Programme Manager

World Health Organization, Brussels, Belgium

Skill Required:, Policy/ Advocacy and CampaignProject/ Programme Management
Preferred Experience: 
Above 10 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
26th April, 2019

Job Description

All Member States of WHO in the European Region share the common value of the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental human right.All of WHO actions are based on this and rooted in the underlying value of equity as described in the General Programme of Work.

The 13th General Programme of Work defines the mission of WHO as one to promote health, to keep the world safe, and to protect the vulnerable. The GPW calls for heightened accountability, prioritizing impact and outcome at country level, and to improve the lives of three billion people, through universal health coverage, through addressing health emergencies, and promoting healthier populations.

WHO's mandate revolves around six core functions: (i) providing leadership on global health matters; shaping the health research agenda; setting norms and standards; articulating evidence-based policy options; providing technical support to countries; and monitoring and assessing health trends.

The European Region (EURO) of WHO is made up of 53 countries, with over 880 million people. The diversity of people and health situations requires, on the demand side, a solid understanding of the emerging socio-economic, epidemiologic and demographic patterns and trends at both aggregate as well as national and sub-national levels, with due sensitivity to disadvantaged populations and vulnerable segments of the society. On the supply side, it is equally crucial to have a solid understanding of the commonalities and divergences of the health systems, the circumstances and political economy under which they have evolved and operate and, more specifically, how these bear upon the way the health system stewardship function of health ministries is carried out.

The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies is at the forefront of international evidence generation and knowledge brokering for health policies and systems. Its mission is to support and promote evidence-informed health policy-making through comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the dynamics of health systems and policies in Europe.

The Observatory's aim is to generate evidence and broker knowledge so that policy makers can take better health systems decisions and improve population health. Its objectives include:

  • Describing and analysing health systems and the changes they undergo;
  • Mapping trends and making comparisons (including with relevant countries outside Europe) to support European policy making;
  • Mobilizing experience from practice across Europe to give insights into policy issues;
  • Working in partnership with governments, international organisations, academics, policy-makers and practitioners to provide evidence and evidence-informed policy options to national and European policy-makers;
  • Employing (and developing) a range of knowledge brokering tools to communicate effectively with policy-makers;
  • Feeding evidence into the wider health policy debate.

The Observatory is a partnership hosted by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. It includes the Governments of Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland,Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom; the Veneto Region of Italy; the French National Union of Health Insurance Funds (UNCAM); the World Health Organization; the European Commission; the World Bank; the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE; and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

The Observatory consists of a Steering Committee, senior management team and staff. Its core Secretariat is in Brussels and it has offices in London at LSE and LSHTM and Berlin (TUB).


The purpose of this position is to lead on a number of technical and knowledge brokering areas so as to provide senior policy makers with the tailored evidence they need to take better informed health systems decision.

Key duties:

Lead and deliver technical and research projects (whether Observatory led or run in partnership) that respond to specific policy maker needs and enable European Region Member States to strengthen their health systems. This will entail:

  • Negotiating with national and international decision makers to define policy issues;
  • Shaping and revising proposals (with consortium partners when appropriate) and developing methodologies to ensure policy relevance and avoid duplication; •Leading discussion with potential donors to secure resources;
  • Supervising primary and secondary research, senior expert contributors, collaborators, staff and resources to achieve coherent work and timely outputs; •Commissioning and using review to deliver quality work that can ‘safely' guide policy;
  • Disseminating the lessons learned to maximize impact.

