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Senior Researcher, Education

Kampala (Uganda)

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: Kampala (Uganda)
  • Grade: Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date:

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Background/IRC Summary:
PlayMatters aims to strengthen  play-based learning for 800,000 children across Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. . PlayMatters is inspired by LEGO Foundation’s call to challenge the status quo, to offer children the quality education they dream of. Children are not gaining the skills they need, teachers are under-supported and parents are overwhelmed. The systems built to serve them are failing them. PlayMatters proudly offers something different. It will be delivered by a coalition with a track record of thinking and delivering differently. 
The Senior Researcher will be a critical member of the PlayMatters regional project team, based in Kampala, Uganda.  The position will oversee research activities in diverse settings across Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.
Job Overview/Summary: 
Reporting to the Senior Director for Education, the Senior Researcher will have a dotted line to the PlayMatters Sr Technical Advisor, and have a close working relationship with the PlayMatters RMEL Advisor, the IRC’s Chief Research & Innovation Officer and PlayMatters consortium partners to support the co-design and coordinate all research and learning activities and support their quality implementation. The PlayMatters research and learning portfolio has four goals: 
(1)design appropriate, acceptable programs in terms of content, delivery, and targeting using small-scale testing and prototyping, human-centered design principles, and qualitative methods; 
(2)measure the impact of our programs using rigorous and contextualized study designs; 
(3)make recommendations on how to refine program models to achieve scale and cost-efficiency; and 
(4)influence best practice in early childhood education through the project learning agenda. 
The Senior Researcher will have primary responsibility for coordinating the fulfillment of these goals, with emphasis on goal 2, across PlayMatters consortium partner agencies and the Study Leads. 
The Senior Researcher is responsible for the consortium’s overall progress toward the aims of the PlayMatters Research Agenda. In partnership with PlayMatters consortium members, they will oversee the design, data analysis and dissemination of research conducted as part of PlayMatters. The Senior Researcher is responsible for: 
1.Supporting the co-design of rigorous, contextually appropriate research and learning activities, in service of the project goals. The research will include: 
a.Quantitative/ qualitative research to explore the effects of learning through play on holistic outcomes including the literacy, numeracy, socio-emotional skills and transition outcomes of refugee and host community children in East Africa. 
b.Implementation research to look at how different aspects related to the quality of the implementation affect different outcomes for different types of students
c.Measurement research to assess the reliability and validity of outcome and quality of implementation tools and establish protocols for improvement 
2.Supporting and guiding Study Leads to ensure appropriate rigor, adherence to research standards, and coherence with the overarching Research Agenda;
3.Working with the RMEL Advisor to ensure strong connections between research and routine monitoring.   
4.Leading dissemination and uptake of research findings by writing blogs, briefs, and publications n academic journals and practitioner-focused outlets; 
5.Collaborating with colleagues within the education team, research team and R&D team, within other IRC departments, and with consortium member organizations in pursuit of the tasks above. Maintain strong relationships with research partners at War Child Holland, Innovations for Poverty Action, Behavioral Innovations Team, Plan International, Ubongo, as well as IRC technical staff.  
Job Requirements: 
•Minimum five to eight years of experience as a researcher, overseeing and conducting education or early childhood development research, preferably in Uganda, Ethiopia and/or Tanzania.  
•Master’s Degree in Education, Social Sciences, or related field. PhD/EdD is a plus. 
•Demonstrated experience using and a strong technical understanding of randomized impact evaluations, program implementation research (including qualitative and quantitative approaches), and measure development, adaptation, validation. 
•Strong statistical skills (multi-level modeling and confirmatory factor analysis is expected, structural equation modeling and latent class modeling is highly desirable) and experience assessing the reliability and validity of measures. Experience with qualitative research.
•Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to communicate effectively in a multi-cultural environment with a wide range of stakeholders - academic researchers, government officials, NGO partners, study participants, donors, etc. 
•Comfort with and flexibility working under pressure, dealing with competing priorities, in a fast-paced team environment.
•Passion for connecting rigorous research to policy makers and practitioners and communicating  how research can guide improvements to programs.
•Fluency in English is required; knowledge of additional  languages in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania is a plus.
Working Environment: 
•Standard office work environment
The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way - Standards for Professional Conduct.  These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability.  In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.
IRC et les employés de IRC doivent adhérer aux valeurs et principes contenus dans le IRC WAY (normes de conduite professionnelle). Ce sont l’Intégrité, le Service, et la Responsabilité. En conformité avec ces valeurs, IRC opère et fait respecter les politiques sur la protection des bénéficiaires contre l’exploitation et les abus, la protection de l’enfant, le harcèlement sur les lieux de travail, l’intégrité financière, et les représailles. 
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