International / Multinational

Consultant – Big Data Research Scientist Job at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life for themselves. It provides expert advice, training and grants support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries. It promotes technical and investment cooperation among nations.

Headquartered in New York City, the status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly. The UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states. The organization operates in 177 countries, where it works with local governments to meet development challenges and develop local capacity.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Consultant – Big Data Research Scientist

Location: Abuja
Additional Category: Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding
Type of Contract: Individual Contract
Post Level: International Consultant
Languages Required: English
Starting Date: 28th April, 2020
Duration of Initial Contract: 6 months (with possibility of extension)
Expected Duration of Assignment: 6 months (with possibility of extension)


  • UNDP Nigeria has established a Knowledge Hub to enhance its ability to make timely and evidence-based interventions, particularly in areas of Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism, conflict prevention and human security.
  • A new type of ‘development intelligence gathering’, i.e. continuous monitoring and data collection, is crucial to inform UNDP’s work for early warning, adjust interventions to maximize preventive efforts and initiate new thematic approaches. Trend analyses and ad-hoc policy briefs will also inform interventions of UNDP’s development partners in this field.
  • Through harnessing the potential offered by both old and new sources of data, it is UNDP’s hope that the accuracy and precision of its development responses are increased and a strong foundation for meaningful public policy making, efficient resource allocation and effective public service delivery is created.
  • The ultimate objective of the Knowledge Hub is to harness data, including real time data, for development through providing evidence-based intelligence that can be translated to meaningful policies and planning for development impact.
  • Reporting to the UNDP Nigeria RR’s Office, the Knowledge Hub will consist of three complementary Units that work in mutual complementarity, cross-pollination and strong collaboration, which is required because of the highly specialized individual expertise in each of the units.
  • Data Analysis Unit, which will focus on collection of primary data, establishment and maintenance of a database of ‘development intelligence’, the analysis of the data collected as well reporting of the results. This unit will include five data analysts specializing in the following areas; big data, GIS/geospatial analysis, visualisation, survey methodology and econometrics/social sciences.
  • Reporting & Programming Unit, which will produce reports and tools using primary data collected into ongoing and future programming of the entire UN Country Team in the domains of PVE, conflict prevention and human security.
  • Partnerships Unit, which will manage strategic partnerships with third party (local) researchers throughout Nigeria, as well as with local and international (academic) institutions for quality assurance of the knowledge products.
  • Part of the strategy of the Knowledge Hub includes the use of digital real-time data analytics and data mining to strengthen human security, improve provision of services and support the development of sustainable cities and communities. To achieve this goals, UNDP Nigeria is looking for a Data Scientist to apply data mining techniques (anomaly detection, association learning, cluster detection, classification, and predictive modeling) to create actionable insights from a broad range of structured and unstructured data that is growing rapidly in scale.
  • This recruitment is for a Data Scientist that will be part of Data Analysis Unit within the Knowledge Hub. The Data Scientist will be responsible for the acquisition, analysis and visualization of data from a variety of sources in order to i) help understand emerging human vulnerabilities to socio-economic shocks, ii) detect and highlight patterns that could indicate how people are coping with emerging hardship, and iii) gather evidence of changes in behavior and perception correlated with public sector policies and programmes.

Duties and Responsibilities
Under the direct supervision of the Knowledge Hub Coordinator, the Data Scientist will:

  • Define, design and implement research projects harnessing Big Data to improve both understanding of population behavior, needs, and vulnerabilities as well as capacity to monitor and evaluate the impacts of public sector policies and programmes;
  • Perform data discovery studies and software prototypes. Assist in developing new approaches to detecting events, and trends within real-time data sources such as mobile technology as well as online media, social networks, imagery, geospatial data, communications logs, transaction records, etc.;
  • Write code and scripts to perform data cleaning, analysis and modeling;
  • Document advances in big data and artificial intelligence including sectoral deep dives in fields such as human security and service provision;
  • Support and coordinate data innovation projects with multiple partners including UN agencies, government entities, the private sector and academia;
  • Design and implement statistical data quality procedures around new data sources in the context of their application to development and humanitarian issues;
  • Implement any software required for accessing and handling data appropriately;
  • Produce high quality written technical reports and visualize data findings creatively in a variety of formats;
  • Draft and review project proposals, concept notes and scientific articles;
  • Prepare presentations and communication materials as required;
  • Support and advise the Knowledge Hub activities as required;
  • Interact with the global community through a variety of media.

