Job Opportunity: Software Developer, Office of Innovation
Job Opportunity: Portfolio Coordinator, New York HQ

Role: 2 x Research Scientist Consultants
Job Number:
511564 | Vacancy Link
Locations: Headquarters Locations: United States
Work Type: Consultancy

How can you make a difference?

We are looking for two research consultants to join the Data Science team – a team that does research and support product development with non-traditional data (aka Big Data) and methods (aka Computer Science). It does so by combining several disciplines such as network science, complex systems, natural language processing, data mining, machine learning, remote sensing and artificial intelligence looking into programmatic problems such as epidemiology, sudden onsets, urbanization, migration, human dynamics, vulnerabilities, poverty, inequalities and bias.

The Science Team interacts with world-class scientists, on the ground responders, private sector data holders and tech leaders to push the Data Science and AI agenda towards the problems that affect the most vulnerable children. Breakthroughs and working methodologies are streamlined to the Development Team to scale into operational tools that can make a real impact.

The two researchers will be  key drivers of research development and will contribute to open source projects that support country offices, while staying current with the latest technologies; plying them according to best practices.

The candidates will be each expected to support a subset of the following ongoing initiatives:

  • Epidemic response: Using network science, machine learning and AI along with data from different sources (phone based mobility, weather, case data, schools locations…) to forecast epidemics spread and do automatic risk assessment.
  • Sudden Onsets: Using phone based data (activity, mobility etc) along with other data sets to produce a better understanding of identification of sudden onsets, measuring impact and monitor recovery.
  • Vulnerabilities and socio-economic indicators: Combining different computational techniques and data sets, estimate socio-economic indicators such as poverty, access to information or resilience to events such as natural disasters.
  • Inequalities and bias: Developing techniques and analysis to identify, quantify and correct bias and inequalities on data and algorithms that leave behind the most vulnerable.Main Responsibilities will be:
  • Point of contact for ongoing initiatives  between the Office of Innovation and the main actors in the field (academia, the private sector, other UN agencies)
  • Develop and manage relationships with partners in the data science space relevant to the ongoing initiatives: identify partners that are developing methods and cutting-edge research in the key area of support. Find opportunities to collaborate/cocreate/integrate research efforts. Identify stakeholders within UNICEF and other UN organizations to build collaborations for applying research. Work on producing joint research and analysis resulting in open peer-reviewed publications, reports, and working methodologies.
  • Produce high impact research: In coordination with the Science team of the Office of Innovation, working with partners in academia and private sector to produce high impact scientific work. Conduct scientific analysis and strengthen the research collaboration network.
  • Build quick prototypes: Produce quick analysis/prototypes that allow a technical exploration of a data science concept to country offices and partners. E.g. Quick analysis of a spreading model for an ongoing epidemic to inform a Country Office on the potential of using human mobility and probabilistic models for epidemic response.
  • Provide technical assistance to the Innovation Fund, Country Offices and start-ups running pilots in the area, including technical guidance documents and reviewing related applications to the Innovation Fund.
  • Documentation and knowledge management: Maintain overall portfolio documentation, including lessons learned of the managed projects on the key area of support

To qualify as a champion for every child you will have…

  • The applicant must hold a PhD degree and 3 years of professional/research experience in a relevant field (Data Science, AI, Complex Systems, Network Analysis, Applied mathematics, Physics, Computer Science or other applicable field).
  • Experience with the following:
    • Data Science, Big Data analytics. Knowledge on open-source library for network analysis, scientific computing (e.g. written in R or Python)
    • Network Analysis, Complex systems
    • Visualization libraries in python or R. Eye-catching plots and images (including shapefile/raster mapping)
    • Machine learning and AI
  • Software development skills:
    • Experience with cloud platforms, familiarity with MS Azure – as our corporate platform that we use for scaling –  is an asset
    • Programming languages: Python as a must, R, gdal
  • Knowledge on open source platforms
  • Knowledge on big data products/data sets: phone based data, twitter, etc.
  • Fair research record (scientific publications related to the professional and academic experience required)
  • Fluency in English (written and verbal) is required. Knowledge of another UN language is an asset.

Applications must include:

  • Cover letter, including link(s) to any demo
  • CV
  • Selection of the 3 most relevant publications (scientific papers, reports, books…). Link to Google scholar or comprehensive list of scientific publications. Gituhub or similar if available.
  • Please indicate your qualifications, availability as well as your financial bid, i.e. daily/monthly rate (in US$), to undertake the terms of reference above.  Applications submitted without a financial bid will not be considered further.

Payment Plan:

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his own health insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel
  • Consultants are responsible for assuming costs for obtaining visas and travel insurance

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.


*Posting and application portal for this job on can only be accessed during the application period
*Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Opening Date Fri Mar 16 2018 09:00:00 GMT-0400 (EDT) Eastern Daylight Time
Closing Date Thu Mar 29 2018 23:55:00 GMT-0400 (EDT) 

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, innovate…

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives. The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions.

UNICEF’s Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world’s children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by:

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly — anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children.
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach — in a traditionally risk-averse field — to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children.
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children.

The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively


We’re an interdisciplinary team around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling new technologies and practices. With our partners, we focus on convening and collaborating on new and different solutions, low- and high-tech,  by:

  • Looking at the 2-5 year horizon to evaluate emerging and trending technologies and to see how UNICEF can work with the private sector on doing better business while improving essential services for children;
  • Investing in early-stage solutions that show great potential to positively impact children in the 0-2 year future including the Venture Fund that invests in open source technology solutions from start-ups based in UNICEF’s programme countries;
  • Identifying proven solutions that can be implemented at national scale in multiple countries – taking the ideas that help thousands in one country, bringing them to dozens of countries across multiple sectors, and impacting the lives of millions of children.
Job Opportunity: Software Developer, Office of Innovation
Job Opportunity: Portfolio Coordinator, New York HQ