Education Research Specialist

UN Children's Fund, Italy

Skill Required:, Education Management
Preferred Experience: 
5 years
Closing Date for Applications: 
21st December, 2019

Job Description

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

For every child, SPORT

Job organizational context

The 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 and its 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 global debates.

Every Child has the right to learn. However, the gap between what education systems are providing in terms of learning achievements, and what children, communities and economies need, is growing. The breadth and depth of this learning crisis provides the greatest global challenge to preparing children and adolescents for life, work and active citizenship. UNICEF vision for education is that ‘every child learns’, articulated in the 2019-2030 Education Strategy across three inter-related goals: (i) equitable access to learning opportunities; (ii) improved learning and skills for all; (iii) improved learning and protection for children in emergencies and transitions. The generation and use of research and robust evidence are key for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Education Strategy and the UNICEF Strategic Plan for 2018-2021 as reflected in the Priorities for research and data in support of UNICEF’s Strategic Plan – Using the power of evidence to drive change for children.

Sport for development (S4D) refers to the use of sport, or any a form of physical activity, to provide both children and adults with the opportunity to achieve their full potential through initiatives that promote personal and social development. The international evidence-base on child-focused S4D supports the important role sport can play in improving the lives of children around the world, especially the most marginalised, regarding education, social inclusion, child protection and empowerment. However, there are still significant evidence gaps on how S4D programmes and stakeholders across different policy domains can help further support short-term outcomes and longer-term objectives, such as the achievements of defence of the rights of the child and child-focused SDGs.

In 2006, Barcelona Football Club (FC Barcelona) and the Barça Foundation signed a pioneering partnership with UNICEF. The partners’ focus is to improve children’s lives through sport, play and protection. In 2018, in collaboration with the Barca Foundation, UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti launched a research project that aims to understand and build the global evidence base for advocacy, policy and practice on the use of sport in fulfilling children’s development and overall well-being through S4D programmes.

Purpose of the post

The Office aims to strengthen its capacity to deliver the production and use of high-quality research about child-focused S4D programmes. The post holder will coordinate the design and implementation of the S4D research portfolio. The post-holder will work with S4D partners (Barça Foundation and others), colleagues in the Office of Research-Innocenti, Headquarters, Regional and Country offices to build on the existing research and to develop new ones. The role will also involve fostering the development of new partnerships and mobilizing resources for the generation of research and data on S4D and their utilization by decision and policy makers at country level.

The position will report to the Chief, Education Research, Office of Research-Innocenti, Florence Italy

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will work on the following key functions, duties and tasks:

Design, management and resource mobilization for research on S4D

  • Plan, implement and coordinate research on the mapping, implementation modalities, effectiveness and efficiency of child-focused S4D programmes.
  • Develop proposals and mobilize resources to support S4D research and its use; maintain and strengthen donor networks through routine communications and reporting; support the monitoring of the portfolio of S4D research
  • Manage consultants to deliver research in a timely and efficient manner, including through quality assurance of concept notes, research proposals and deliverables.

Partnerships and knowledge exchange on S4D

  • Establish and maintain partnerships and participate in networks of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in the areas of S4D.
  • Serve in advisory groups for S4D research, and contribute to peer review in appropriate situations
  • Prepare inputs and participate in relevant conferences, workshops and meetings, including through effective dissemination of key research outcomes for effective use at country level

Technical guidance and support to UNICEF Headquarters, Regional and Country Offices and Governments

  • Provide guidance and quality assurance on S4D research design to UNICEF field offices and Governments
  • Strengthen the capacity of UNICEF field offices and Government counterparts for co-creation design of research and evaluation in the area of S4D
  • Strengthen and support the use of S4D research and evaluation findings for policy dialogue and capacity strengthening of Government and Implementing partners at country level.

Contribution to the Office of Research-Innocenti work programme and support to the cross-cutting research agenda

  • 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
  • Develop joint proposals and contribute to fundraising for research and evidence.
  • Act as a resource person for key UNICEF meetings and advocacy activities as requested by the manager.

Education and Experience requirements:

  • Advanced university degree in social policy, education or other social sciences.
  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional work experience at national or international levels in the area of education research, with developing country level experience essential; Experience in S4D research an asset
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising and resource mobilization;
  • Demonstrated ability to work well as part of a team and to forge and manage partnerships;
  • Demonstrated experience in both quantitative and qualitative research projects, methods and analysis;
  • 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. Experience working in the UN or other international development organization an asset.

Language Requirements: Fluency in English required; Fluency in Spanish desirable


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