Senior Research Manager

Hackney, England, United Kingdom

Description

Development Media International (DMI) delivers mass media campaigns to promote health in developing countries. It is the first organisation to scientifically prove that mass media can change life-saving behaviours. It recently completed a 5-year, £7m randomised controlled trial in West Africa which showed that 35% more children (p<0.001) were taken for treatment for malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. Child mortality was reduced by 7.5% as a result. DMI is ranked as one of the most cost-effective non-profit organisations in the world by GiveWell.

We currently have operations in four countries (Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Tanzania and DR Congo) as well as projects coming on-stream in Malawi, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. We have two priorities: to continue to generate ground-breaking research (we are conducting another major scientific trial to measure our impact on contraceptive uptake) while taking proven strategies to the largest possible scale, saving as many lives as possible. We work across the range of health issues, including child survival, reproductive health, nutrition and hygiene and we’re developing some exciting new ideas, including early childhood development.

We work in close partnership with leading experts in health, including WHO, UNICEF, LSHTM and J-PAL at MIT, and we are funded by some of the world’s most prestigious organisations, including the Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, DFID, Comic Relief, the Global Innovation Fund and the Mulago Foundation. DMI is an innovative and rapidly growing organisation, working at the nexus between science and creativity. There are 14 staff in its London office, overlooking the Regents Canal. What makes us distinctive is our intellectual rigour, enthusiasm and willingness to learn from both our successes and our mistakes. We believe we are on the cutting edge of how international development should work, showing – for example - not only that knowledge is a human right, but that it’s also a very efficient way of saving lives. Our ethos is non-hierarchical: all our staff are intellectually high-powered and it’s a “best idea wins” culture. By working at DMI you will have a genuine, measurable impact on improving lives in low-income countries.

Job overview

Research is an essential component of DMI’s work and identity. Rigorous evaluation is essential if we are to convince funders, policymakers and the scientific community of the value of using mass media to shift behaviours on a large scale. We are therefore looking for an exceptional Senior Research Manager to join our London team. S/he will support our Director of Research Dr Joanna Murray, to design and supervise both the quantitative and qualitative research involved in all DMI projects. The successful candidate will collaborate with DMI’s evaluation partners from leading global academic institutions such as LSHTM and J-PAL. S/he will also be responsible for publishing articles on DMI’s past and present research.

We recognise that most applicants will not have both a quantitative and qualitative research background. Our priority is quantitative skills: academic and practical experience in the design, management and analysis of quantitative surveys. Applicants should have a research-focussed PhD in epidemiology, public health, health economics, economics, statistics, biomedical science or an equivalent field with quantitative skills.

Strong written skills are essential, as evidenced by a publication record in peer reviewed academic journals. Practical experience of using statistical analysis and database software is also necessary. Excellent communication skills in English are essential and additional languages are an advantage. The candidate will also be expected to demonstrate an aptitude for qualitative research, even if s/he is not formally or primarily qualified in this area. Work experience in developing countries is desirable but not essential. The successful applicant will be based in DMI’s London office but will be expected to travel several times per year.

The closing date for applications is Monday 17 April at 23.59 GMT. We anticipate that first round interviews will be held in the second week of May (in London, or on Skype for candidates based outside the UK), with second round interviews later in May. Shortlisted candidates will be notified by Friday 28 April and asked to complete a short test prior to interview.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the DMI open evenings at our London office on Wednesday 29 March or Tuesday 4 April at 6.30-7.30pm. The open evening will give candidates the opportunity to meet the Director of Research and CEO, and find out more about DMI / the role / the recruitment process. To register your interest, please email jobs@developmentmedia.net

Main duties

The Senior Research Manager will take a leading role in research activities at DMI and will be expected to make a substantial contribution to strategy and project design more generally within the organisation.

