Innovation Policy Advisor

Location : Home-based (with return to the office in Istanbul/Turkey when possible)
Application Deadline :07-Oct-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :IPSA (Regular)
Post Level :IPSA-10
Languages Required :
Expected Duration of Assignment :12 months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Instructions to Applicants: Click on the "Apply now" button. Input your information in the appropriate Sections: personal information, language proficiency, education, resume and motivation. Upon completion of the first page, please hit "submit application" tab at the end of the page. Please ensure that CV or P11 and the Cover letter are combined in one file.

The following documents shall be required from the applicants:

Personal CV or P11, indicating all past positions held and their main underlying functions, their durations (month/year), the qualifications, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate, and at least three (3) the most recent professional references of previous supervisors. References may also include peers.

A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page) indicating why the candidate considers him-/herself to be suitable for the position.


The assignment might require travel, but this will be determined on the needs basis and the travel arrangements will be processed in accordance with the corporate travel policy.

Office/Unit/Project Description: 

Countries around the world are facing increasingly complex and multifaceted development challenges, ranging from climate change and circular economy transitions to the coronavirus pandemic and the future of work. To help UNDP evolve and improve the relevance of its offers and support to governments and communities, UNDP’s Innovation Facility (IF) is investing in efforts that seek to enable the organization to support partners in their “great transformations”. The IF was established in 2014 with donor support to catalyze the use of novel approaches for development impact and provide seed funding to foster country-based innovation. 

The IF is in this connection envisioned as a vehicle providing catalytic funding that helps the UNDP and its partners better understand the dynamics of transformational, systemic change. This will entail not only a shift in the type of policy problems that the Facility addresses, but also how to think about understanding and engaging with these problems.  This requirest a shift from single point solutions that provide incremental improvement within an existing paradigm, towards an approach seeking to plant the seeds for an entirely new paradigm. The IF’s approach is based on the premise that if UNDP will be able to work simultaneously on developing a new supply (offers to governments based on a system transformation logic) and a new demand (interest from governments and donors to go beyond single point solutions), then it will be able to increase its development effects and leverage the Facility’s investments to attract new funding for joint efforts and R&D by development partners.

To deliver on this mission, the IF is supporting Country Offices with catalytic funding to implement so-called Deep Demonstrations ( These seek to build new capabilities for system transformation that provide a different logic to addressing complex development issues. So far the IF has supported a first cohort of 9 Deep Demonstrations. In these Demonstrations, COs have deepened their understanding of complex policy issues, designed portfolios to engage with these, and in this process developed new systems capabilities. A second cohort of Deep Demonstrations is launching later in 2021.

Institutional Arrangement:

The position will report to the Global Advisor for Innovation, Strategic Innovation Unit, the Bureau of Policy and Programme Support. Consultancy is envisaged to be in Istanbul. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work:

Under the overall guidance of the Global Advisor for Innovation, the primary function of the incumbent is to provide support UNDP Country Offices under the Innovation Facility’s investments. This includes supporting the operationalization and roll-out of Deep Demonstrations; contributing to SIU efforts to promote system approaches in different areas of UNDP work (e.g. system financing, donor engagements, programming); working in close collaboration with relevant corporate units; as well as assist the Global Advisor with support services on innovation for internal clients and with outreach to external partners.

CO advisory support:

  • Provide advice and technical support to Country Offices under the Innovation Facility’s Deep Demonstrations, proactively identifying risks to delivery and impact;
  • Build capability of CO staff and advise CO management on creating and nurturing space for system and portfolio approaches;
  • Participate in IF workshops and working sessions involving Country Offices; 
  • Design and run capability building sessions with various UNDP teams around systems and portfolio approaches;
  • Co-organize stock take and management related meetings involving IF and Country Offices (staff as well as leadership levels) with the Global Innovation Advisor and other SIU staff;
  • Oversee partner/vendor support provided to Country Offices under the IF. Trouble shoot and support course corrections with the IF manager as needed.


  • Initiate & facilitate reflection and learning session between COs and various other units internally;
  • Identify external outfits with experience and expertise in systems and portfolio, liaise and create linkages between them and various UNDP teams;
  • Author and contribute to country office blog posts and other written products capturing progress and learning from IF investments in Country Offices;
  • Prepare briefing notes on UNDP’s innovation work for internal audiences and senior management as per request;
  • Support engagement with other corporate innovation work-tracks to ensure the alignment of the Innovation Facility with UNDP’s overall strategic approach to innovation;
  • Provide input into strategy and operations for Innovation service lines;
  • Track and contribute to monitoring, evaluation and progress stock takes of Deep Demonstrations and other investments under the IF.

Shaping demand:

  • Initiate and facilitate conversation with potential investors in system and portfolio approaches in development;
  • Prepare briefing notes on UNDP’s innovation work for external engagement (governments, donors, etc);  
  • Design and run capability building sessions with various external teams around systems and portfolio approaches;
  • Support the organization of donor events to diversify sources of funding; 
  • Support engagements in relevant innovation networks and partnerships.



  • Demonstrates commitment to the UN’s values and ethical standards; 
  • Promotes the mission, vision and strategic goals of UNDP; 
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability; 
  • Treats all people fairly and with impartiality. 


  • Proven expertise in the field of system innovation for development, be this in the context of project management, research, or advocacy; 
  • Proven experience with advancing new ways of working in organizations and/or companies; 
  • Proven expertise in the field of results-based management and performance indicator management and reporting; 
  • Proven ability to plan, organize, and control resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals; 
  • Ability to engage collaboratively with partners (including other UN agencies), donors, and other development stakeholders and forge productive working relationships; 
  • Knowledge of project and fund management (budgeting, expenditure, reporting) related procedures to ensure that quality requirements and goals are fulfilled; 
  • Strong communication and writing skills. 

Required Skills and Experience

Min. Academic Education:

  • Master’s degree in social science, economics or related field with specific focus on international development, communications, and innovation; or 
  • Bachelor’s degree with 2 additional years of experience; 
  • PhD is desirable. 

Min. years of relevant Work experience:

  • 5 years of professional working experience in relevant fields related to international development is required for this level with a Master’s degree. 7 years of experience is a minimum requirement for candidates with a Bachelor’s degree;
  • A minimum of 2 years of professional experience with innovation, systems and portfolio work with governments, donors, and/or development partners.

Desired additional skills and competencies:

  • Experience with, and knowledge of, international development, emerging technologies, system design, system financing, and social innovation an asset;
  • Experience in innovation in developing countries or social impact and/or living or working in developing countries is a plus.

Required Language(s) (at working level):

  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required; 
  • Working knowledge of other UN languages would be an asset. 

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