British Council Abuja Job Vacancy for a Research Director

The British Council is the world’s leading cultural relations organization and creates opportunities for people in the UK and worldwide to understand each other, to work together and learn from one another. We see this as crucial to building secure, more prosperous and sustainable futures for us all.

We build trust and understanding between different countries and cultures and develop strong international links that are of benefit to people in Britain and the rest of the world.

The British Council is recruiting to fill the below position of:

Job Title: Director Research, Nigeria

Location: Abuja
Directorate or Region: SSA
Department/Country: Programmes/Nigeria
Pay Band: 8
Reports to: Director Programmes
Duration of job: Fixed term of two years

Purpose of Job
This is a new post that will:

  • Lead on the delivery of high profile research in support of British Council Nigeria’s country strategy, programme delivery and external role and profile.
  • Support delivery of high impact programmes through strengthening internal monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • Lead our strategy for supporting the capacity and growth of Nigeria’s early career researchers and increase access to and appreciation for Nigerian research in the international development and education research communities
  • Deliver market research for business growth
  • Secure research funding
  • Represent the British Council externally, positioning the British Council as a thought leader in our three strategic business areas (SBUs); Arts, English, Education and Society.

Accountabilities, Responsibilities and Main Duties

  • Strategy Development and Implementation.
  • Lead the development and delivery of the Nigeria Research strategy working with the wider Nigeria Programmes, Exams and English business streams and the regional SBU teams.
  • Ensure that a robust business plan with agreed targets is developed that reflects the strategic focus for Research.
  • Ensure that operational delivery capability in the Research team is fit-for-purpose and able to respond flexibly to changes in the portfolio.
  • Actively contribute to the corporate Research agenda by working closely in partnership with the regional and UK SBU teams and leaders.

Programme/Project Governance and Compliance:

  • Ensure all activities are delivered in compliance with ethical standards and governance;
  • Ensure all research is conducted to the highest standards of integrity
  • Maintain a strong culture of risk management, both of the business and of the security of partners, staff and customers in all areas.

Portfolio Management:

  • Build and maintain collaborative relationships with key partners e.g. Ministries of Education; NUC; MacArthur Foundation; universities, SUBEBs, Institute of Education UCL, research networks and development organisations and NGOs to support the delivery of business objectives
  • Hornby partnership English language research project
  • Open University evaluation of the Learn English Audio in Nigeria action research project
  • Nigeria component of SSA Regional International Higher Education research
  • Northern Nigeria Girls Education and Advocacy Research network
  • Researcher Links initiative for Nigeria
  • Act as Research Director for all on-going research and action research projects across the SBUs including
  • MacArthur co-funded Gender in Teacher Education Research project
  • MacArthur co-funded Fast Forward skills action research project

The UK/NG 2015-16 Arts Season:

  • Assume position of Research Director for all new research and action research projects across the operation
  • Act as Research Director for market research for BC business streams including for
  • Services for International Marketing (SIEM) for UK universities, schools and colleges (expected to focus first on higher education and cross border collaboration); and for establishing the research base to support growth in the Exams business and the introduction of new commercial products and services
  • Lead monitoring, evaluation and learning of all programmes and projects to ensure corporate, client and/or partner standards, safeguard reputation of British Council, grow our knowledge and expertise and achieve the change we wish to see on the target group/s.
  • Work closely with the Nigeria Marketing and Communications team to ensure relevant and high impact marketing and communications for each research project.
  • Build and maintain co-operative relationships with the research and evaluation teams in the large scale DFID funded BC managed contracts Justice for All (J4A) and Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) and find opportunities to collaborate on joint activity
  • Lead implementation of the strategy to support the development of early career researchers in Nigeria and the growth of a community of research practice in Nigeria
  • Build appreciation and awareness of research generated in Nigeria in the international development community
  • Lead on appropriate dissemination activity to ensure sustainable benefit from the research projects when they reach closure
  • Lead our contribution to regional research and dissemination events, publications and communications

Impact, Income, Growth and Business Development:

  • Develop and leverage potential for building and growing a high impact, high quality Research portfolio in alignment with country, regional and global strategies
  • Track and pursue funding and partnership opportunities and provide the technical content for expressions of interest; tenders and applications
  • Grow and maintain relationships with partner universities and academics; research organisations; development organisations; donors; supporting bodies including Federal and State governments and NGOs – and lead and coordinate all activities in this area.
  • Develop relationships with the UK and Nigerian academic and social research sectors
  • Track relevant market trends and pursue opportunities to contribute to market intelligence to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities e.g. within SIEM.
  • Lead the positioning of the British Council Nigeria as a leader in research in our corporate SBUs.

Team Leadership and Management:

  • Demonstrate effective leadership of all Nigeria Research staff and ensure that line management of staff is to British Council standards.
  • Coach and support individuals.
  • Build the skills of project teams to manage and conduct internal project monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • Model appropriate leadership styles and British Council behaviours and ensure that staff work in alignment with the British Council Values at all times
  • Actively support equality and diversity and work to the British Council’s EO&D policy at all times.

