Consultancy for 3 Education Research Associates (UNICEF; Florence)

The UNICEF 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.

Objectives of the research associates

The Office aims to select 3 full-time consultants in order to strengthen its capacity to produce and use high- quality mixed-methods education research for supporting education system strengthening and policy dialogue at country level and addressing the learning crisis, in particular for the most vulnerable children. The consultants will support the smooth implementation of Innocenti-Education research projects such as‘Time to Teach’, ‘Data Must Speak’, ‘Let us Learn’ or others by i) reviewing and synthesizing existing evidence; ii) performing quantitative and qualitative research, including behavioral and scaling science and implementation research; iii) producing country studies and contributing to synthesis reports; and iv) contributing to new research proposals.

In order to achieve the objectives above, the consultants will perform the following activities:

  • A. Research and its use at country level (65%)
  • Support the implementation and expansion of the research portfolio on education and learning, including for the ‘Time to Teach’, ‘Data Must Speak’, ‘Let us Learn’ and/or other projects.
  • Develop and implement quantitative and qualitative methodologies for research -including but not limited to impact evaluation, positive deviant methodologies, behavioral and scaling science and implementation research- and ensure the use of their findings at country level
  • Contribute to the development of new research proposals on education systems and on learning at local level (in and outside the school)
  • Support research dissemination and use at country level and participate in networks of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the areas of education and learning.
  • B. Technical guidance and support (25%)
    • Strengthen the capacity of UNICEF field offices and Ministries of Education through co-creation research design and trainings in the areas of education and learning
    • Provide guidance and quality assurance on education and learning research design to UNICEF field offices and Ministries of Education, including leading or supporting data collection trainings at country level.
    • Support, collaborate in or coordinate education research initiated or requested by UNICEF Country and Regional Offices or HQ according to agreed organizational priorities.
  • C. Contribution to the Office of Research work programme and support to the cross-cutting research agenda (10%)
    • Contribute to the overall research activities of the Office and to the use of their findings by policy and decision makers at country level.
    • Participate in and/facilitate interdisciplinary research through involvement in selected cross functional teams and consultations, including Annual Results report and participation in office seminars
    • Act as UNICEF resource person in relevant conferences, workshops and meetings, including for dissemination of key research outcomes for effective use at country level


  • Advanced university degree in social policy, economics, education, statistics or related social sciences.
  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional work experience at national or international levels in design and implementation of rigorous research, with developing country level experience essential;
  • Demonstrated experience in both qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation designs and methods, including experimental and quasi-experimental methods;
  • Strong 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

Duration of the consultancy

The three consultants will work full-time over a period of 11.5 months (total of 230 working days, with a starting data in Quarter 1 of 2020)

Deadline for application: 5 January 2020 23:55:00 GMT+0100 (CET) 

For more information, see: