Senior Research Specialist

UNDP - United Nations Development Programme, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Skill Required:, Research and Analysis
Preferred Experience: 
7 to 10 Year
Closing Date for Applications: 
13th September, 2018

Job Description


For some years now, the ministerial functions of Finance, Development and Economic Planning were merged. The rationale for the decision at the time was to “prevent overlap, duplicity, lack of coordination, and wastage in capital spending and current expenditure budgeting processes”. This decision was not unique to Sierra Leone. It was part of the wave across most countries in Africa, which began in early 2000, to advance coherent and efficient governance. While these arguments are compelling, the feasibility of the merger proved difficult throughout the ten years (two-terms) of the former administration—as was the case in many other countries. Planning and economic development functions were relegated to a second-tier role below fiscal and financial management.

Consequently, the new Government has reverted to the old model of two separate ministries—Ministry of Finance (MoF) and Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED). This separation of ministries has also seen the transfer of M&E functions to MoPED as well as the Co-Chairmanship of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-building (IDPS) and the Chairmanship of the g7+.

Just as managing the integration of the two ministries was functionally difficult, the separation will also need to be carefully managed to achieve the desire results. Meanwhile, the President has instructed the new Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) to lead the preparation of the next national development strategy, and its accompanied M&E and costing plans by end of November 2018. Also lead in economic and development research for the transformation of the country.

The Minister of Planning and Economic Development has therefore requested UNDP to, in coordination with other Development Partners, support the Minister to among others: a) establish a world class planning and economic development ministry guided by the core principles of the Government’s New Direction governance model – leadership, integrity, efficiency, professionalism, and delivery; b) support the Minister to provide oversight leadership during the design of the next national development strategy; and c) support the design and rollout of a robust development coordination structure informed by the core principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and globally agreed development coordination frameworks and d) support the Minister in her new role as Co-Chair of the IDPS and Chair of the g7+.

UNDP is therefore seeking to hire a National Senior Research Specialist, who will provide flexible and targeted support to the Minister of Planning and Economic Development with focus on undertaking research and providing strategic advisory services to the Ministry. The Senior Research Specialist will work directly with the Minister.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the direct supervision of the Minister, the Senior Research Specialist will be expected to deliver on the following scope of work:

  • Play lead role on the conduct of all Development Planning and Policy Research as well as Poverty Analysis on for the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development in the design and development of National Development Plans.
  • Responsible for SMART Information gathering, analysis and management, to fully understand the external environment for development trends, investment, stakes and rules with a view to enhancing Economic Intelligence of the Country.
  • Responsible for commissioning of studies: preparation of Terms of References for Consultants, supervise consultants to undertake quality relevant assignments, and ensure the higher quality of research.
  • Play lead role in the development of Research Strategy for the Ministry that reflects all ethical standards set under national and international research guidelines and instruments.
  • Prepare periodical research reports/digest for utilization by the Ministry, other MDAs, Local Councils, Development Partners and the general public.
  • Responsible for finalizing and compiling of research and study reports for submission to donors as well as for publication.
  • Organize the dissemination of research information through institutional/public presentations.
  • Monitor and evaluate usage of knowledge generated by the research unit in development planning by MDAs and local councils;
  • Work in close collaboration with Economic Policy and Research Unit (EPRU) of MoF in Macro-Fiscal modelling exercises;
  • Participate in EPRU/MoF led annual economic survey;
  • Together with the Directorate of Monitoring and Evaluation in MoPED, working closely with EPRU/MoF and Statistics Sierra Leone to conduct periodic poverty and social impact analysis of sectorial policies and related evaluation exercises;
  • Work closely with EPRU/MoF, M&E Directorate and Statistics Sierra Leone in the preparation of Annual Progress Report on the implementation of the National Development Plan-a benchmark for direct budget support;

Work closely with the Budget Bureau in the MoF in providing broad policy and strategic guidance in the preparation of the National Budget, ensuring that the budget is well aligned to the National Development Plan.

Building capacity of relevant staff of the MoPED.

Impact of the Results

The technical competency of MOPED improved and the core principles of the Government’s New Direction governance model - leadership, integrity, efficiency, professionalism, and delivery achieved by the Ministry.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism

Functional Competencies:

  • Leadership: Capacity to lead and supervise a multidisciplinary high-level team at the Ministry of Planning & Economic Development.
  • Research: have sound working experience in research into poverty, inequality, human development and other related socio-economic analysis in the context of transformation of a fragile state into a sustaining economy for all.
  • Technical Support: Displays analytical judgment and demonstrated ability to handle confidential and politically sensitive issues in a responsible and mature manner.
  • Planning and Management: Demonstrate knowledge in the field of development planning and institutional functioning in a fragile state context.
  • Communication: S/he must have excellent written and oral fluency in English.
  • Teamwork: Ability to establish and maintain good working relations with colleagues in multi-cultural environment.

Required Skills and Experience


At least Master’s degree in Economics, Development Economics, Development Study, Statistics, and any other related field.


At least 7 years of proven professional experience in socio-economic research.

  • Experience in functional analysis and effectiveness of a ministry of planning and economic development, finance or other related economic governance and planning institutions is an advantage
  • Extensive experience in research into socioeconomic, planning and economic governance, including key government operations from national to local levels;
  • Strong leadership and management skills and ability to interact and negotiate at senior management level;
  • Strong presentation skills and ability to manage diverse teams and build partnerships; and
  • Extensive experience in capacity development through coaching, mentoring, and training.

Language Requirements

Excellent written and oral communication skills in English; ability to explain complex technical concepts to a non-technical audience.


Recommend your friend

Copyrights 2017. All rights reserved | Technology Partner: Indev Consultancy Pvt. Ltd