Sanergy – R&D Trial Associate, Kilifi.

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About Sanergy

Sanergy is an award-winning social venture based in Nairobi, Kenya. We undertake three exciting lines of work:

  • We provide safe, sustainable sanitation services to residents living in urban informal settlements of Nairobi and Kisumu using end-to-end non-sewered sanitation solutions. Watch here!
  • We implement a  circular economy model to sustainably manage sanitation and organic waste generated in cities. Using technologies developed in-house, we upcycle the waste into insect-based protein for animal feed, organic fertilizer, and biomass fuel. We operate the largest organics recycling plant in East Africa. Watch here!
  • We partner with cities to develop and deliver safe sanitation and waste management for urban residents. Using a systematic methodology, we match cities’ sanitation and waste management needs with technology and service delivery models, and then offer clear guidance on the steps that governments, funders, service providers and technology developers can take to develop and implement integrated service delivery systems. 

Operational since 2011, Sanergy serves over 140,000 urban residents with safe sanitation services every day. Sanergy collects and treats over 12,000T of waste per year, and successfully sells its agricultural end-products to farmers in over 20 counties in Kenya, who see improved yields and increased incomes. At the same time, we have built a team of over 400 employees from diverse backgrounds who solve diverse problems, but all embody the drive, creativity, teamwork, and passion that make us achieve our goals. For our work, we have been recognized by the Gates Foundation as one of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals accelerator; by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative companies in the world doing social good and one of the 10 best companies in Africa, and the Food Planet Prize for our innovative circular economy approach.

About the role:

Sanergy R&D forms a critical part of developing improvements to our processes and products. The Trial Associate is a technical hands-on role that leads the set up, execution and preliminary analysis of the investigations, tests and trials we conduct in order to develop new processes and products.

The R&D Trial Associate role is responsible for:

  1. Support in design, execution, and analysis of trials for project workstreams.
  2. Assist in troubleshooting process and product-related issues within the workstream.
  3. Ensuring challenges are identified with the R&D trial processes, suggest solutions and aid in implementing these improvements. 

Key duties and responsibilities:

Project management

  • Support an assigned project workstream
  • Lead the trial planning and execution for projects, including securing all resources required for trial success
  • Inputs to project timeline, budget and risk management plan
  • Coordinate cross-functionally  for the successful implementation of trial elements of project plan (for example, with Operations, Logistics and Design)
  • Support stakeholder management through stakeholder engagement, interviews, presentations and updates
  • Input to project learnings and evaluation documents
  • Inputs into near term planning Weekly Update Meeting with the R&D team
  • Create and maintain work planning for 2 week time horizon for all trials and activities requested by R&D teams in work area
  • Requests resources or support where project progress is slowing or roadblocked
  • Draft summary reports and findings for trials executed

Product and process development

  • Contributes ideas towards improving profitability and product quality in the assigned work area
  • Contribute towards development of new products and improvement of existing process

Execution of trials

  • Supports design of and leads execution and analysis of trials in technical workstreams
  • Ensures relevant stakeholders are involved in trials, including preparation, execution, wind-down and communication of results
  • Executes trial protocols, reviewed by the project lead
  • Coordinate trial execution, data collection, logistics, wind down and analysis
  • Ensures trial protocol is executed as per design, with issues escalated and resolved where possible
  • Completes data entry, data cleaning, observations, preliminary analysis and descriptive statistics and results for trials
  • Contributes to findings in post-mortems 
  • Input into pre-trial surveys as per the R&D ways of working to proactively identify risks and opportunities with respect to answering research questions
  • Use basic analytical and statistical (quantitative and qualitative) approaches to capture and process experimental data 

Systems and processes

  • Identifies and escalates issues in trial and R&D processes that reduce the quality of work and speed of execution
  • Inputs suggestions for improvement to R&D trial, planning and analysis systems

Quality support

  • Support RCAs focused on product issues in own work area

Operations support

  • Actively interact with the Operations team to identify issues in production early for mitigation 

Professional development

  • Initiate, attend and contribute to update discussions (with the project and team lead)
  • Initiate feedback discussions with team lead & stakeholders
  • Identify own professional development needs and seeks opportunities/executes agreed actions, including training, coaching, mentoring and workplace activities
  • Initiate development discussions with team lead and skip level management
  • Initiate and lead prioritization discussions

Team development

  • Share subject matter knowledge with R&D team members by taking part in brain-storming sessions as requested
  • Provides feedback to operators during execution of trials to improve trial success
  • Provides feedback to peers, manager and skip level management to improve overall R&D team performance
  • Participates in team activities



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