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Job Summary:

Every employee of IRI is responsible for carrying out the Mission of IRI and demonstrating the Core Values in their day-to-day operations. The Core Values, which are IRI’s foundational building blocks include:   

Excellence- We believe in quality results delivered by investing in people. Freedom- We believe in exploration and experimentation to be agile and responsive. Respect- We believe in trust, empathy and empowering people. Teamwork- We believe in diversity, inclusion and the power of global collaboration. Transparency- We believe in open communication and clear decision-making. Accountability- We believe in personal responsibility as the foundation of success. 

The Cost Specialist is responsible for working with Finance, Business Development, and Program teams to develop proposal budgets and track pricing trends. This position requires excellent attention to detail and knowledge of cost allocation and allow-ability under various donor regulations.

Position Requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree in political science, international relations, or related field.
  • Minimum three years professional experience in program management and implementation, particularly in democratic governance; and/or in combination with developing or managing budgets for US government-funded programs and/or grant proposals.
  • Working understanding in the application of relevant cost principles, budgeting methodologies, and cost presentations of U.S. Government (ex: USAID and Department of State) funders.
  • Ability to communicate budget concepts or procedures, narratives, and justifications clearly and concisely. (will be asked to provide examples)
  • Multitasks effectively in a high-volume, deadline-driven environment
  • Strong knowledge of MS Office, particularly Excel budget development, and advanced formula utilization and data analysis capabilities.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills, with the ability to multi-task, as well as the ability to be flexible and adjust priorities based on time pressures.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team to coordinate and lead the efforts of other professionals to effectively meet program goals and deadlines.


  • Relevant programmatic and management skills (ex: managing pipelines, issuing and managing subgrants, contributing to day-to-day administration for program implementation)
  • Understands USAID Standard Provisions, 2 CFR 200 and 700, and other relevant federal regulations
  • Experience working with donors on and contributing to foreign proposals (ex: FCDO, DFAT, EU, GAC).
  • Proactive in identifying and solving problems

Primary Functions & Responsibilities:

  • Serves as a main point of contact for assigned cost proposals, BAFO Negotiations, budget modifications and realignments; coordinates review and input for finance and grants sign off as needed; and ensures compliance of final formatting and production of cost proposal elements.
  • Reviews cost application proposals as assigned in response to funder/client requirements including proposal budgets and cost narratives.
  • Ensures cost application completeness against the solicitation and proposed project design.
  • Provides guidance on operational considerations in cost applications, including planned office structure, staffing needs, contract and subgrant mechanisms.
  • Works with proposal teams and engages with partners directly on cost proposal development and provides guidance on mechanism selection, IRI procurement policies, and reviews and provides feedback on partner budgets and other cost-related documents to ensure alignment with IRI’s approach and solicitation requirements.
  • Leads cost strategy discussions throughout the proposal process, including leading the Cost Consultation, providing input and guidance on competitiveness, funder feedback, and incorporating best practices from across the institute
  • Ensures cost applications accurately reflect all necessary expenses as required by IRI policies and procedures. When necessary and appropriate, refer staff to the relevant internal policies and procedures.
  • Maintains an understanding of funder and IRI policies and procedures related to grant compliance and oversight.
  • Ability to lead and guide program staff through the proposal and budget development process; including demonstrating ability to provide guidance on compliance and policies.
  • Provides cost support to DC and field-based staff, especially around funder regulations, templates, and budget notes
  • Drafts and/or modify the budget templates to comply with donor requirements and create and/or revise new budget templates as needed.
  • Works closely with Business Development team members to update revenue and spending information in IRI’s proposal tracker, reporting any concerns to supervisor(s).
  • Seeks opportunities to streamline cost development processes and strengthen IRI’s BD practices.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Documents:

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter – This statement should express how your skills and experience directly respond to the above qualifications and explain your desired interest for pursuing this position.



Bachelors or better in Political Science or related field.


3 years: Minimum three years professional experience in program management and implementation, particularly in democratic governance; and/or in combination with developing or managing budgets for US government-funded programs and/or grant proposals.

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)