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Research Manager, XCEPT

The Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) programme is one of the UK government’s flagship conflict research programmes. XCEPT brings together world-leading experts and local researchers to examine conflict-affected borderlands, how conflicts connect across borders, and the drivers of violent and peaceful behaviour.  Funded by UK aid, XCEPT offers rigorous, actionable research to inform policies and programmes that support peace.

The Chemonics-managed part of XCEPT began implementation in mid-2021. A key component of the programme is the XCEPT Research Fund (XRF). This is XCEPT’s flexible, responsive research commissioning platform, delivering journal-quality policy-relevant research.

The Research Managers will be primarily involved in award research management. They will take on important technical and management roles on major research awards, including stakeholder engagement, research design and delivery, building rosters of research fund awardees and overseeing the commissioning, management, quality assurance and uptake of research.

The Research Manager will also lead the technical design of new research awards. This includes advising on appropriate and innovative mixed-methods research methodologies.

Key Responsibilities:

Research Management

  • Project management: Oversee the planning, execution, and completion of research awards, ensuring they are delivered in line with the agreed workplan and within budget. Manage project timeline and resources effectively, proactively identifying needs for adaptation and adjusting delivery accordingly.
  • Safety and security: Review awardee plans for travel to higher risk destinations, including reviewing security risk assessments (SRAs) and liaising with Chemonics’ security department to ensure safety and security of research activities, per XCEPT and Chemonics Duty of Care procedures.
  • Compliance and ethics: Ensure that all research activities adhere to ethical standards, applying XCEPT’s research and Chemonics’ business conduct standards across all aspects of project delivery.

Technical Research Guidance

  • Review data collection plans and analysis: Review and provide feedback on research methodology design, ensuring research awardees are using rigorous, systematic approaches. Where relevant, support review and challenge of initial data analysis and research findings.
  • Quality assure research deliverables: Review and quality assure research outputs, including by providing robust feedback and challenge where appropriate to ensure adherence to XCEPT programme standards for research.
  • Uptake and presentation: Work with the awardee and XCEPT Communications team to develop an uptake approach for awardees that engages key stakeholders and audiences to inform policy and programmatic responses to conflict. Support awardees to synthesize and clearly communicate complex research findings and analysis through briefings, policy papers, blogs, multimedia outputs and other means.

Research Commissioning and Strategy

  • Research design: Support the design and commissioning of new research projects that align with XCEPT’s strategic objectives and thematic and geographic priorities. Design scopes of work to support commissioning of rigorous research and analysis, such as literature and evidence reviews, and mixed-methods field and remote data collection.
  • Research outreach: Cultivate a network of research organisations and researchers with expertise in XCEPT focus geographies and thematic areas. Support outreach to potential awardees.
  • Cross-programme coherence: Contribute to ensuring that new and ongoing research awards build synergies and links across XCEPT’s portfolio of research, ensuring complementarity in research and uptake agendas.

Person Specification:

Essential Skills

  • Experience with quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, in particular the design and management of research in conflict-affected settings
  • Understanding of research ethics, safeguarding and duty of care
  • Knowledge of best practice for ethical research, and duty of care and safeguarding in FCAS is preferred
  • Experience engaging and managing independent researchers and/or research organisations, particularly those operating in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS) is preferred
  • Excellent research skills, communication skills (oral and written), analytic skills, and strong interpersonal skills
  • Excellent English language written and oral skills, including strong editing skills
  • Strategic thinking and the ability to align research activities with XCEPT’s objectives
  • Demonstrated critical project management skills, including partner management, personnel management, budget management, and contractual and procurement compliance
  • Experience multitasking with attention to detail, organisation, and time management skills
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness in problem solving and initiative to learn new skills
  • Strong written skills, especially in terms of writing concisely for an HMG policy and programmatic audience
  • English language proficiency
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, with proficiency in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel

Desirable Skills

  • Experience delivering research and analysis to policy audiences
  • Experience leading, shaping, and managing innovative research porfolios and outputs
  • Experience building strong relationships with multiple partners and organisations to achieve a strong cohesive research consortium
  • Experience building the capacity of researchers in research methodologies, ethics, framing, proposals, workplan management, and deliverables
  • Track record of successful project delivery and stakeholder engagement
  • Experience supervising and managing team performance in a constructive manner


  • UK work authorisation or ability to obtain it required.

Please note: this position is contingent upon funding allocation.

  • Application Closing Date: 14/04/2024
  • Location: Hybrid, London (full-time)
  • Contract Type: Permanent
  • Further Information:



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