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Lead Data Scientist Consultant

Italy (Italy)

  • Organization: UN WFP - World Food Programme
  • Location: Italy (Italy)
  • Grade: International Consultant - Internationally recruited Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Statistics
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-14

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WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles


Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis, and we are committed to promoting diversity and gender balance



Job Title: Lead Data Scientist Consultant


Type of Contract: Regular Consultant


Division: RAM/RAMAH Research, Assessment and Monitoring Division/Hunger Monitoring Unit


Duty Station (City, Country): HQ, Rome Italy


Duration: 6 months






The Hunger Monitoring Unit (RAMAH) in WFP’s Research Assessment and Monitoring (RAM) Division manages WFP’s global hunger monitoring systems, building upon the successes of the mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) initiative. This entails the establishment and oversight of WFP’s near real-time food security monitoring systems in close to 40 countries, as well as developing and refining advanced analytical approaches – including predictive analytics capacities – in collaboration with internal and external partners to ensure timely and holistic views of the food security situation globally. Data from these systems flows into the HungerMap LIVE (, WFP’s global hunger monitoring system. This information is also published through Global and Regional Insights and Key Trends reports and other related resources, enabling decision makers to monitor the situation effectively and adopt early mitigation actions.

RAMAH seeks a consultant data scientist to lead the Unit’s work on predictive analytics and manage the data science team. The consultant will design, coordinate and carry out research projects to develop predictive analytics methodologies for food security monitoring. The consultant will also play a key role in identifying opportunities to achieve Zero Hunger and lead data innovation efforts producing predictive analytics tools for decision making.





  • Lead the Unit’s work and strategy on predictive analytics, data science, and other relevant research and innovation areas.


  • Supervise other Data Scientists in the Unit working on Predictive Analytics.


  • Design, coordinate and carry out research projects on predictive analytics for food security monitoring, including the development of python code as required.


  • Design and oversee a strategy of technical engagement for the Unit’s predictive analytics work: identify relevant fundraising and grant opportunities, relevant actors and research groups the Unit should engage with, etc. This includes maintaining the ongoing research collaborations with e.g. ISI Foundation, Dublin City University and DLR.


  • Write technical papers and reports to be submitted to peer-reviewed international journals.


  • Write technical project proposals and grant applications for predictive analytics and other research and innovation projects.


  • Coordinate with other workstream leads (e.g. software development, continuous monitoring, data quality) as needed to carry out transversal projects and tasks.


  • Participate in scientific and humanitarian conferences, workshops and meetings to present the Unit’s predictive analytics work and to keep up do date on the latest advances in AI, data science and predictive modeling, and their applications in food security monitoring.


  • Participate in working groups within WFP and with external partners on predictive analytics and AI for food security.


  • Produce internal documentation and sensitization material on predictive analytics and its demystification. When allowed, travel to country offices and regional bureau to carry out sensitization and training activities on these topics.


  • Perform other tasks as required.






  • Overall supervision, direction and guidance provided to the predictive analytics data science team.


  • Methods and code for predictive models for food security monitoring developed.


  • Scientific paper(s) submitted to peer-reviewed journals.


  • Project proposals and grant applications developed and submitted.


  • Presentations on the Unit’s predictive analytics work developed and delivered.


  • Trainings and/or sensitization activities on predictive analytics and data science facilitated; field missions undertaken as needs arise.








Advanced university degree in mathematics, computer science, physics, or similar quantitative field.




At least 4 years in data science related fields.


Knowledge and Skills:



  • Proficient knowledge in predictive modelling, machine learning and applied statistics and experience in leading research projects


  • Experience in writing scientific papers and technical project proposals


  • Python programming skills and experience with data science libraries (pandas, numpy, scikit-learn, etc.)


  • Understanding of databases (SQL and/or noSQL) and developer tools (git, aws, docker, etc.)


  • Experience with Remote Sensing data and GIS skills (QGIS) is an asset


  • Experience working with the humanitarian sector or in a social science field is an asset




Spoken and written English required; spoken and written French highly desired.




Terms and Conditions


WFP offers a competitive compensation package which will be determined by the contract type and selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.


Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WFP. Click on: “Our work” and “Countries” to learn more about WFP’s operations.


Deadline for applications: 14  August 2021


Ref.: VA No. 142786




Qualified female applicants and qualified applicants from developing countries are especially encouraged to apply


WFP has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status



No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.


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.

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