Grand Challenges Canada

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Program Officer, Saving Brains

Dec 21, 2018
Toronto, Ontario
Early Career

Grand Challenges Canada is seeking a Program Officer to play a critical leadership role to support innovations that promote early child development in low- and middle-income countries through its Saving Brains program.

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®. We are funded primarily by the Government of Canada and we fund innovators in low- and middle-income countries and Canada. The bold ideas we support integrate science and technology, social and business innovation – we call this Integrated Innovation®. We have a determined focus on results, and on saving and improving lives.

Grand Challenges Canada works closely with Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and a global network of partners to bring successful innovation to scale, catalyzing sustainability and impact.

Saving Brains is supported by a partnership with the shared goal of increasing human capital through the delivery of bold ideas that protect and nurture early brain development at scale in an equitable, sustainable manner. The portfolio of Saving Brains innovations focuses across three areas of healthy development – health and nutrition, enrichment, and protection – that, when addressed together, help children reach their full potential. Saving Brains is aligned with WHO Nurturing Care Framework, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.

GCC funds innovation at two phases of development:

• Phase I – Seed: to test that innovations can function as designed (i.e. proof-of-concept).
• Phase II – Transition-to-Scale (TTS): to catalyze the scale and sustainability of tested innovations, including those that have been funded by GCC as well as other trusted partners, using a combination of grant and non-grant financing.

Saving Brains is currently focused on enabling innovators in early childhood development to achieve sustainable impact at scale, and to learn and communicate enabling practices that can inform global activities focused on helping children thrive.

Description of responsibilities

Reporting to the Director of Programs and working closely with the rest of the Programs team, the Saving Brains PO’s responsibilities will include but are not limited to:
• Improving early child development by shaping and directly managing a growing portfolio of seed and transition to scale investments in innovative products, services and implementation models
• Engage and nurture partners across multiple sectors to increase the likelihood of scale and sustainability of Saving Brains innovations. Partners are likely to include the Saving Brains partners, local government partners, WHO, UNICEF, World Bank, and Foundations and external stakeholders for collective action 
• Source innovations, conduct due diligence, develop and pitch TTS investment proposals, and oversee negotiation of appropriate funding models and partnerships for specific innovations, providing feedback on methodological, operational and evaluative elements
• Enable success of innovations by working closely with high performing innovators from around the world, and managing a team of externally contracted experts and resources providing support to innovators 
• Analyze portfolio progress, results and lessons on a continual basis to share within GCC and to key stakeholders to improve actions in early child development 
• Act as a brand ambassador for GCC, represent GCC and Canada's strategic interests and promote its activities and opportunities through external collaborations, presentations and communications with potential partners, innovators, external thought leaders, and Canadian government representatives

Competencies and qualities

• Graduate degree in a discipline relevant to women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; (e.g., biomedical or health sciences, public health, medicine); doctoral level degree strongly preferred
• Minimum of 3 years relevant work experience
• Outstanding scientific judgement; i.e., proven ability to assess the validity of scientific evidence 
• Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of early child development and/or development programs in low- and middle-income countries a significant asset
• Proven ability to influence actions of multiple actors (innovators, partner organizations, governments, etc) towards a common vision.
• Passion for improving the lives of young children globally
• Knowledge and experience in project-level results reporting and data analysis, ideally for global health and development initiatives
• Highly developed interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to work well independently and within a multidisciplinary team; experience managing staff an asset
• Excellent organizational and time management skills
• Excellent verbal and written communications skills
• The ability to work effectively in a fast-paced, dynamic environment is essential 
• Some international travel will be required

• Commensurate with experience

• Start date: Immediate
• Temporary full-time

Application process
• Please send your CV, cover letter, and contact information for 3 references
• Applicants must be eligible to work in Canada
• You will also be required to complete some initial screening questions

 If you are interested in making your contribution at UHN, please apply on-line HERE


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