Civic Space Research cluster lead

CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, is looking for a dynamic leader to lead its research on civic space, including the flagship CIVICUS Monitor.

We are looking for a skilled manager who is able to:

Proactively interpret and communicate information about global civic space trends in line with CIVICUS’ mission, vision, values, strategic directions and stakeholder needs. Strategically lead a team of dynamic civil society researchers engaged in curation of global civic space trends, including through the CIVICUS Monitor, a leading participatory research platform. Actively contribute to organisational management and development activities as a member of the CIVICUS Programmes Management Forum.

Who you are

You are a dynamic researcher and advocate who deeply cares about civic space. You are knowledgeable about civil society and conversant with various contemporary research methodologies. You are able to inspire a team of committed researchers and are adept at engaging a wide network of stakeholders while being responsive to their needs. You are a seasoned innovator and powerful communicator who believes in what CIVICUS stands for and is committed to those we serve.

You understand global politics and are able to deconstruct trends from a civil society lens. You are a self-starter, who thrives in a fast-paced work environment. You are willing to travel regularly, including at least twice a year to our Johannesburg headquarters.

Who we are

CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. We strive to promote excluded voices, especially from the Global South, and have members in more than 175 countries throughout the world. Since 1993, we have been dedicated to enhancing the rights, freedoms, health and vitality of civil society. We’re a global team, using new technologies to connect us around the world. We’re passionate about what we do.

  • We work for civil society, protecting and growing 'civic space’ – the freedoms of expression, association and assembly - that allow citizens and organisations to speak out, organise and take action.
  • We monitor, research and analyse global events and trends that impact civil society.
  • We strengthen civil society by bringing it together to generate and share knowledge, to improve its working and to act collectively. We work to ensure that civil society voices are heard. To achieve impact, we communicate, campaign and advocate.


  • Be part of the leading global alliance of civil society organisations and activists.
  • Be part of a global, highly effective team, driven by civil society.
  • Grow and be challenged by the dynamic responses to our ever-changing world.
  • Global outlook with meaningful content and the passion and drive to make a change wherever you are.


  • Advanced degree in international relations, law, politics, or relevant social sciences. In cases of exceptional experience, this criterion can be waived.
  • A proven track record of doing high-quality and policy-relevant research.
  • Demonstrable experience of managing teams and engaging diverse civil society actors.


  • In-depth knowledge of global politics and the international human rights framework.
  • Track record of managing teams operating in complex and dynamic work environments.
  • Demonstrated competence in using a range of research methodologies.
  • Familiarity with global civil society networks and trends.
  • Experience of interacting effectively with a range of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to synthesize and process information from a variety of sources.
  • Excellent writing, presentation, facilitation and public speaking skills in English. (Knowledge of other major languages would be an advantage)


  • Ability to oversee multiple areas of work, inspire and lead a team working in several locations.
  • Ability to plan ahead, manage substantial budgets and implement organisational development strategies.
  • Empathy and capacity to work in diverse multi-cultural environments with professional integrity. High degree of adaptability and comfort level in using with cutting edge IT tools.
  • Ability to converse in multiple UN languages will be an advantage.


Strategic planning and management

  • Overseeing effective management of CIVICUS’ Civic Space Research Cluster, including functioning of the CIVICUS Monitor in partnership with a network of over twenty research partner organisations situated around the globe.
  • Identifying and developing key organisational civic space research priorities through the development of partnerships, collaborations and standalone research projects.
  • Managing a team of civic space researchers, including through ongoing coordination of their work, conducting regular performance reviews and fostering positive and productive team spirit.
  • Actively participating in CIVICUS’ Programmes Management Forum and ensuring effective collaboration between civic space research activities and other organisational functions, in particular Advocacy & Campaigns.
  • Leading annual work planning and budgeting for CIVICUS’ Civic Space Research Cluster, ensuring strategic alignment with CIVICUS’ strategic goals and activities of other clusters at CIVICUS.

Curation and communication of global civic space trends

  • Overseeing the creative curation of information and analysis of civic space trends in all countries of the world. Developing and honing innovative methodologies to measure civic space.
  • Coordinating the maintenance and regular updating of a quantitative database on civic space in order to produce reliable ratings on civic space for 196 countries.
  • Ensuring the maintenance of high standards in terms of verification of information and quality of published material for regular narrative updates published on the CIVICUS Monitor.
  • Ensuring effective dissemination of civic space research findings to a diverse range of stakeholders using innovative communication tools.
  • Coordinating the drafting of organisational research papers, reports, submissions, articles etc. to influence decision makers and support civic space advocates.

Representation and coordination functions

  • Coordinating engagement with key stakeholders at the local, regional and international levels on civic space conditions and future trends.
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with academic and civil society partners, particularly in respect of the CIVICUS Monitor.
  • Representing CIVICUS at key civil society and intergovernmental forums with a view to protecting and expanding civic space.

Location:   Global with a preference for CIVICUS headquarters in Johannesburg

Start date:   As soon as possible following the conclusion of the recruitment process in end January 2019

Salary:     Patterson Grade D; starting salary of USD 60,000 per annum negotiable, depending on prior experience and qualification

Duration:   2-year contract in the first instance

To apply, please submit:

A motivational letter; A detailed CV; Contact details of three current references to .

Deadline for submission of applications: 15 January 2019.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.