The specific responsibilities of this role include:

  1. Supervising research, monitoring and evaluation elements of new and existing projects.
  2. Designing, managing and analysing quantitative surveys to measure the impact of DMI projects. This will include developing and testing survey instruments, supervision of fieldwork, monitoring the quality of data collection, overseeing data checking and cleaning, and conducting statistical analysis of the data.
  3. Commissioning and supervising external agencies (generally based in the country where we are working) to carry out surveys. This will include the competitive selection of an agency, often using a tendering process. The Senior Research Manager will be responsible for supervising training and overseeing the selected agency, ensuring that their work is of the highest scientific standards.
  4. Developing new project ideas, including leading on writing research proposals and concept notes for innovative studies that can evaluate or refine DMI’s work or further push the boundaries of what is known about this field.
  5. Take a leading role in writing and publishing articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and wider scientific publications. DMI has significant experience and data that we want to publish and disseminate.
  6. Supervising qualitative research teams in each DMI country. Every month this team conducts formative research on a given subject (e.g. breastfeeding) which leads to the production of a “message brief”, which is then given to scriptwriters. Selected scripts are then pre-tested with focus groups around the country before final spots are selected. Qualitative feedback research is carried out to monitor whether people have heard and understood messages and are changing their behaviours. The Senior Research Manager will support the Director of Research to oversee these research processes and share research findings with DMI teams in country and the London office.
  7. Be proactive in keeping abreast of the latest research evidence, theories and concepts relevant to DMI’s campaign topics, to further increase the impact of DMI messages on behaviour change. These can be drawn from the epidemiological, public health, health economics, international development, advertising or marketing fields.
  8. Providing support to DMI’s senior management team in London and each DMI country. Liaising with LSHTM, J-PAL, IPA and/or any other academic collaborators and independent evaluators of DMI campaigns, on issues related to impact evaluation, including scientific, contractual and operational matters, and by responding to everyday requests for information and assistance with operational issues.
  9. Building the research capacity of colleagues and sub-contractors in the areas of formative research, monitoring, process evaluation, and impact evaluation, and providing hands-on research expertise to the DMI teams in London and each DMI country.
  10. Ensuring the application of lessons learned from past monitoring and evaluation activities in programme design and implementation.
  11. Leading on the writing of project evaluation reports and research updates for funders.
  12. Managing and developing DMI’s mathematical model for predicting the impact of mass media campaigns on health outcomes and estimating cost-effectiveness, and upgrading when appropriate.
  13. Assisting with the development and management of DMI’s internship programme. We have a regular influx of highly capable students (e.g. from LSHTM) who contribute to DMI’s research work.

Requirements

Candidates with a combination of academic and practical experience in designing, managing and implementing, research and evaluation activities are invited to apply.

Essential knowledge, skills and experience

  1. Very strong intellectual ability, as evidenced by a research-focussed PhD in epidemiology, public health, health economics, economics, statistics, biomedical sciences or an equivalent field. A relevant postgraduate degree plus a minimum of five years relevant research experience may be acceptable for exceptional candidates.
  2. Excellent writing skills, as proven both by a strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, and by an ability to communicate complex technical ideas to non-specialist audiences, both internally and externally.
  3. Ability to think independently, operate with limited supervision, and contribute to strategic discussions on research and DMI more broadly.
  4. Practical experience with and excellent working knowledge of database systems and statistical analysis programmes, such as Stata, SPSS, R or SAS, and strong general IT skills including questionnaire design, database development and working with complex spreadsheets.
  5. Practical experience of designing and managing monitoring and evaluating programmes, preferably with some experience in developing countries, and a good understanding of the monitoring and evaluation requirements of global funders. Experience of supervising data collection using PDAs/mobile phones/tablets.
  6. Practical experience, or willingness to learn, qualitative research techniques both to conduct formative research into knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, and the pre-testing of media outputs designed to change behaviours.
  7. An ability to independently analyse, translate and present data in a way that can be easily used by staff and partners.
  8. Good general knowledge of public health issues, particularly in a global context (candidates should be able to demonstrate at interview an ability to grasp the key issues related to DMI’s work).
  9. An ability to cope with, and understand, the pressures and difficulties of working in an international development context.
  10. Excellent verbal communication skills in English.
  11. A high capacity for work, the ability to be resilient and remain good-humoured under pressure, and excellent team-working skills.
  12. A willingness to learn new skills and approaches, and an ability to think creatively and flexibly.
  13. Permission to live and work in the UK.

Desirable knowledge, skills and experience

  1. Language ability in French or other major global language, both written and spoken.
  2. Experience of working in research overseas.

Benefits

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