Research Specialist (Education), P-3, Global Office of Research and Foresight (GORaF), Florence, Italy, #129038, Temporary Appointment, 364 days

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UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.

UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, answers

UNICEF Innocenti – Global Office of Research and Foresight, undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children and child rights. The office links research and global trends analyses to influence policies, programming, and advocacy, as well as innovations, and to drive future strategies and vision of the organization and the child rights agenda more broadly amongst governments, private sector, and other institutions.

UNICEF Innocenti uses foresight to set the agenda for children uncovering emerging trends and deepening understanding of key issues facing girls and boys and serving as a go-to office for advising UNICEF and a diversity of actors, including governments, the United Nations, private sector, civil society and children and young people themselves in the face of the continually changing global economy, political and security environment.

UNICEF Innocenti also strives to lead global discourse by creating an enabling environment and platform for children and young people along with global influencers and decision- makers to transform their contributions into future strategies, policies and actions of UNICEF and the world. Thereby positioning children and UNICEF at the centre of the global conversation through prominent external engagement, communication, and influence.

Additional information on working at UNICEF Innocenti can be found here

How can you make a difference? 

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

1. Research planning and coordination
2. Oversight of Research Designs, Methods, and Analysis
3. Technical Guidance and Capacity Building
4. Resource Mobilization, Knowledge Exchange, and Partnerships
5. Contribute to Innocenti GORaF operations and support the cross- cutting agenda

1. Research planning and coordination
 Plan, coordinate and implement DMS/SCALE research with Government counterparts,
implementing partners and other research’s potential beneficiaries.
 Manage and supervise researchers to deliver research in a timely and efficient manner, including through quality assurance of concept notes, proposals, and research deliverables.
 Supervise and provide technical guidance for the research field work in the participating countries.
 Participate in strategic programme discussions on embedding research within planning of education programmes with country offices, regional offices, and UNICEF HQ.
 Contribute to the overall research activities of the office and to support uptake of evidence by decision makers at country level.
 Participate in and/facilitate interdisciplinary research through involvement in selected cross functional teams and consultations, including Annual Reports and office seminars.

2. Oversight of Research Designs, Methods, and Analysis
 Provide oversight and overall guidance on the design and use of DMS/SCALE mixed methods robust research built into education systems, with Ministries of Education and UNICEF field offices.
 Review, quality assure and provide input to DMS/SCALE research methods and data collection tools ensuring their contextual fit, and their fit for the stage of implementation of the programme under study. Methods will include – quantitative research, qualitative research, implementation research, participatory action research, behavioral insights, mixed-methods experimental / quasi-experimental impact evaluations as well as scaling sciences.
 Lead on analysis and synthesis of DMS/SCALE evidence for education programmes with a particular focus on data use and uptake at middle-tier level (i.e., regional, district and/or circuit).

3. Technical Guidance and Capacity Building
 Working with regional and country office teams, support research for policy dialogue and capacity strengthening of Government and Implementing partners.
 Strengthen the capacity of Government counterparts and UNICEF country offices for the design and implementation of research, through the DMS/ SCALE learning-by-doing and
co-creation approaches.

4. Resource Mobilization, Knowledge Exchange, and Partnerships
 Maintain and strengthen donor networks through routine communications and reporting.
and ensure donor contributions are well managed, donor expectations are met, and donor reports are completed with high quality.
 Contribute to the dissemination and exchange of DMS research findings and related policy recommendations and best practices.
 Establish and maintain partnerships with networks of researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and donors to identify global / regional / country priorities and fundraising windows.
 Lead on the design and implementation of the DMS/SCALE strategy for the creation, curation, and publication of global public goods.

5. Contribute to Innocenti GORaF operations and support the cross- cutting agenda
 Help strengthen and support the use of DMS/SCALE research findings for policy dialogue, programme improvement and system strengthening.
 Provide guidance and quality assurance of research on education.
 Synthesize and organize materials and contribute to relevant sections of UNICEF Innocenti and partners websites.
 Prepare inputs and participate in relevant conferences, workshops, and meetings at global, regional, and country level.
 Contribute to the education units research strategy, planning, reporting and operations

If you would like to know more about this position, please review the complete Job Description here: Download File Research Specialist (Education) P3-TA #129038.pdf

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have:

Minimum requirements:

[Include the vacancy requirements aligned to the category and level of the position. You can see examples in the branded VA example.]

  • Education: An advanced university degree in one of the following fields is required: education, economics, social policy, or other social sciences.
  • Work Experience:


• A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional work experience in education research at national or international levels in education, with low/middle-income country level experience essential.
• Demonstrated experience and knowledge of some of the areas related to DMS/SCALE research: education management information systems/administrative education data; learning assessment; education sector analysis; education sector planning; school typologies.
• Demonstrated experience in management of complex projects.
• Demonstrated experience in fundraising and resource mobilization.
• Demonstrated ability to work well as part of a team and to forge and manage partnerships.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Commitment to UNICEF’s core values of care, respect, integrity, transparency, and accountability.
• Ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment.

  • Skills:

• Good understanding of the overall global development context, including issues such as: poverty, conflict, and the impact of these factors on education and vice-versa; and inter- sectoral approaches to address such issues in collaboration with other sectors (including Social Policy, Child Protection, Nutrition, WASH, Health, and Communications within UNICEF).
• Demonstrated knowledge of global developments in education and international engagement strategies, including the application of the equity lens and human rights perspectives to programming.
• Clear understanding of gender and inequity issues in relation to education and development and the application of gender / equity analysis to policy and planning in education.
• Strong demonstrated experience of designing, implementing, analyzing, and reporting on mixed-methods research, including utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research methods, implementation research, mixed-methods experimental and quasi- experimental research, and participatory action research methods, research related to behavioral insights, as well as scaling sciences.
• Experience in supporting policy dialogue: translation of analytical findings and evidence into development programme and policy discussions around equity and learning with partners, including government, development partners, CSOs and academia in relevant areas.
• Education sector planning knowledge/ability, including the range of modalities for delivering education, linkages between different sub-sectors (e.g., ECD, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Inclusive Education), cost-effectiveness and efficiency issues, key institutional structures, components, and processes, as well as governance issues.
• Experience in programme management in education, including programme design, costing, monitoring and evaluation and reporting.
• Experience in supporting engagement with partners e.g., Local education groups, Global Partnership for Education, Education in Emergency Clusters, Education Provider Forums, Delivering as One, Inter-sectoral partnerships such as in ECD, as well as networking with other key partners.

  • Language Requirements: Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, or Spanish) is an asset.


• Experience in behavioral and scaling science, and/or implementation research is an asset.
• Experience in quality assuring research publications, including report and policy briefs is an asset.
• Experience working in the UN or other international development organization is an asset. Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency.

For every Child, you demonstrate:

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are:

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships

(2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness

(3) Drive to achieve results for impact

(4) Innovates and embraces change

(5) Manages ambiguity and complexity

(6) Thinks and acts strategically

(7) Works collaboratively with others 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

We offer a wide range of measures to include a more diverse workforce, such as paid parental leave, time off for breastfeeding purposes, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). 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 is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. 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.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. 

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason. 

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Advertised: 25 Jun 2024 W. Europe Daylight Time
Deadline: 01 Jul 2024 W. Europe Daylight Time

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