Food Systems Economics Commission Programme Director

Date posted: 30.08.2020

Work location: Either Oslo, London or Potsdam (and travel to other partner office locations as necessary)

Job function: Management and coordination

Job type: Full-time, three-year position

Start date: October 15, 2020


About the Food System Economics Commission

EAT, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) are convening an independent, interdisciplinary academic commission – the Food Systems Economics Commission – to deliver a state-of-the-art scientific assessment on ‘Food, people, planet: the economics of the transition to healthy, inclusive and sustainable food systems’. Building on the vanguard of integrated assessment modelling and evidence-based policy design, the Commission’s analysis will link the inclusion, health and environmental dimensions of the economics of food systems. The Commission’s overarching objective is to further the transition to healthy, inclusive and sustainable food systems by providing a comprehensive assessment of the economics of current food systems, their unaccounted costs (defined as environmental, dietary health and social costs) and the distributional impacts of the transition; and by rigorously assessing evidence and providing new tools to support policy design.

The work of the Commission will address four central questions from an economics perspective:

  1. How do food systems perform today on health, environment, and inclusion and where are they heading?
  2. Where do we want to go?
  3. What does a transition towards sustainable food systems look like?
  4. What is preventing a sustainability transition for food systems, and how can these lock-ins be addressed?

The FSE will last for three years, with major anticipated outputs published around the Food Systems Summit in 2021 and in late 2023. The Commission is led by three Co-Chairs — Professor Ravi Kanbur, Professor Ottmar Edenhofer and Dr. Vera Songwe – and a Programme Director. Led by the Co-Chairs, (and with strategic guidance from the Principals) a team of ~20 expert Commissioners will shape the Commission´s academic work programme, define the scope and guide the production of specific research and analytical contributions, and lead the overall work of developing the content and findings of the Commission´s reports.  Further, a team of Research Directors, Analysts, Program Managers and Engagement/Communications Officers will make up the Secretariat that supports the Director and Co-Chairs in delivering the Commission’s cross-cutting work.



We are looking for a highly experienced Programme Director to lead the Commission from 2020-2023. This unique opportunity involves working with some of the world’s most prominent institutions in the fields of economics, agriculture, environment, health and nutrition. S/he will report to the Co-Chairs and be responsible for coordinating the group of Commissioners. Crucial to this role will be integrating across the different perspectives, expectations and priorities of the Co-Chairs, Commissioners and Principals and ensure that they translate into innovative and impactful outputs.

The Program Director will also directly manage the Secretariat and be responsible for its day-to-day operations, with the support of a Program Manager. The Secretariat is housed jointly within the three convening organisations (EAT, PIK and FOLU) and the physical location of the Director can be with any of the three convening organisations. This role will have a strong international focus and aims at significant impact over the next 3+ years.



The Programme Director will have a strong record of excellence and achievement in leading complex projects. S/he will have proven results in executing projects in different contexts and handling different phases of project delivery – including the development of integrated analysis – and is keen to work in a dynamic, entrepreneurial setting involving diverse institutions and organisations. S/he will be passionate about the FSE’s mission and committed to an integrated, multi-sectoral approach to systems change.

We are specifically looking for:

  • Significant prior experience in projects that involve economic research and analysis. S/he is interested and comfortable with modern economic approaches / new economic thinking. Prior experience in academic Commissions and a PhD are preferred.
  • Proven ability to manage complex projects and direct teams across multiple geographic locations.
  • Demonstrated ability to leverage partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including across academic, public policy and the private sector, for innovation and impact.
  • Proven relationship management skills, also on a very senior level and in various cultural contexts.
  • A highly effective and strategic communicator and someone who can inspire and influence global leaders.
  • Ability to execute large projects on schedule, on budget and in compliance with all policies and standards of donor partners.
  • Ability to deal with large, ambiguous problems in a creative and structured way.
  • A commitment to coaching and developing people, with an empowering leadership style.

Terms of Employment

  • The position is a paid full-time position requiring 37.5 hours of work per week inclusive of lunch hours.
  • The set duration of employment is 3 years. The desired start date is October 15th 2020.
  • EAT is committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all employees.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and we reserve the right to close the position before the deadline if suitable candidates are identified.


Contact details

All application material and inquiries regarding the position should be in English and directed to with “FSEC Programme Director” in the subject line.


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Application deadline

Date: 22.09.2020