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Roster of Education Researchers (quantitative and/or qualitative) at the Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence Italy


  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Florence
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Statistics
    • Education, Learning and Training
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2023-12-31

The purpose of this call is to solicit applications from individuals who are interested in working with the Research on Education And Development (READ) unit in a consultant/individual contractor capacity, either part or full time and either on site in Florence, Italy or remotely.

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, Research

Roster of Education Researchers (quantitative and/or qualitative) at the Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence Italy

The Office of Research-Innocenti (OoR-Innocenti) is the dedicated research office of UNICEF. It undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children in order to inform the strategic directions, policies and programmes of UNICEF, Governments and their partners. The Office explores emerging issues, identifies research gaps, brings together existing researchers, and supports or undertakes research and data collection to address critical questions and to inform policy dialogue and implementation at country level.

Education is a key focus of UNICEF Innocenti, with research on education and learning to support the implementation of best practices for education systems, policies and programmes. Working with UNICEF Headquarters, regional and country offices as well as universities and international partners, the Research on Education And Development (READ) unit supports 50+ countries worldwide in conducting field research and evidence-based policy/literature reviews.

Activities in the READ unit are carried out in different research streams:

a) Female school leaders (Women in Learning Leadership (WiLL) project)
READ is establishing a new research portfolio based on emerging evidence showing positive associations between women head teachers and a range of outcomes for students, including improved learning outcomes. The Women in Learning Leadership (WiLL) mixed methods research aims to expand the evidence base on gender and school leadership, examining the differences in learning outcomes for schools led by women compared to men and understanding the behaviors and practices women adopt that contribute to these differences. WiLL also explores the current barriers preventing more women from becoming school leaders in low- and middle-income countries and the key policy levers that can increase female representation.

b) Teacher allocation (‘Teachers for All’ project)
‘Teachers for All’ (T4A), one of READ team’s new research projects, is seeking to expand the evidence base on educators in Africa with the aim of exploring how the allocation of primary and pre-primary schoolteachers may be optimized to improve equity in learning outcomes. The project combines quantitative and qualitative methods and builds on findings from the Time to Teach project. T4A is currently active in 11 countries.

c) Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (‘Data Must Speak and Southeast Asia-Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) projects)

Since 2019, in line with the UNICEF Foundational Learning and Numeracy (FLN) Programme, Data Must Speak (DMS) research identifies positive deviant schools (i.e. schools that outperform others in terms of learning, equity and retention even though they operate with equivalent resources and contexts). The research explores why those positive deviant schools are outperforming others and investigates how the behaviors/practices observed in the positive deviant schools could be optimally scaled in lower performing schools. DMS is demand-driven and uses a co-creation and co-implementation mixed-methods approach combining quantitative, qualitative, and participatory implementation research as well as behavioral and scaling science, to improve uptake, replicability, and sustainability. The research is so far undertaken in 13 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. UNICEF Innocenti is also working with UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office to support the assessment of foundational literacy and numeracy skills through the South-East Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM). Six countries in the region took part in the first round of SEA-PLM in 2019. UNICEF Innocenti’s support of SEA-PLM involves secondary data analysis to produce thematic regional reports as well as supporting country-level reporting and the development of subsequent rounds of the assessment.

d) Digital learning (Learning Passport, Accessible Digital Textbooks, Akelius)

Leveraging UNICEF’s global reach and local capacity, the digital learning portfolio embeds action research into digital learning partnerships to inform and improve the way that governments, UNICEF, and partners:
• Deliver digital learning offline - The Learning Passport partnership between UNICEF and Microsoft has developed a fully interactive digital learning experience that is contextualized for each of the 19 countries where it is currently deployed and can be used without the internet.
• Unlock opportunities for children with disabilities The Accessible Digital Textbooks initiative develops digital learning tools with features that allow children with disabilities to engage with the same content and in the same classroom as their peers. Currently implemented in 6 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa.
• Develop foundational skills with a fun learning app - The UNICEF – Akelius Foundation partnership co-creates and implements an interactive and gamified digital learning app for language and math in 9 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.

e) Early Childhood Education

The early years of a child’s life are critical to building the foundations of learning that help them succeed in school and beyond. READ has established a new research portfolio to use research to support early childhood education system strengthening. Activities in this theme includes an evidence review into what works, how and in what context to improve equitable access to and learning quality in pre-primary education as well as a report into gender-transformative early childhood education systems. This year the team is focusing on implementation research into quality assurance in early childhood education and regional benchmarking of early childhood education systems.

f) Inclusive education for children with disabilities

READ is establishing a new research portfolio on disability-inclusive education. This portfolio will build on the joint UNICEF/GPE/UNESCO/FCDO Guidelines for Education Sector Analysis (ESA) Volume III chapter on inclusive education for children with disabilities and on a current project to develop and trial resources to support parents and caregivers of children with disabilities with learning in inclusive settings.

g) Sport for Development (S4D project)

In countries around the world, sport, recreation and play are improving the health and well-being of children and youth. Sport for development (S4D) organizations harness the power of sport as an inclusive mean of helping children to improve their health; to develop their social, educational and leadership skills; to empower them; and of course, to play and have fun. Our current research, in partnership with the Barca Foundation, aims to understand the processes through which S4D programmes impact the mental health of children and adolescents. The study looks at mental health outcomes, but also on intervening mechanisms, and implementation modalities of S4D that bring about positive change.