Country Team Working and Management:

  • As a member of the senior leadership team (SLT), contribute actively on country level strategy, leadership, policy and decision making, including impact and income and contributing analysis from research undertaken and issues affecting the sectors we work in
  • Maintain close working relationships with all SLT colleagues and exploit collaborative working opportunities.
  • Lead Country wide initiatives as agreed e.g. Child Protection, Staff Engagement etc.
  • Represent British Council at the highest levels with policy and decision makers.
  • Contribute to ensuring the programmes and projects of the BC are relevant, having impact and delivered with integrity.

Regional and Functional Team Working:

  • Work closely and effectively as part of the regional and global teams, in particular with Deputy RD SSA, Regional Heads of SBUS, the global E&S team; Regional Manager SIEM and the Education Market Intelligence Team .
  • Participate actively as part of the SSA Education & Society SBU.

Continuous Professional Development:

  • Keep abreast of latest debates and discourse in the international research sector.
  • Write for media, marketing and communications and publication
  • Drive continuous learning and improvement across the research portfolio and proactively share best practice and learning across the wider organisation.
  • Actively contribute to British Council being recognised as a thought leader.
  • Manage talent and succession planning effectively within the Research team.
  • Ensure career planning, development planning and continuous professional development are embedded.

Staff Management

  • line management of a new team of two senior research managers and one research manager,  and the of one existing monitoring and evaluation project manager (responsible for British Council’s  corporate Scorecard system).
  • Indirect: Colleagues in teams implementing action research projects and responsible for research components and impact tracking and assessment; consultant research assistants, external suppliers and international and Nigerian partners.

Resource Management:

  • Delegated budgets from other projects and programmes
  • Income and expenditure account for the Research portfolio
  • Team member’s time allocated to programmes/projects.

External Stakeholders & Key Relationships:

  • Existing partners in funding and implementation
  • Nigerian and UK Universities
  • Funding and Donor organisations
  • UK HMG, public and private sector organisations with interest or programmes in Nigeria
  • Nigerian and UK education & skills institutions
  • Management teams and consultants working on donor funded education & skills and governance programmes in Nigeria
  • DFID’s Research projects, notably EDOREN
  • Early career researchers
  • Development organisations, NGOs
  • Organisations engaged in the international development research sector

Internal Stakeholders & Key Relationships:

  • BC Nigeria and regional leadership teams
  • Global and regional E&S SBU teams
  • Large scale BC managed contracts in Nigeria.

Other important features or requirements of the job (E.g. travel, unsocial/evening hours, restrictions on employment etc.)

  • Operational work requires occasional work outside conditioned hours, for example in the evenings or at weekends. TOIL should be agreed with the line manager in advance to maintain an adequate work-life balance.
  • Training may be required for certain aspects of the job such as using SAP.
  • Applicants must have right of abode and right to work in Nigeria.
  • The post-holder may also be required to travel to various project activity locations and internationally on BC business and should therefore hold valid travel documents.

Person Specification


  • Connecting with others (most demanding)
  • Working together (most demanding)
  • Being accountable (most demanding)
  • Making it happen (most demanding)

Other behaviours needed for the job but not evaluated at interview:

  • Shaping the future (more demanding)
  • Creating a shared purpose (more demanding)


  • Skills and Knowledge Specialist Knowledge (from post doctorate qualification) in subject relevant to British Council, supported by publications and references.

Business Development:

  • Able to plan and deliver business development activities for a major and/or new market category which is significant for the Council.

Communication Skills:

  • Displays good listening, writing and speaking skills, setting out logical arguments clearly and adapting language and form of communication to meet the needs of different people/audiences.

Planning and Organising:

  • Organises own work over weeks and months, or plans ahead for others, taking account of priorities and the impact on other people.
  • Working knowledge of and sources of funding for research
  • Working knowledge of Nigerian education system and research capacity.
  • Working knowledge of key development themes in Nigeria
  • Network of contacts in the academic and social research sectors in Nigeria.
  • Develops and reviews the implementation of annual plans for a work group or function, taking account of business and customer requirements and reconciling competing demands
  • Working knowledge of the international research discourse and the research discourse in Nigeria


  • Managing Projects
  • Analyses requirements with the sponsor/stakeholders, defining the specification, planning, revising, implementing and evaluating on medium-to-large scale and/or high risk projects.
  • Managing finance and resources
  • Monitors and controls an agreed budget within a defined area, producing reports and analyses and contributing to planning.
  • Coordinates a diverse team with awareness of equality and diversity impact as part of the project specifications and handles changes in specification or plan to meet unexpected circumstances


  • Doctorate of Research in a field relevant to British Council
  • First or second Degree from a leading international university.


  • Track record of producing high quality research publications and managing research teams
  • Track record of securing funding for undertaking research projects
  • Experience of working with partner or client funds.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Click here to download job details MS Word
Click here to download BC Behaviour (pdf)
Click here to download BC Core Skills (pdf)

Application Deadline  15th January, 2016.

  • Applications received after the stated deadline will not be considered. Please apply using the materials on the website.
  • We are unable to process applications that do not conform to the required format, and we will not accept CV’s.
  • Candidates with special needs should please ask us for this information in alternative formats.

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