also supported by a Programme Officer, an Administrative Officer, and a Senior Advisor.

  • Under the guidance of the WDS-SC, the Executive Director will be expected to:
    facilitate the development, implementation and coordination of WDS projects and joint projects with partners;
  • liaise with WDS members and other stakeholders;
  • ensure effective representation of WDS and links between WDS and other relevant international and national programmes and their sponsoring organisations, relevant entities of the United Nations system, as well as the international policy community and funding agencies;
  • promote WDS internationally;
  • in collaboration with the WDS-SC, coordinate the preparation of proposals to secure supplemental funding of WDS operations and projects by governmental and private funding organizations worldwide;
  • promote the establishment and/or recruitment of WDS members; and.
  • travel extensively internationally to attend meetings and liaise with stakeholders

The Executive Director shall be a full-time employee of NICT and shall direct all activities of the IPO. The Executive Director will oversee staff members of the IPO, he/she will facilitate the expeditious and orderly development and implementation of the programme, including the preparation and organisation of meetings of the WDS-SC. He/she will have responsibility for drawing up annual programme and budgets of the Office, and ensuring that they are implemented observing the regulations and rules of the host institution. The Executive Director will maintain effective cooperation on administrative and technical matters with the host institution and relevant local organizations. In close collaboration with the WDS-SC Chair, the Executive Director will handle the interactions of the WDS-SC with ICSU and help to prepare yearly reports to ICSU on the status and health of the WDS.

The host institution, NICT, is recognized for its commitment to scientific research and development in the field of information and communications technology (ICT) and remote sensing technology. The institute also has a proven track record in scientific data, data services, data products and scientific information in international cooperation and long-term partnerships with international organizations of ICSU (World Data Centre for Ionosphere and a RWC of International Space Environment Service). The IPO is established in the Strategic Program Office, Social Innovation Unit located within NICT Headquarters in Koganei, Tokyo.

The Executive Director will hold a PhD in any field of research, or an equivalent qualification in engineering or computer science related to scientific data and information management. The successful applicant will have several years of direct experience working in an international research organization and in an interdisciplinary setting.

The ideal candidate should have

  • Knowledge of the international research data landscape;
  • Management experience related to small teams, project execution, and financial/ budget control;
  • Excellent communication skills and experience in liaison, building collaborative networks, and promotion of projects and initiatives;
  • Substantial experience in the use of information and communication technologies and web-based collaborative tools;
  • The ability to make independent progress with periodic guidance from a board and funders.

In addition to an excellent command of written and spoken English, a working knowledge of Japanese would be a plus.

Applications should include: (i) a Curriculum Vitae; (ii) a letter outlining the skills and experience relevant to WDS and its IPO; and (iii) the names and contact details of three individuals who have indicated their readiness to provide a reference.

Applications (preferably in one combined PDF file) should be sent via email with “WDS Executive Director” in the subject line, to

The new closing date for applications is 29 July 2018.

The position is based in Tokyo, initially for 3 fiscal year terms renewable annually up to 2020 fiscal year (end of March 2021). The salary will be negotiated but is expected to be in the range of 9,000,000 to 11,000,000 Japanese yen (JPY) per annum and will take due account of the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Labour regulation for the Executive Director will be done by NICT according to Japanese law.

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