Title: Academic Partnerships Specialist
Location of Assignment: NYHQ
Languages required: English (knowledge of an additional language a plus)
Travel: Some required
Duration of contract: 11.5 months
Section and Unit: Innovation, Division of Policy and Strategy
Consultant Reporting to: Senior Advisors, Innovation


Since it was founded in 1946, UNICEF has been leveraging partnerships to improve children’s wellbeing, and global partnerships remain an integral part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNICEF believes that partnerships and collaborative relationships are critical to deliver results for children and to realize their rights. UNICEF works with a broad range of partners, including academic institutions, all over the world, in order to achieve such outcomes.

UNICEF’s mandate and innovation strategy focus on expanding partnerships with academic organizations to be able to leverage new ideas, research and approaches to improving the development outcomes for children and contributing to reaching the sustainable development goals. With the renewed investment in systems-based solutions brought into focus by the SDGs, UNICEF is seeking to go beyond a short-term engagements to integrated partnerships that add value to regional activities, advance critical research and programming, and can have impact on a global scale.

Over the past year, UNICEF has explored new models for integrated academic engagement, and now wishes to strengthen its management capacity to ensure the success of these new models in delivering outcomes for the most disadvantaged children.


We seek a strong, self-motivated consultant to provide strategic guidance and management of UNICEF Innovation’s portfolio of academic collaborations. This work will happen in line with UNICEF’s broader innovation strategy, and support innovation programmes and priorities. Specifically, the consultant will focus on:

  • Developing infrastructure to strengthen UNICEF’s capacity to leverage academic expertise and pipelines to support promising innovations for children
  • Shaping collaborative research agendas in-line with needs of the most disadvantaged children
  • Ensuring integration and sustainability of academic collaborations through documentation, templates, guidance, and close coordination with other UNICEF divisions and Country Offices.


1. Partnership Management

  • Support Country Offices and university partners to formalize partnership cooperation agreements
  • Develop Advisory board structure for strategic university partnerships and lead outreach to potential Advisory Board members in collaboration with relevant UNICEF divisions and Country Offices.
  • Lead on the organization and implementation of regular calls with partnership focal points at Country Offices and universities to strengthen knowledge sharing and foster exchange and collaboration among academic partners
  • Assess ongoing opportunities and offers of support received from institutions, faculty, and students including for long-term research projects
  • Ongoing support to and engagement with UNICEF’s broader network of academic institutions and collaborators

2. Partnership Management

  • Work with Innovation Unit and Country Office colleagues to evaluate resource needs and identify target skill sets, fields of study, and target institutions
  • Conduct research on potential new partners and maintain global partner prospect list – Identify and develop new strategic collaborations
  • Assist in drafting relevant partnership documentation, including collaboration agreements, TORs, and monitoring and evaluation plans to assess the outcomes of new partnership modalities

3. Monitoring and Knowledge Management

  • Support the development of standard templates for cooperation agreements, data sharing policies, and collaborative research – Maintain a map of partnerships and engagements, conduct research and screening on potential new partners and maintain a global corporate partner prospect list
  • Monitor collaboration outputs and coordinate corresponding publicity (event, program, research, product, etc.)
  • Develop guidance and resources on strategic partnership model for Country Offices and national committees.

4. Provide day-to-day support and guidance to the UNICEF Office of Innovation, to Country Offices, and relevant partners by responding to specific needs and inquires related to proposals, reports, and contribution management


End of Month 1

  • Cooperation agreement templates and data sharing policies prepared
  • 2-page guideline document developed for a research-in-residence program

End of Month 2

  • Finalized partnership agreements with 3 universities

End of Month 3

  • Potential advisory board members identified for strategic partnerships
  • Partnership advisory board structure finalized and shared with potential members

End of Month 4

  • Research completed on potential new partners and prospect list of 3-5 prepared

End of Month 5

  • Coordination of UNICEF participation in Nairobi Innovation Week with University of Nairobi

End of Month 6

  • Funding support secured for one collaborative, child-focused research project

End of Month 7

  • 3 projects originating at universities under review by UNICEF Innovation Fund

End of Month 8

  • 3-5 new partners engaged; partnership workplans and agreements drafted

End of Month 9

  • Partnership agreements finalized with new group of strategic partners

End of Month 10

  • Prospective research funders/advisory board members identified

End of Month 11.5

  • 3-page guidance on strategic partnership operational and funding model developed and shared with country offices and national committees
  • 10-minute presentation to UNICEF on academic partnership work and outcomes


  • Support to partnership work plan implementation in the form of guidance on program design, securement of resources, and ensuring alignment with UNICEF mandate and Innovation global agenda.
  • Monitoring of collaboration outputs and coordination corresponding publicity. Outputs include events, programs, research, products, etc.
  • Day-to-day support to Office of Innovation, Innovation Lab Leads, and Country Offices
  • Weekly communication with supervisor providing regular progress reports and responding to information requests

TOTAL 11.5 months


  • Advanced degree in in one of the following fields: social sciences, innovation management, systems design, or equivalent.
  • At least three (3) years of progressively responsible work experience in partnership management, program management, higher-education administration, public relations, or a related field.
  • A track record of working on developing innovative solutions/partnerships and initiatives
  • Strong leadership skills; capacity to prioritize and manage a diverse range of partners, projects and activities
  • Ability to work with a diverse set of partners to create problem specifications, system requirements, and then implement software and technology innovations
  • Prior experience in higher education and/or partnerships building required
  • Familiarity with UNICEF Innovation’s work an asset
  • Prior experience in working on children’s issues an asset
  • Demonstrated research, planning, communication and writing skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work with people of various professional, academic and cultural backgrounds.

How to apply:

Interested and suitable candidates are requested to send their applications with Subject “Academic Partnerships Specialist” to: jobsugic@gmail.com on or before 22 February 2016.

Applications must include the following:

  1. Cover letter
  2. P11 (http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/P11.doc)
  3. CV
  4. Expected monthly rate (gross rate)

Incomplete applications will be disqualified. Applicants must clearly indicate the position applied for and use this order to name file attachments: Firstname_Lastname followed by document e.g. Gold_Mukasa_CV or Gold_Mukasa_CoverLetter. Only short listed candidates will be contacted.

Visit us at www.unicefstories.org and www.unicef.org/innovation

UNICEF 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.

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