Data Scientist (UNDP Knowledge Hub) at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves. It provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries. It promotes technical and investment cooperation among nations.

Headquartered in New York City, the status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly. The UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. The organization operates in 177 countries, where it works with local governments to meet development challenges and develop local capacity.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Data Scientist for UNDP Knowledge Hub

Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Additional Category: Management
Type of Contract: Individual Contract
Post Level: International Consultant
Starting Date: 01-Oct-2021 (date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract: 30 Days
Expected Duration of Assignment: 30 Days

Background and Rationale  

  • UNDP Nigeria has established a Knowledge Hub to enhance its ability to make timely and evidence-based interventions, particularly in areas of Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism, conflict prevention and human security.
  • A new type of ‘development intelligence gathering’, i.e. continuous monitoring and data collection, is crucial to inform UNDP’s work for early warning, adjust interventions to maximize preventive efforts and initiate new thematic approaches.
  • Trend analyses and ad-hoc policy briefs will also inform interventions of UNDP’s development partners in this field.
  • Through harnessing the potential offered by both old and new sources of data, it is UNDP’s hope that the accuracy and precision of its development responses are increased and a strong foundation for meaningful public policy making, efficient resource allocation and effective public service delivery is created.
  • The ultimate objective of the Knowledge Hub is to harness data, including real time data, for development through providing evidence-based intelligence that can be translated to meaningful policies and planning for development impact.
  • Part of the strategy of the Knowledge Hub includes the use of digital real-time data analytics and data mining to strengthen human security, improve provision of services and support the development of sustainable cities and communities.
  • To achieve this goals, UNDP Nigeria is looking for a Data Scientist to apply data mining techniques (anomaly detection, association learning, cluster detection, classification, and predictive modeling) to create actionable insights from a broad range of structured and unstructured data that is growing rapidly in scale.
  • In addition, given monumental secondary impact of COVID-19 in the country, UNDP’s support to the Governement’s strategy to reestablish conditions for quick recovery and return to a path of economic growth, improved social contract and overall human development that can foster more inclusive societies in the future.
  • A key foundation for this is availing rapid intelligence gathering, R&D support and Data Innovation, to provide the much-needed socio-economic trend analysis to compliment epidemiological analytics that will frame the risk stratification in society and across sectors with policy actions for the immediate long term.
  • UNDP therefore seeks the expertise of a Data Scientist to work with the Knowledge Hub for the acquisition, analysis and visualization of data from a variety of sources in order to:
    • Help understand emerging human vulnerabilities to socio-economic shocks,
    • Detect and highlight patterns that could indicate how people are coping with emerging hardship, and
    • Gather evidence of changes in behavior and perception correlated with public sector policies and programmes.

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work:

  • Under the direct supervision of the Knowledge Hub Coordinator, the Data Scientist will:
  • Define, design and implement research projects harnessing Big Data to improve both understanding of population behavior, needs, and vulnerabilities as well as capacity to monitor and evaluate the impacts of public sector polices and programmes;
  • Perform data discovery studies and software prototypes. Assist in developing new approaches to detecting events, and trends within real-time data sources such as mobile technology as well as online media, social networks, imagery, geospatial data, communications logs, transaction records, etc.;
  • Write code and scripts to perform data cleaning, analysis and modeling;
  • Document advances in big data and artificial intelligence including sectoral deep dives in fields such as human security and service provision;
  • Support and coordinate data innovation projects with multiple partners including UN agencies, government entities, the private sector and academia;
  • Design and implement statistical data quality procedures around new data sources in the context of their application to development and humanitarian issues;
  • Implement any software required for accessing and handling data appropriately;
  • Produce high quality written technical reports and visualize data findings creatively in a variety of formats;
  • Draft and review project proposals, concept notes and scientific articles;
  • Prepare presentations and communication materials as required;
  • Support and advise the Knowledge Hub activities as required;
  • Interact with the global community through a variety of media.

Areas of research and exploration include:

  • Estimating higher frequency and more granular population-related metrics such as vulnerability and migration through alternative data such as cellular phone use
  • Characterization and modelling of regional traffic patterns
  • Extracting sentiment from social media such as Twitter.

Expected Outcome/ Deliverables
The Expert will be expected to deliver the following for each project:

  • A research brief or presentation deck detailing the research question, statistical and enginering methodology, results, technical recommendations for practical use, and policy implications.
  • Well-documented code in either the R or Python programming language that allows other technical staff to use.
  • Supporting visualizations that enable intuitive communication with stakeholders.

Required Skills and Experience
Qualifications and Experience:

  • Proven experience in conducting various methods of statistical analysis including machine learning, predictive modeling;
  • Proven ability to translate findings statistical findings to policy recommendations
  • Ability to lead the statistical analysis and to combine with broader analytical trends and observations. This work includes explaining and applying findings and recommendations following the assessment;
  • Proven experience writing procedure documents and analysis reports for an international audience.
  • Excellent command of English

Competencies

Core:
Innovation:

  • Ability to make new and useful ideas work
  • Level 4: Adept with complex concepts and challenges convention purposefully

Communication:

  • Sharing knowledge across the organization and building a culture of knowledge sharing and learning.
  • Level 4: Synthesizes information to communicate independent analysis

Delivery:

  • Ability to get things done while exercising good judgement
  • Level 5: Critically assesses value and relevance of existing policy / practice and contributes to enhanced delivery of products, services, and innovative solutions

Technical expertise:

  • Knowledge of advanced data analytics, including methodologies related to big data and data science.
  • Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Knowledge Management:

  • Ability to capture, develop, share and effectively use information and knowledge.
  • Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Gender Sensitivity

  • Demonstrates awareness and sensitivity regarding gender issues;
  • Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Secondary:
Report Writing:

  • Ability to prepare quality reports.
  • Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise
  • Data Analysis/Measurement Ability to evaluate, transform and  model data to derive relevant findings.
  • Level 4: Apply & Adapt: Contributes skills and knowledge with demonstrated ability to advance innovation and continuous improvement, in professional area of expertise

Application Closing Date
17th September, 2021; (Midnight New York, USA)

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Note

  • UNDP 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.
  • UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

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