Research Assistant

UNDP, Malaysia

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
3 Years
Closing Date for Applications: 
25th November, 2019

Job Description


In line with the 11th Malaysia Plan strategy to ensure geographical balance in regional growth to enhance inclusion for the bottom 40% (B40) income and other vulnerable groups, the Iskandar Malaysia Urban Observatory (IMUO) project is a 4-year collaboration between Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) in developing strategic and targeted outputs to support a larger, ongoing initiative to establish the IMUO at the subnational level.

This project contributes towards realising Iskandar Malaysia’s vision to become a sustainable, inclusive and smart regional corridor through evidence-based spatial planning and policy making. This project focuses on the development of the IMUO business plan through a robust process of stakeholder consultation and dialogue. The outputs from this project serve as building blocks to empower IRDA to better plan and implement subnational programmes that are more tailored to the needs of the B40 and vulnerable groups, with links to the SDGs, as well as guide IRDA in the operational establishment of the IMUO.

The IMUO functions lead to outcomes that closely ties back to the SDG agenda, of which Malaysia pledges to adopt. It serves as a facility where urban-related data can be comprehensively analysed and made meaningful for application in regional planning. An informed urban and regional development plan in turn can address poverty, improve health care services and quality of education, provide opportunities for decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequalities through strategic industry and infrastructure planning, development and management.

The key outcome of the Iskandar Malaysia Urban Observatory is to have an “effective policies and initiatives that promote socioeconomic inclusion, equity and resilience, especially for the bottom 40 per cent, are in place and implementation monitored”.

In this regard, UNDP Malaysia is looking for a Research Assistant to support the Partnership Consultant in building the co-ownership of IMUO including indicators localization and international benchmarking.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Research Assistant will report directly to and work under the guidance of the IMUO Project Manager. The day-to-day assignment of work will be guided by the Partnership Consultant for the project. He/She is responsible for background research, data collection and analysis, preparation and maintenance of knowledge products, and relevant support pertaining to the project, including all necessary project administrative requirements (e.g. logistical arrangements for workshops organised, preparation of invitation letters and follow-up, etc).

Scope of work

Summary of key functions:

Technical Support (60%): Perform background research and technical support to the project.

  • Conduct background research and/or supporting studies for the project;
  • Compile research materials in a systematic way and prepare background briefs/briefing notes as and when required;
  • Collect and analyse socio-economic and environmental data, and synthesize information;
  • Generate quantitative data charts/tables/graphs, and consolidate and update references list to policy briefs/papers/reports when required;
  • Provide research support to the project team / main consultant;
  • Analyse needs of stakeholders during consultations and provide insights to project team on potential entry-points where IMUO can provide value-added services;
  • Whenever required, liaise with research institutions, NGOs and think tanks to gather data/information and inputs for relevant and timely research to guide the delivery of outputs/report.

Knowledge Management (20%): Provide support to knowledge documentation, knowledge building and sharing

  • Synthesize and document lessons learnt and best practices;
  • Support the development of knowledge products;
  • Assist in preparing inputs to IMUO website and other relevant sharing / learning platforms.

Project Support (20%): Provide administrative and logistics support to project implementation.

  • Assist with the planning and organization of consultations/conference/seminar/workshop;
  • Prepare progress reports, meeting minutes, conference/seminar/workshop reports and maintain documentation and records;
  • Any other duties assigned by IMUO Project Manager, UNDP Programme Manager and Partnership Consultant that have direct relevance to the project.

Duration of work

The work will take place from November 2019 to June 2020 (8 months).

Duty Station

  • The Research Assistant will be based in IRDA Office at Danga Bay, Johor Bahru. However, it should be anticipated that some meetings will be held in KL in support of stakeholder engagement activities.
  • Please be informed that IRDA’s office in Johor follows a Sunday – Thursday work week, where weekends fall on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Contracts based on daily fee:

  • The fee will be paid on a monthly based on time sheet completed with description of tasks, certified by Supervisor. UNDP makes payments based on the actual number of days worked.


  • Demonstrates strong analytical skills;
  • Supports teams effectively and shows conflict resolution skills;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills, in English and Bahasa Malaysia;
  • Ability to work under pressure and time constraint, and produce quality deliverables;
  • Awareness and knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) would be an added advantage.

Required Skills and Experience

 Academic Qualifications and Years of Experience:

  • Bachelors’ degree and at least 3 years’ experience in social sciences, economics, international development, environmental management or other related fields;or
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience in of relevant experience (incl. academic research) in social sciences, economics, international development, environmental management or other related fields, in lieu of Bachelors’.


  • Experience in conducting research, analysis and generating reports;
  • Experience in collecting and analysing data, producing indicator and indicator proxies;
  • Experienced in rapporteuring and / or facilitating stakeholder consultations;
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) and advance knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages;
  • Experience in working with public or private research institutions or think tanks or local development actors;
  • Experience in project management or coordination would be an added advantage.


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