Join IVAR as Director of Research

About IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research)

We work with charities, foundations and public agencies to strengthen UK communities through action research. We build an understanding of what it takes to deliver for communities and causes across the UK. We hear what helps voluntary organisations, and what gets in their way. We then work with funders and public agencies to influence changes to practice, building dialogue between different people/organisations and putting charities’ voices at the heart of calls for action.

About the role

We’re looking for someone to lead and develop our research team of staff and freelance research associates and be part of our Senior Leadership Team.

You’ll have an interest in our work – helping individuals and organisations in the voluntary sector to achieve change; and a strong understanding and experience of using qualitative research methodology, ideally including experience of action research, facilitation and evaluation design alongside an understanding of quantitative methods. You’ll have experience of  leading, managing and contributing to all stages of the research process (including writing in an accessible and engaging manner for different audiences); be confident in leading a portfolio of varied projects; have experience of line management and working in a senior leadership team; and be comfortable working in a small organisation with wide-ranging responsibilities. 

Main responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing and shaping the research project portfolio to ensure quality delivery and alignment with IVAR’s strategic priorities.
  • Leading, supervising and guiding the research team, including supporting Project Managers to deliver high quality research; monthly research team meetings; and continuous professional development of research staff.
  • Being a member of project delivery teams.
  • Monitoring project budgets and progress against income targets.
  • Ensuring IVAR meets its responsibilities in terms of research ethics and safeguarding and that our research practice is equitable and inclusive.
  • Maintaining and developing a network that supports a healthy project pipeline of new work, including relationships with delivery partners who can complement and enhance IVAR’s offer.
  • Leading project design and proposals for commissioned work.
  • Leading the identification, assessment and response to tender opportunities.
  • Being part of the Senior Leadership Team, which includes ensuring an integrated approach to research and communications and the quality of all written outputs; participating in IVAR meetings and events (including quarterly Board meetings); planning and delivering monthly team days; contributing to the development of internal systems/processes; developing organisational culture; developing and promoting IVAR’s public profile and influence.

The role is permanent. We have a hybrid working pattern with staff based in our office at The Foundry (Vauxhall, London) at least one day a week.

The salary is £55,000 – £65,000 (dependent on experience).

How to apply

If you are motivated by this mix of work  – we would love to hear from you.

Having a team that reflects the diversity of the communities that we serve is really important to us  – so we would like to encourage people from a range of backgrounds and experiences to apply.

Please look through our recruitment pack to find out more about IVAR and the role.

To apply, please email with the subject ‘Director of Research Application’. You should include your CV and a covering letter (maximum of two A4 sides) explaining why you are interested in IVAR, how you meet the person specification, and what, in particular, you would bring to the role. The covering letter should be addressed to Ben Cairns, IVAR’s Director. Please also complete the Equal Opportunities Form.

If you have any practical queries, or would like to arrange an initial, informal conversation about the role please email

Deadline for applications is midday on Friday 7th June. Successful candidates will be asked to interview. We don’t acknowledge individual applications, but we will email all candidates to inform you about the outcome of your application.

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