Lead and deliver evidence based advice / options and strategic knowledge brokering interventions to provide national and international decision makers, (Member States, WHO, Partners and other international bodies) with the evidence they need to resolve concrete policy challenges. This will involve:

  • Establishing effective and trusting relationships with senior decision makers, within the Observatory's non-normative knowledge brokering framework
  • Working directly with senior figures in the Ministry of Health, , Ministries of Finance, Welfare, Education or sub-national government to identify entry points, define the appropriate policy question and tailor responses to directly support decision making;
  • Leading planned and ‘rapid response' policy dialogues by designing content; mobilizing a solid and credible evidence base; recruiting and briefing leading experts; and facilitating high level discussion so that policy makers can assimilate technical and comparative evidence and apply it;
  • Leading written rapid evidence responses by designing content and format; supervising data collection, analysis and staff; and ensuring timely delivery, so that evidence directly addresses policy needs in context and can lead to better informed decisions;
  • Briefing and contributing evidence and expertise to support policy formulation by
  • Member States
  • WHO, European Commission and other international counterparts
  • Senior WHO counterparts (in support of their normative work and country work).
  • Upon delegation of the Director represent the Observatory at high level (national and international) meetings so that evidence is can best shape policy decisions;
  • Representing WHO EURO when requested by EURO colleagues (Directors, the RD) to bring evidence in support of the policy objectives of WHO;
  • Contributing to European level debate on health system issues to inform wider thinking.

Shape and manage a mix of knowledge brokering projects or areas to meet the five year development and annual work plan objectives. This will require working flexibly with the rest of the senior management team on an agreed mix of the following:

  • Contributing to the overarching Observatory dissemination strategy;
  • Steering the overall ‘package' of policy dialogues, evidence briefings and face to face interventions , including major and ad hoc events and / or;
  • Supervising the area of written rapid responses and / or;
  • Steering the publications programme and linked strategies addressing development, dissemination packages, design, distribution and co-publications and / or; •Supervising the Eurohealth journal including planning, editing and production and / or;
  • Supervising the communications officer and his / her work including guiding the development of the web and social media presence.

Contribute to the Observatory's overall management and governance to achieve sustainability and to maximize both impact and value for money for Partners and for the wider circle of Member States. This will involve:

  • Making links between functions and activities, including country monitoring, to align evidence and ensure learning from knowledge brokering informs evidence generation;
  • Providing inputs to development and planning with a view to achieving innovative practice and placing the Observatory in the most strategic position vis a vis other related, international bodies;
  • Supporting Steering Committee meetings, reporting and relations with Partners to foster long term engagement;
  • Participating in coordination, and senior team meetings to liaise across hubs and functions and ensure efficient use of resources;
  • Supervising, supporting and developing professional staff across duty stations to allow matrix working, strengthen the team and deliver work plan commitments;
  • Developing external and expert networks to feed into the work of the Observatory and supervising the work of senior experts;
  • Leading and / or contributing to initiatives and collaborations to generate funding;
  • Performing all other duties as assigned by the OBS Steering Committee and the RD



  • Essential: Advanced university (Masters level) degree in a health, management, law social science or related area.
  • Desirable: Doctorate in a health, management, law social science or related area.


  • Essential: A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in the field of European health systems and policies. A minimum track record of 5 years in knowledge brokering and in the shaping and provision of evidence to policy makers including the oversight and delivery of policy dialogues and / or evidence briefings. Demonstrated experience supporting proposal development, resource mobilization and in overseeing projects, and managing a team.
  • Desirable: Experience working in partnership; of provision of evidence to international organizations; of publication; and of presenting at international conferences.


  • High level technical knowledge in one or more technical, health system area (including finance; governance; workforce; public health; Health in All policies; coverage; integrated care; person centeredness; implementation; innovation; economics of health; trends; European integration).
  • Skills in research management including in supervision of senior academics and management of networks.
  • Strong technical and management skills in knowledge brokering including in: building relationships with senior policy makers in national and international settings; using a range of tools (policy dialogues, evidence briefings, rapid responses); and facilitating sensitive policy discussions at the highest level.
  • Management and communication skills.
  • Proven ability to lead comparative, international health systems research that looks at experience across countries in one or more core health systems area.

Use of Language Skills:

  • Essential: Expert knowledge of English.
  • Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of Chin, Arab, Spanish. Intermediate knowledge of French, Rus., German.


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