Research Project Coordinator Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI)

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Brigham & Women's Hospital (BWH)

Position description

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a university-wide academic and research center in humanitarian crisis and leadership. HHI is an affiliated program with the International Division of the Brigham Health Emergency Department and based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) Department of Global Health and Population. As an Inter-Faculty Initiative, HHI collaborates closely with all Harvard Schools and Harvard Teaching Hospitals and is the primary humanitarian outreach arm of Harvard University. The mission of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative is to create new knowledge and advance evidence-based leadership in disasters and humanitarian crisis. HHI was founded in 2005, currently operates 20 projects, and consists of 60 staff, faculty, visiting scientists, students, and collaborators. HHI’s aim is to promote interdisciplinary dialogue in pressing humanitarian issues, advance the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide, and improve the lives of communities in war, conflict, and natural disasters.


About the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology

The Signal Program at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, founded in 2012, has worked to advance the safe, ethical, and effective use of information technologies by communities of practice during humanitarian and human rights emergencies, through interdisciplinary teams that collaborate with faculty members, international organizations, academic and non-academic research institutes, and professional agencies. Its core goals have been to train and equip humanitarian practitioners with the technical methods, ethical doctrine, research, and relevant evidence-based practices needed to responsibly use Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) as part of their operations. In this next phase of the Signal Program, it is the team’s objective to strengthen the efficacy and efficiency of early warning/early action work through a strategic, evidence-based, and ethical integration of spatial methods, field methods, and novel analytic tools into existing EW/EA decision-support mechanisms and workflows.


About the position

In this role, the successful candidate will coordinate day-to-day program and grant activities and, under the guidance of Principal Investigators (PI) actively contribute to developing, coordinating, and carrying out research and projects. The candidate will have excellent communication skills to interact with a range of external and internal HHI partners, faculty, staff, interns, as well as all stakeholders. This position directly reports to the Principal Investigators (PI) and under the guidance of HHI’s Executive Director. The Project Coordinator will be encouraged to explore ways to improve the project and grant opportunities that could support the growth of this program.

Under the guidance of the PIs, the Research Coordinator will:

1.     Coordinate and execute a project management plan to track performance of deliverables against project timelines, grant deliverables, goals, budget, and objectives

2.     Assist with the development, coordination, and implementation of research and projects, making use of research methodologies, library research resources, statistical analysis, or other investigative techniques

3.     Collaborate with PIs on research techniques as they pertain to geospatial analysis and mixed methods analysis

4.     Contribute to evolving research on refugee health, climate and migration, disaster preparedness and response, health equity, and more.

5.     Engage in spatial data management, GIS analysis (including cluster analysis, time series analysis, geographically-weighted regression, spatial modeling), and data visualization

6.     Serve as contact person with program stakeholders, research collaborators, study research participants, and Institutional Review Board

7.     Contribute to grant proposals, reports, research papers, presentations, and peer-reviewed publications

8.     Be responsible for the communication and dissemination of program updates internally and externally

9.     Conduct administrative duties, paperwork related to hiring, invoicing, IRB processes, compliance documentation, and make significant contributions to donor reporting, and program monitoring and evaluation

10.  Collaborate with grant management and research administration at BWH and HSPH on pre- and post-award activities

11.  Oversee staff/consultant/student intern recruiting efforts, including the development of the job description, screening resumes, and interviewing applicants 

12.  The development of in-person and online educational curricula, workshops, and conferences

13.  Work closely with HHI’s core administrative team for overall program tasks such as finance, space, human resources, communications, etc.

14.  Provide support to consultants and student interns

15.  Organize team meetings (invites, scheduling, agendas, notes, etc.)

16.  Perform other duties as required   


 (MUST be realistic, neither overstated nor understated, and related to the essential functions of the job.)



1.     Bachelor’s degree in a related field including GIS, public health, international relations, or humanitarian studies; other areas will be considered.

2.     3+ years of related professional experience in research and program management.

3.     3+ years of related professional experience with geospatial technologies and spatial analytics  

4.     Experience with MS Word, Excel, Outlook, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, ArcGIS suite, and other open source GIS tools.

5.     Must be based in the United States



1.     Master’s degree preferred (GIS, geography, international relations, public health, health care administration, business, education administration, science; other areas will be considered)

2.     Familiarity with humanitarian aid, global health, international development, conflict prevention and peacebuilding.


SKILLS/ ABILITIES/ COMPETENCIES REQUIRED:  (MUST be realistic, neither overstated nor understated, and related to the essential functions of the job.)


1.     Ability to manage complex project management plans with competing priorities.

2.     Comfortable developing and executing geospatial methodologies and projects.

3.     High degree of analytic ability to manage the financial aspects of the position. Familiarity and experience coordinating with financial and procurement departments such as supply chain management, accounts payable, and grants management.

4.     Excellent written, verbal, and presentation communication skills.

5.     Very strong interpersonal skills with demonstrated confidence and exceptional ability to communicate and collaborate with multicultural stakeholders across time zones and geographic locations.

6.     Highly organized with outstanding planning skills, flexible but able to meet deadlines.

7.     Strong analytical, organizational, and time management skills.

8.     Ability to manage and coordinate team members, work harmoniously as a member of a team, adapt to diverse backgrounds and maintain a high standard of personal conduct. High degree of initiative, self-motivation, and ability to also work independently is required.

  1. Knowledge of and commitment to concepts and issues tied to social justice, gender sensitivity, diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as professional ethics.

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