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Data Ecosystem Development Specialist

Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Home Based - May require travel (Home Based)
  • Grade: IICA-3, International Individual Contractors Agreement - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Information Technology and Computer Science
    • Statistics
    • Environment
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Natural Resource Management
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-05

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Background Information - Job-specific

UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects.  Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

The New York Service Cluster (NYSC) supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management

The Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. It was formed by combining the following portfolios: Grants Management Services (GMS), UN Technology Support Services (UNTSS), Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) It provides Services to partners' programmes that are designed, structured, and managed with a global perspective and primarily serving partners that are headquartered in New York.  The SDC has a footprint of approximately 125 countries.

UNOPS has signed an agreement with the United Nations to implement the project activities for UN Global Pulse.

UN Global Pulse Background

UN Global Pulse is the UN Secretary-General’s innovation lab. Originally established in 2009 to harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence to protect the vulnerable during crises, UN Global Pulse operates as a globally distributed network advancing innovation in the UN’s work for people and the planet.  These terms of reference result from a strategic realignment of the UN’s innovation ecosystem, overseen by the Secretary-General’s Executive Office and a cross-pillar review team, to maximize its impact. Going forward, UN Global Pulse will serve as the Secretary-General’s cross-pillar lead and hub for experimentation and digital innovation in support of leadership priorities and in the advancement of the UN Charter.

UN Global Pulse works with digital innovation, real-time data and artificial intelligence to further sustainable development, humanitarian and peace outcomes.  UN Global Pulse’s vision is ‘A world in which responsible and inclusive digital innovation serves people, advances their sustainable development, and protects the planet’.  Our mission is to work at the intersection of digital innovation and the human sciences to inform, inspire, and strengthen the ability of the United Nations family and those it serves to anticipate, respond and adapt to the challenges of today and tomorrow. 

The goals of UN Global Pulse are: i) Advance digital innovations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, respond effectively to crises, and address emerging global challenges; ii) Facilitate the development of global frameworks that maximize the impact of digital innovation, minimize the risk of harm, and create pathways to scale and sustainability; and iii) Support the transformation of the UN family into a more dynamic and resilient ‘next-generation”’ institution.

The incumbent of this position will be a personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

To achieve these overall goals, the UN Global Pulse Finland is seeking an experienced Data Ecosystem Development Specialist. The primary responsibilities are developing a vision, strategy, and a roadmap for establishing back end systems and data and analytical tools for the successful delivery of the SG Lab Futures Initiative. In the context of strategic foresight the Data Ecosystem Development Specialist will work towards increasing the capacity of UN Global Pulse to act as a trusted data clearinghouse and analytics partner and a driver of data inclusion and diversity. The role will also contribute to developing collaborations across internal teams who work to bridge supply and demand in data for strategic decision-making within the UN system. More specifically, the role elaborates technical and operational requirements for the data sourcing, management, mining, and analysis to drive the work across workstreams, focusing on strategic foresight and related data and service innovation activities. Tasks include establishing a sandbox environment for rapid testing and developing data products and services in collaboration with internal and external partners.

Within a broader strategic context, the role contributes to the realization of system wide goals of the UN Secretary-General. These include those under the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy - to modernize the technological foundations for work and improve capabilities to extract more value from the UN and integrated external data sources - the Innovation strategy (forthcoming) and the Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. 

The Data Ecosystem Development Specialist will work under the supervision of Programme Manager of UN Global Pulse Finland in addition to working under the substantive supervision of the Programme Manager Specialist (Focal Area Lead in Strategic Foresight) and the Big Data Engineer. The key deliverables for the role include: 

Strategic Coordination:

  • In the context of strategic foresight, carry out needs mapping within UN Global Pulse including internal and key external partners impacting the development of back end capabilities, and based on this, identify priorities and complementary roles for UN Global Pulse; 

  • Development of an overall vision, strategy and roadmap for Strategic Foresight information architecture and back end and data services ecosystem to service the UN Global Pulse’s organizational development goals in collaboration with other teams;

Technological Development and Coordination:

  • Prepare work plan and work packages with clear outcomes and outputs setting a clear direction for the longer-term development of technology, and service ecosystem including interfaces for the internal and external partners (based on the identified needs & priorities)

  • Elaborate pathways for cross-functional teams to deliver the outputs in a vision-based ecosystem in an effective and synergized manner;    

  • To set up a sandbox environment to support the immediate needs and delivery of the new UN Global Pulse workstreams focusing on strategic foresight. This includes deployment of a data integration platform and modern AI tools;

Monitoring and Progress Controls

In coordination with the UN Global Pulse staff, the Data Ecosystem Development Specialist will report on progress and assure the timely deliverables of the agreed outputs. The Data Ecosystem Development Specialist is expected to exercise flexibility in the consultancy assignment regarding the potential of dynamically changing delivery requirements, for example adapting working arrangements so that outputs can be delivered online/electronically.

Education/Experience/Language requirements



  • Advanced University Degree (Master’s Degree or equivalent) preferably in data science, computer science, information science, computational social science.

  • A first level University degree (Bachelor's Degree or equivalent) preferably in a related field with an additional 2 years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. 

Work Experience:

  • At least 7 years of experience in a technology-focused role (a CTO, technology architect or similar) is required. 

  • Experience in supporting organizational innovation or transformation projects through design and implementation through back end systems is required.  

  • At least 5 years of experience in programme, project management and/or business/ strategic development and leadership roles is required.

Desirable: (The following experience is optional.  Candidates who do not have it are welcome to apply)

  • Experience in complex humanitarian and/or development programmes, in one or more countries at an operational level is an asset.

  • Knowledge of the roles and activities of the United Nations within a complex humanitarian emergency or developmental environments is an asset.

  • The ability to effectively work in a multicultural environment is an asset.

  • Knowledge of the UN system is an asset.


  • Fluency in English (read, write, speak) is required. 

  • Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above)
Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA)  Contract level: International Individual Contractor Agreement (I-ICA 3)
Contract duration: 100 days 

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

Background Information - Sustainable Development Cluster 

Based in New York, the Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations.

The SDC’s services include grants management, development and special initiatives support, and technology support to the UN and UN agencies.

The SDC is part of the New York Service Cluster that supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as a broadening community of other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management.

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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