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Consultancy: Data Scientist, 11.5 months, Remote

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Statistics
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
  • Closing Date: 2020-10-29

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We are seeking a talented Data Scientist for the Office of Innovation to support the Giga initiative, an initiative to connect every school in the world to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity and choice. The Data Scientist will work with a multidisciplinary team preparing data, building data pipelines & tools and running analysis to generate key insights for the Giga project

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.

UNICEF and ITU have launched “Giga”, a new initiative to connect every school to the internet, and every young person to information, opportunity and choice. Giga is anchored in the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation’s findings 1A and 1B which state, respectively, that by "2030 every adult should have affordable access to digital networks" and calls for "a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, create a platform for sharing digital public goods."

Providing connectivity to the world remains a challenge. According to the ITU, nearly 3.7 billion

people remain unconnected from the internet, and by extension, unconnected to digital products

and services that could dramatically improve their lives. Approximately 29% of 18-24-year-olds,

most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have digital access (~360m people) and thereby lack access to the same information, opportunity and choice as their more-connected peers. Unless things change, a big part of this rapidly growing group of young people is in danger of being left behind, excluded from the modern digital world. 

How can you make a difference?

We seek a strong self-motivated Data Scientist who can maintain the quality of its work even under tight time constraints and who can work with a diverse interdisciplinary team to help us build quality data pipelines & tools and run analysis to generate critical insights for the Giga project and for UNICEF Country Offices. In particular, you will:

  • Ingest, clean and prepare school location and connectivity data from different sources (both public and private) to ensure its integrity and quality and make it available for analysis and visualization
  • Build data pipelines & tools to enable to run existing DS and ML models at scale, in particular, pipelines to process satellite imagery at scale
  • Compile and prepare additional datasets that can be overlayed with school connectivity data. These datasets can include population maps, socioeconomic indicators or ICT infrastructure data, among others
  • Using school connectivity data as baseline, run different analysis to generate key insights for the Giga project (i.e. cost models to estimate the cost of extending connectivity to schools, analysis of out of school children, impact of connectivity)
  • Create data visualizations & stories and communicate the work with different stakeholders

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

  • And Advanced University degree (Master’s or higher) in Computer Science, Engineering or similar, or equivalent work experience
  • A minimum of three years of relevant professional experience in data science
  • Experience with data visualizations
  • Experience with data modelling
  • Understanding of AI algorithms such as deep learning, UNET
  • Experience with geospatial data processing
  • Technical experience in:
    • Languages: python, Jupyter Notebooks, R, 
    • Cloud services: Azure, AWS, etc
    • Geospatial DBs, libraries and data structures
    • Data visualization libraries
    • Sql and NoSQL database systems
    • Experience with git, pull requests
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency is considered an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The functional competencies required for this post are...

  • Relating and Networking - Level 2
  • Apply Technical Expertise - Level 2
  • Creating and Innovating - Level 2

View our competency framework at

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Payment details and further considerations

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


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Individuals engaged under a consultancy or individual contract will not be considered “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and UNICEF’s policies and procedures, and will not be entitled to benefits provided therein (such as leave entitlements and medical insurance coverage). Their conditions of service will be governed by their contract and the General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants and Individual Contractors. Consultants and individual contractors are responsible for determining their tax liabilities and for the payment of any taxes and/or duties, in accordance with local or other applicable laws.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

What does it mean?

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