(Senior) Research Specialist (USAID Learns – Social Impact)


I. About Social Impact:

Social Impact (SI) is a global development management consulting firm. We provide monitoring, evaluation, strategic planning, and capacity-building services to advance development effectiveness. We work across all development sectors including democracy and governance, health and education, the environment, and economic growth. Since 1997 we have worked in over 100 countries for clients such as US government agencies, bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, foundations, and nonprofits.

II. Project Objective:

SI is implementing the USAID/Vietnam Learns Contract. The scope of the five-year project is to support USAID/Vietnam staff and partners to implement more efficient, effective, and transparent programs by 1) improving staff knowledge and skills in Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (MEL) and Collaborating, Learning & Adapting (CLA); (2) advancing evidence-informed decision-making; (3) strengthening strategic collaboration between staff and local stakeholders.

III. Position Description:

SI is seeking a full-time (Senior) Research Specialist (final title to be based on seniority level in line with SI’s professional development framework) to support the planning and implementation of studies, assessments, and performance evaluations conducted for USAID/Vietnam. This is an opportunity to influence how evidence is used by USAID, its partners, and local stakeholders to improve development programming in Vietnam. The (Senior) Research Specialist will also support ongoing learning efforts across the Mission. This position is full-time, based in Hanoi, Vietnam, and reports to the Research Director.

*Please note: This post is open for local candidates only.

IV. Responsibilities:

Manage, coordinate, and conduct studies, assessments, and evaluations requested by USAID/Vietnam:

  • Work closely with USAID and other stakeholders to scope new research efforts, ensuring that there is clear use for the research.
    • Develop/provide inputs for the research scope, budget, work plan and timeline.
  • Recruit consultant teams to conduct the research assignments.
  • Manage research workplans, timelines, and the consultant teams to ensure timely and quality deliverables.
    • Coordinate and manage master research tracker and budget tracker.
    • Monitor and manage consultant’s level of effort (LoE) and their deliverables.
    • Identify risks and risk mitigation strategies, and address challenges and obstacles in conducting research assignments.
    • Provide inputs for reports to USAID
  • Work closely with Learns staff to coordinate and manage travel, meetings, interviews and other data collection events when required.
  • Provide quality control for research deliverables, including:
    • Provide guidance, supervise, and review the development of research designs, data collection tools, data analysis, and report writing
    • Supervise report writing and contribute when necessary.
  • Work with SI Home Office to request technical support and to adhere to USAID’s and SI’s standards and requirements including Institutional Review Board approval.
  • Lead communications with and engage USAID, government partners, implementers, and stakeholders for collaborative inputs in the design, implementation, and utilizing research findings and recommendations and seeking feedback and approvals when required.
  • Set a good example and provide sufficient support, and take necessary actions to ensure high-quality work of consultants.
  • Other responsibilities as defined by the Research Director.

Support USAID and Stakeholder Learning and Use:

  • Promote learning and research utilization by planning and organizing after-action reviews and utilization-focused learning events for research assignments.
  • Strengthen relationships with USAID and local stakeholders to promote research utilization and foster willingness to engage in research activities over time.
  • Manage and continuously build research management systems, tracking evidence used by USAID and other stakeholders and reporting on Learns’ performance indicators.
  • Contribute to build USAID’s capacity to link research evidence to decision making, design, and adaptive management.
  • Make research results user-friendly and easily accessible through the development of learning briefs, knowledge management systems, events, etc.
  • Encourage ongoing learning and reflection in the implementation of research assignments.
  • Other responsibilities as defined by the Research Director.

V. Qualifications

  • A postgraduate degree in international development, economics, public policy environment or related fields.
  • Appropriately 6 years of relevant work experience in conducting and managing research assignments for the Specialist position and 8 years for the Senior level.
  • Technical skills and work experience ideally include:
    • Work in the field of monitoring and evaluation of development programs.
    • Experience coordinating and/or conducting research using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of research methodologies and their practical applications.
    • Familiarity with utilization-focused evaluation is a plus.
    • Familiarity with the USAID development programming strongly preferred.
  • Required coordination and management skills
    • Must have exceptional organizational, analytical, writing, and presentation skills.
    • Ability to organize, manage, prioritize, and follow through on multiple tasks in a fast-paced, deadline-oriented environment.
    • Proven capacity to take initiative and willingness to learn new skills as needed.
    • Demonstrated ability to manage high-level relationships with donor and partner organizations.
    • Excellent communication skills and ability to transform highly technical content into easy-to-understand deliverables for general audiences.
  • Demonstrated experience in helping clients or stakeholders use research to inform decision-making
  • Demonstrated experience in the development sector and commitment to local ownership and empowerment
  • Fluency in English required.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, particularly Word and Excel, is required.

The closing date for application: August 31, 2022. Selection and interviews will be performed constantly and interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

To apply, please merge both your CV and a cover letter (one-page briefly outlining your qualifications, and motivations for applying) into one pdf file and submit it through the online portal.

SI is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.

Only selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. Please, no phone calls.

Apply here

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