The purpose of this call is to solicit applications from individuals who are interested in working with the Research on Education And Development (READ) unit in a consultant/individual contractor capacity on either a part time or full time basis, either on-site in Florence, Italy or remotely.

Screenings and short listings will be made on a regular basis, from which selected candidates will be contacted for further selection process.

Approved applicants will be placed on a pre-approved roster which will remain valid for a period of 36 months.

Duration of roster-based consultancies:
Consultancy arrangements may range from a fixed number of days to 11.5 months (potentially extendable to three additional years), depending on demand, project specifications and funding availability and will be subject to UNICEF General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants / Individual Contractors. Click here to view General Terms & Conditions for Consultants and Individual Contractors General Terms & Conditions for Consultants and Individual Contractors

Supervision and work arrangements:
Individuals who are selected from the roster will work under the supervision of the Chief or other Research Managers of the READ Unit. Individuals may either be locally based in Florence (in which case they will need to have / get a valid permit of stay in Italy) or may work remotely, depending on requirements for each position. Longer-term consultants of 6 to 11.5 months will usually work full-time all working days and will be entitled to 1.5 days of leave per full worked month plus 10 official UN holidays. The work may include incidental travel to participate in field work, workshops or conferences; such travel will be paid by UNICEF and governed by UNICEF travel policies for consultants.

How can you make a difference?

Specific activities
Selected Consultants/Individual contractors may be expected to perform any of the following activities:

• Implementation of quantitative and qualitative research. This may involve the cleaning, coding and analysis of survey, interview and focus group discussion data.

• Production of written outputs including research reports, working papers, blog posts and policy briefs. This may involve undertaking literature and policy reviews, conducting comparative analyses, writing up findings, and working with a team of copyeditors and graphic designers.

• Development of new research proposals and other fund-raising activities.

• Research dissemination. This may include supporting the organization of dissemination events (remote or onsite) and the development of background documentation (e.g., concept notes, invitations, media products, infographics, slide decks, etc.).

• Contribution to the Office of Research work programme and support to the cross-cutting research agenda.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have qualifications and/or specialized knowledge/experience required and desirable for being included in the roster:

• University degree in behavioral science, economics, education, statistics, social policy or related social sciences.
• Demonstrated experience at national or international levels in design and implementation of rigorous research, with developing country level experience an asset;
• Demonstrated experience in qualitative and/or quantitative research and evaluation designs and methods, including experimental and quasi-experimental methods;
• Experience in writing research proposals and other fund-raising activities;
• Data and analytical skills and extensive knowledge of common statistics software packages (e.g. STATA, R, SPSS); knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) an asset;
• Experience in managing large rounds of data collection and related trainings; experience in using common online / offline data collection packages (e.g. ODK, Kobo, SurveyCTO) an asset;
• Excellent written and oral communication skills and excellent attention to details;
• Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work well as part of a geographically dispersed team and to forge and manage partnerships;
• Commitment to UNICEF’s core values of care, respect, integrity, transparency and accountability;
• Ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment; experience working in the UN or other international development organization an asset.
• Fluency in English required; Fluency in French desirable; Fluency in another UN language an asset

Instructions for applicants

To apply, please submit your CV and clearly include in your Cover letter the following information:
• preferred work stream (a) Female school leaders (WiLL); b) Teachers; c) Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (‘Data Must Speak’ and SEA-PLM); d) Digital learning; e) Early Childhood Education; f) Inclusive education for children with disabilities; and/or g) Sport for Development). Please note that you can apply simultaneously to more than one work stream;
• preferred type of consultant (Quantitative researcher, Qualitative researcher, Mixed-methods researcher);
• availability (part time or full time);
• all-inclusive (excluding mission travel cost that will be funded by UNICEF separately as required and in line with UNICEF’s policies and procedures) daily fee rate in USD (for individuals only interested in part-time positions) or monthly fee rate in USD (for individuals interested in full-time positions) ; You will notice that you are also asked to include this in your application form but we would also like to see it in your cover letter;
• contact details (including emails and telephone numbers) of two professional referees.
Any application missing these elements will not be considered.

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.

View our competency framework at:
Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

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.

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 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.

Depending on the type and length of contract, consultants may be eligible to receive Paid Time Off (PTO) credit at the rate of one- and one-half days (1.5 days) for each full month of service, to be credited on the last calendar day of the month, and up to 17 days for a maximum of 11.5 months contract.

Payment of professional fees shall follow the “best value for money” principle, i.e., achieving the desired outcome at the lowest possible fee. Consultants will be asked to stipulate all-inclusive fees, including lump sum travel and subsistence costs, as applicable.
Payment of professional fees will be based on submission of agreed deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant

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.