Director, Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, D2

Director, Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, D2

WHO - World Health Organization

Geneva, Switzerland


The objective of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) is to foster an effective global research effort on infectious diseases of poverty in which disease-endemic countries play a pivotal role.


  • Provides leadership and serves as the scientific and technical reference among TDR's co-sponsors and other multilateral agencies for matters relating to research in the area of infectious diseases of poverty;
  • Provides authoritative advice on all TDR issues, guiding and motivating TDR staff and other relevant staff at WHO headquarters, regions, and countries, spearheading and encouraging exchanges of information and common understanding within the Programme and relevant entities such as co-sponsoring agencies, WHO Departments and Divisions, WHO Regional Offices, external research partners and appropriate government and international agencies;
  • Advises co-sponsors, UN and other multilateral agencies as well as as WHO Member States and nongovernmental agencies on matters relating to research on infectious diseases of poverty and to implementation research, working in close collaboration with the co-sponsors when possible;
  • Oversees the elaboration of TDR strategic business planning, and management and actively leads fundraising activities, to ensure the financial stability of the Programme. Mobilizes partnerships and networks for promoting investment and development in infectious diseases of poverty and related implementation research, including financial resources for TDR;
  • Establishes and maintains a network of research and policy institutions and works synergistically to complement existing research agenda items; promotes research and support to scale up programmes in national settings, seeking broad dialogue with academic, civil society, and industry partners including, for example, product development partnerships;
  • Promotes high level policy discussion at global, regional, and national levels on issues associated with research policy, agenda and priority setting, empowerment, research leadership, and capacity building in developing countries;
  • Develops policy, strategy, and programme budget proposals for submission to the TDR Joint Coordinating Board, the TDR Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, the Standing Committee of TDR co-sponsors, the WHO Executive Board, and the World Health Assembly;
  • Communicates these activities effectively to a broad array of stakeholders, including those associated with TDR and WHO governance and high level governmental and international policymakers, in a manner that reinforces TDR's vision and promotes a pivotal role in global research for disease endemic countries;
  • Directs and supervises activities of TDR, ensuring compliance with approved policies and good management practices, including the management of financial and human resources;
  • Represents the TDR Special Programme at policy meetings of WHO and other agencies and institutions (notably the co-sponsors), as well as at international scientific meetings, acting as a spokesperson on TDR's work and to providing authoritative advice and technical expertise to internal and external partners, expert and research committees, to expand opportunities to serve Member States and achieve TDR's goals and mandate;
  • Represents, as and when requested, the WHO Chief Scientist or Director-General at external policy, coordination, scientific or other international meetings, and acts, as and when requested, as WHO Chief Scientist. Represents, as and when requested and appropriate, the other TDR co-sponsors.



  • Essential: Advanced University degree in a field relevant to the position;
  • Desirable: PhD in an area related to tropical diseases and/or international health and/or public health.



  • At least 15 years of experience in management in the area of global health, including at least 10 years of experience at the international level;
  • At least 5 years experience in leading health research and/or in global health with a focus on poverty-associated infectious diseases and their public health aspect in the field.


  • Experience of working with or in the UN or World Bank System;
  • Work experience in developing countries;
  • Excellent professional recognition through awards and/or publication record.


  • Broad knowledge of research and its public health aspects, demonstrated research and research management talent and ability at the international level, proven vision, political acumen, and dynamic leadership;
  • Demonstrated track record in fundraising and networking;
  • Understanding of the issues associated with developing excellence, capacity, and leadership in health research in developing countries;
  • Sound knowledge (including recent scientific advances) of infectious and poverty-related diseases and their control and socio-economic impact;
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills with the ability to develop innovative concepts in a clear and concise manner;
  • Strong interpersonal and diplomatic skills with the ability to promote consensus and develop effective work practices and ethics;
  • Diplomacy, tact, and courtesy.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork;
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences;
  • Communication;
  • Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond;
  • Promoting innovation and organizational learning;
  • Creating an empowering and motivating environment.

Use of Language Skills

  • Essential: Expert knowledge of English;
  • Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of official WHO languages.

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