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Requisition ID:  11962

Program Director, LASER PULSE

Job Summary

***Revised 12/9/20***


LASER (Long Term Services for Research) PULSE (Partners for University-led Solutions Engine) is a five-year, $70M USAID funded program to deliver research-driven solutions to field-sourced development challenges in USAID interest countries and technical sectors.  Funded through USAID’s Global Development Lab, LASER PULSE is implemented by a Purdue University-led consortium with Catholic Relief Services, Indiana University, Makerere University, and the University of Notre Dame.  LASER PULSE convenes a growing network of 2,300+ researchers and development practitioners in 54 countries. It works with USAID missions, bureaus, offices and other local stakeholders to identify research needs for critical development challenges, and funds and strengthens the capacity of researcher-practitioner teams to co-design solutions that translate into policy and practice. 


The Program Director (PD) for LASER PULSE has overall responsibility for the management and coordination of all project activities and staff to ensure timely and high-quality completion of workplan activities and deliverables.  The PD reports to the LASER Academic Director and works with the LASER Academic Leadership (LASER Principal Investigators – Director and Academic Director) to help them establish and execute the program strategy.  All Key Personnel, as described in the LASER Award, report to the PD, including the Technical Director (TD) at Purdue; the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Lead (MEL) at the University of Notre Dame; the Research Translation Strategy Lead (RTSL) and Catholic Relief Services; and the Research Translation Communications Lead (RTCL) at Indiana University.


The PD will cultivate open and collaborative management relationships with the project team at USAID/Washington and LASER PULSE Academic leadership.  The PD will have principal responsibility for representing LASER PULSE to USAID and works closely with the USAID Agreement Officer Representative (AOR) to strengthen partnerships with other USAID Missions/Bureaus/Independent Offices and other international and national organizations.  The PD plays the lead role in working with the USAID AOR in creating new partnership opportunities for LASER PULSE, within and without of USAID; working with consortium partners to organize pre-and post-award research for development meetings and associated trainings around the world, whether in-person or virtually; engaging and growing the LASER PULSE network, which already has more than 2,000 registered researchers and practitioners; leading the mobilization of research networks and relevant assets within and across development partners.  Additionally, the PD works closely with LASER PULSE Academic Leadership and consortium co-Principal Investigators (PI) to evolve LASER PULSE strategy, pivots, and adaptations as needed; develops the annual workplan and activities in a collaborative manner with the consortium; ensures that program activities are in compliance with agreement requirements, applicable USG regulations, and appropriate standards and procedures; and supervises the communications specialist to ensure high quality and frequently updated LASER PULSE communications.


Remote work may be considered, however there is a requirement for consistent and frequent travel to West Lafayette, IN, as well as to other consortium partners for building effective relationships with staff and partners.


  • Master's degree in international affairs, public administration, public policy, or a related field
  • Eight (8) years of experience in a senior-level or equivalent management position leading, managing, and implementing development-relevant projects with research components
  • Five (5) years of supervisory experience
  • Proactive, inclusive, and collaborative leadership skills
  • Excellent oral, interpersonal, and professional communications skills
  • Excellent technical writing skills
  • Strong project management skills
  • A valid US or Canadian driver’s license
  • Ability to travel up to 15% domestically and globally 
    • Due to COVID-19 current travel is limited and subject to University guidelines and approval



  • Ph.D. in international affairs, public administration, public policy, or a related field
  • Experience interacting with U.S. government agencies
  • Experience managing U.S. government awards (contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements)
  • Experience leading, managing, and implementing development-relevant projects with research components within a university context or with university partnerships


Additional Information:

  • For full consideration, two (2) representative technical reports that you have been the primary author of are required to be uploaded as supporting documents
  • Purdue will sponsor employment authorization for this position 
  • A background check will be required for employment in this position
  • FLSA: Exempt (Not Eligible For Overtime)
  • Retirement Eligibility: Defined Contributions immediately  
  • Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Nearest Major Market: Lafayette

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