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Vacancy: Executive Director

The International Council for Science (ICSU) is seeking an Executive Director, to lead implementation of the strategic goals and plans of the organization, manage its Secretariat and oversee day-to-day operations.

Location: Paris, France
Closing date: 11 August 2014 (midnight CET)

ICSU, founded in 1931, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the promotion of science for the benefit of society. To accomplish its mission, ICSU facilitates, mobilizes and engages the knowledge and resources of the international science community represented by 31 Scientific Unions and 121 National Scientific Members (representing 141 countries) and 19 Interdisciplinary Bodies set up by ICSU to address specific scientific research areas.

ICSU is governed by its General Assembly, which meets every three years. Responsibility for leadership between General Assemblies is vested with ICSU's Officers and the Executive Board, elected by the General Assembly. The Executive Director reports to the elected Officers and the Executive Board.

ICSU has a central Secretariat of 18 staff located in Paris, plus three overseas Regional Offices in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.  The Paris office also currently hosts the interim secretariat for Future Earth.

The Executive Director is expected to:

  • Act to achieve ICSU's mission, strategy and plans, and contribute to their formulation and development;
  • Work with and seek synergy and harmony among all components of the ICSU membership: Scientific Unions, National Members and Interdisciplinary Bodies;
  • Ensure effective links between ICSU and partners in the UN, governmental and non-governmental sectors and help raising funds in support of ICSU’s programmes;
  • Manage the ICSU Secretariat and its staff in Paris and the Regional Offices around the world.

ICSU is seeking candidates with the following:

Qualifications and knowledge

  • An advanced university degree (Doctorate or equivalent) in a relevant science discipline and a record in the conduct of scientific research;
  • At least fifteen years of experience in international collaboration and management of scientific programmes;
  • High-level liaison and representation experience with major national and international scientific and stakeholder bodies.
  • Knowledge of relevant intergovernmental partner organisations and processes, including UN structures
  • Demonstrated ability to work within a complex, international, interdisciplinary and multicultural environment
  • A full command of written and spoken English. Working knowledge of French and knowledge of other languages is considered an advantage.


  • Leadership and management as well as strategic, financial and staff management skills
  • Excellent communication, networking and partnership building skills
  • Proven ability to write documents in a concise, convincing manner
  • Ability to build consensus amongst diverse views
  • Ability to operate successfully with a high degree of autonomy and to delegate effectively
  • Ability to participate effectively in fund raising

The salary will be dependent on the experience and qualifications of the candidate.

The incumbent should be prepared to conduct frequent world-wide travel. There will be an initial probationary period of six months, and the incumbent is expected to reside in the Paris area, certainly after confirmation at the end of the probationary period.

Interested candidates should request a more detailed job description by writing in confidence to the Secretary General at secretarygeneral@icsu.org with ‘ED query’ in the subject line.

Applicants are requested to address the job description, qualifications, knowledge and skills requirements in a cover letter and attach a curriculum vitae with the name and contact details of three referees. Applications (preferably in one combined PDF file) should be sent via email, with ‘ED application’ in the subject line, to secretarygeneral@icsu.org. Please indicate where you saw this job advertisement. The closing date for applications is 11 August 2014 (midnight CET).

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