Applicants who previously submitted the applications do not need to re-apply.
- Position: Chief Scientist
- Work Type: Consultancy
- Location: Office of Global Innovation
- Duty Station: UNICEF NYHQ.
- Travel: Anticipated – Destination(s)TBC.
- Timeframe: 11 months
- Start date: 21 Feb 2017 (230 days)
If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world’s leading children’s rights organization would like to hear from you.
For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children’s survival, protection, and development. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
Background & Rationale
UNICEF’s Office of Innovation in New York helps UNICEF’s 135+ Country Offices strengthen programs on the ground using innovative approaches and technologies. Innovation at UNICEF means doing things new or different that adds value to achieving results for the most vulnerable children. This means, concretely, researching and understanding strengths, vulnerabilities and environmental factors for children and their families, and therefore translating ideas, technologies, and partnerships into products, services that bring about better, more equitable results for children.
The Science team looks to explore and leverage the possibilities of New Data and Computational methods within UNICEF, build internal capacity, attract talent and develop new methods and research with the potential to impact UNICEF’s most important challenges. It also aims to position UNICEF and major challenges affecting children in the scope of the Computational Social Science community.
Areas of research conducted by the team includes Network Analysis, machine learning, natural language processing or artificial intelligence and analysis of new types of data such as phone records, online social networks, satellite images or U-Report SMS records to work at the intersection of Computer Science and Sociology developing methodologies and analysis to improve UNICEF programs, emergency response, advocacy and fundraising.
The purpose of this consultancy is to lead the Research team of the Office of Innovation in defining research lines, designing strategies, developing methods, establishing partnerships and supporting tool creation to leverage the power of New Data and Computational methods for major challenges facing children.
The Research team serves as the interface for the Office of Innovation with the Data and Artificial Intelligence Revolutions, conducting original research and supporting the Technology team in building scalable operational tools and the Innovation Fund with Data and Computer Science expertise. The Research Team conducts leading research on using unconventional data and methods for UNICEF’s priorities, leverages expertise from and brings together leading external partners from across sectors to enable UNICEF to efficiently utilize new data and methods for decision making and advocacy.
Expected results: (measurable results)
Building on the work of the Big Data project over the last 4 years, and in consultation and collaboration with other UNICEF Divisions and partners, the consultant will:
- Increase access and use of private sector data sources, including through support to the development of relevant partnerships and creating of protocols and systems to allow for analysis and use of unconventional and real-time data, including across the UNICEF Innovation Fund portfolio.
- Develop new methods for data analysis, including through the identification of relevant challenges, development and leading engagement with research partners, developing research lines and publishing methods and findings in peer reviewed scientific journals and venues.
- Develop pilots and proofs of concept for new tools that inform UNICEF’s programmes and emergency responses that use new data, AI or computational methods, such as MagicBox
Key competences, technical background, and experience required
- Advanced university degree, preferably a PhD in computer science, engineering, statistics, applied mathematics, physics, computational finance, or other related technical fields
- At least 5 years experience in Big Data analytics and or Computational Sociology research
- Experience in leading research teams and projects
- Competency in data analysis, network analysis, time series analysis or modeling of complex systems
- Competency in R or Python, shell scripting and/or awk and specific libraries such as iGraph are a plus
- Familiarity working with quantitative and qualitative data, including cell phone data, social network data and network analysis
- Experience in working with complex network data to create decision making algorithm and processes. Experience on epidemiological models (SI, SIR, SIIR) desired
- Demonstrated ability to work with people of various professional, academic and cultural backgrounds
- Familiarity with the UN system, UNICEF and the UNICEF Data strategy desired
- Fluency in English required, other UN language an asset
- Able to work under pressure and manage parallel lines of work, creative and able to think outside the box and with a good sense of humor and easy going personality
Applications must include:
- Cover letter,
- CV, and
- P-11 form
- Indicate where you heard about this advertisement
 P 11 form can be downloaded from our website at http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/files/Personal_History_P11.doc
To view our competency framework, please click here.
Please indicate your ability, availability, and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.
Opening Date 30 Jan 2017 Eastern Standard Time
Closing Date 7 Feb 2017 Eastern Standard Time