Associate Director of Research, Maternal & Newborn Health – Kenya

The IRC’s Airbel Impact Lab designs, tests, and scales life-changing, cost-effective solutions for people affected by conflict and disaster. By applying the IRC’s deep technical expertise and field experience with a range of skills from the behavioral sciences, human-centered design, rigorous research, and multi-disciplinary problem-solving in humanitarian contexts, we work to develop breakthrough solutions that combine creativity and rigor, openness and expertise, and a desire to think afresh with the experience of a large-scale implementing organization.

Job Overview:

In today’s reality, where hundreds of people are impacted by disaster and conflict, there is an urgent need to invest in uninterrupted, life-saving sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Airbel Impact Lab is helping to lead the global humanitarian community in rethinking how we can reach more women and girls with simple, cost-effective, proven solutions. To generate these solutions, we are focused on three core pillars: 1) Developing self-care models that increase safe abortion choices and contraceptive options; 2) Strengthening community health systems for delivery of essential maternal and newborn care; and 3) Advocating for supportive changes in national and global policy.

The IRC is seeking an experienced senior researcher to lead field-based implementation and operational research studies in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in low-resource contexts. Specific expertise in Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) in conflict-affected areas is strongly preferred. The Associate Director of Research, Maternal & Newborn Health will lead field-based research on MNH programs, play an active role in increasing the visibility of MNH in humanitarian settings, drive business development and proposal submissions, and build partnerships to impact MNH in high-mortality contexts. They will also be expected to support research around contraceptive and abortion access, as opportunities arise.

We seek individuals who have a growing degree of external recognition as an expert in this field, and should have qualifications that resemble those in an Associate Professor/Scientist-level position. For those who are looking for an Assistant Professor/Scientist-level position, please refer to a separate job posting titled “Researcher, Maternal and Newborn Health” [NW1]

We welcome quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method researchers to apply, but we especially welcome those with methodological experience in population-level surveys and/or large-scale program evaluation.

Major Responsibilities

  • Co-lead two large implementation research studies in Somalia and South Sudan that evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based maternal and newborn care program, using a prospective cohort study design (with pre-post survey) and process evaluation.
  • Lead the design and implementation of new MNH research projects in collaboration with technical advisors, field teams, and research partners.
  • Proactively develop and manage partnerships and business development opportunities to carry out IRC’s research agenda.
  • Work closely with Director, SRHR/MNH Research & Innovation, to engage in work force planning for research studies; lead a successful and impactful research team, and ensure implementation of professional development plans for team members.
  • Present and publish research findings in academic journals and practitioner-focused outlets, including high impact journals and media pieces.
  • Share research and ensure use of evidence across the organization in the MNH technical area.

Job Requirements

  • PhD with 6-10 years of experience or Masters with at least 8+ years experience conducting and leading research.
  • At least 5 years’ experience in public health, with at least two years’ experience conducting relevant research in developing countries.
  • At least two years of field research experience in humanitarian or low-resource settings, with demonstrated experience in leading their own research.
  • Demonstrated technical expertise in leading complex field-based health research studies in low-resource contexts. Preferred experience in or familiarity with maternal and newborn health and in conflict-affected contexts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Able to work with remote, multi-cultural, and multi-disciplinary teams
  • Excellent communication skills, particularly in writing and presentation.
  • Ability to train others and transfer technical knowledge and skills.
  • Willingness to travel to fragile/conflict-affected contexts.
  • Language Skills: English required, and French proficiency preferred

Work Environment: Expected travel 30% of the time.

The IRC is an equal opportunity employer and we value diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

The IRC and IRC workers must adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, and Accountability. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates and enforces policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

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