Impact of Results

  • The key results have an impact on creation a development intelligence-gathering whereby the continuous monitoring collection of real-time data and its subsequent analysis contributes towards improved and evidence-based interventions that can improve the lives of the people UNDP Nigeria serves.
  • One particular key result will be the development of an early warning model in the area of public health surveillance using mobile technology.
  • Through the use of twenty-first century approach to impact monitoring, building social software for evidence-based decision making, and identifying new areas of effective and innovative ways of intervention and monitoring, the key results will have an impact towards contributing to new, efficient and innovative ways for UNDP to deliver on its mandate as well as its contribution towards operationalisation of the SDGs.
  • These key results will also allow the Hub to sustain visibility among both domestic and international audiences as well as a thought leader at the time reaching resource mobilisation targets.

Desired Competencies:

  • Ability to synthesize large amounts of information to identify underlying trends and patterns
  • Conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Ability to remains calm in stressful situations.
  • Openness to listening to others, correctly interpreting messages from others and responding appropriately;
  • Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication;
  • Tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience;
  • Very good organizational, visual, written and verbal communication skills;
  • Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping others informed;
  • Team player.
  • Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities;
  • Ability to think critically and openly;
  • Ability to multi-task and coordinate several assignments;
  • Shows pride in work and in achievements;
  • Excellent analytical and organizational skills;
  • Motivated by professional rather than personal concerns;
  • Ability to show persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges;

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s degree in Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Physics, Computational Finance, Economics, Computer Science, Engineering or other related technical disciplines.
  • A first-level university degree with at least 5 years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • Three years of progressively responsible experience in data analysis or data visualization required;
  • Demonstrated experience coordinating multidisciplinary projects between data/science/technology and international development, humanitarian experts or any other relevant field from social, physical or biological sciences desirable.
  • Experience analyzing data from social monitoring systems, monitoring and evaluation work, or other survey work.
  • Willingness to evaluate and adopt the latest advances in AI, machine learning, predictive analysis and data visualization.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate between data/science/technology and international development and humanitarian experts;
  • Proven familiarity and expertise with analytical techniques such as text mining, sentiment analysis, machine learning, event detection, and modeling of complex systems required;
  • Proven knowledge and experience in applying statistical
  • Experience coding algorithms (Python, R or an equivalent programming environment), data access and processing (software environment such as Hadoop), analysis and data visualization methodologies for call detail records, mobile data, social media data or any other big data source.
  • Demonstrated experience documenting processes and/or writing scientific research articles required.
  • Experience working in development or humanitarian response or in a developing country is preferred;
  • Proven ability to manage relationships with partners, including government, universities, UN organizations, NGOs and the private sector is an asset;

Language Requirements:

  • Fluent written and oral English required.  Knowledge of another UN language an asset.

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Advanced university degree in statistics, applied mathematics, physics, computational finance, economics, computer science, engineering or other related technical disciplines – 15 points
  • Proven familiarity and expertise with analytical techniques such as text mining, sentiment analysis, machine learning, event detection, and modeling of complex systems required – 35 points
  • Experience coding algorithms (Python, R or an equivalent programming environment), data access and processing (software environment such as Hadoop), analysis and data visualization methodologies using big data such as call detail records, mobile data, social media data or any other big data source – 35 points
  • Demonstrated ability to articulate and translate findings using data/science/technology methods for international development and humanitarian experts – 15 points.

Deadline: 23rd March, 2020.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

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