International Rescue Committee (IRC) – Health Researcher.

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Requisition ID: req28410

Job Title: Health Researcher

Sector: Research & Development

Employment Category: Fixed Term

Employment Type: Full-Time

Open to Expatriates: No

Location: Nairobi, IHUB, Kenya

Job Description

This role is open to candidates in New York, USA or Nairobi, Kenya.

Job Overview:

Over the past 80 years, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has developed unparalleled expertise in responding to emergencies and helping uprooted communities to rebuild. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC’s mission is to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. The IRC is on the ground in more than 40 countries, providing emergency relief and rebuilding lives in the wake of disaster. Through 28 regional offices in cities across the United States, the IRC also helps refugees resettle in the US and become self-sufficient. The IRC is committed to a culture of bold leadership, innovation in all aspects of our work, creative partnerships and, most crucially, accountability to those we serve. The IRC is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable.

Research and Innovation Department

The IRC’s vision is to lead the humanitarian field by implementing high-impact, cost-effective programs for people affected by crisis and by using our learning and experience to shape policy and practice.

The Research and Innovation Department (Airbel Impact Lab) supports the various technical units across the IRC to conduct or backstop research studies and innovation projects, and also leads initiatives that provide resources for country programs to design and implement programs based on existing evidence.

Health Technical Unit

The Health Technical Unit is organized in four sectors; primary health, reproductive health, environmental health, and nutrition. The structure emphasizes a clear division of roles between staff focusing on comprehensive technical assistance to countries and staff providing specialized support and thought leadership.

Major Responsibilities

We seek candidates with strong epidemiological and statistical methodological expertise, with capacity to run field-based health implementation / operational research studies focused on maternal and newborn health in low-resource, conflict-affected contexts. An ideal candidate will have mixed methods experience with evidence of strong quantitative skills or experience in complex evaluations. It is expected that the researcher has the capacity to independently lead research projects (equivalent of assistant professorship or above). They will also be expected to cover research in sexual and reproductive health and rights, as opportunities arise. The researcher will support analyses, design survey tools and protocols; provide business development support for proposals; disseminate research and support in the development of research findings in articles and reports; lead data collection trainings; efficiently handle partnerships; and make sure to research standards and work independently on specific projects. They will also develop personal professional development plan including leadership and management skills; host and lead student interns or student researchers as part of academic team; lead work force planning for specific projects; trouble shoot problems with minimal oversight

We are specifically looking for someone who have strong methodological experience with:

  • Population-level / cross sectional surveys
  • Cohort studies

The candidate should therefore demonstrate competence in various relevant techniques such as survey design, sampling, data management, digital data collection, enumerator training, descriptive and inferential statistics, among others.

The work breakdown is expected as follows:

50%: Research and evaluation of community-based maternal and newborn care programs

The IRC leads the FCDO funded Ensuring Quality Access and Learning (EQUAL) for Mothers and Newborns in Conflict-Affected Contexts Research Consortium. The objective of this project is to produce rigorous, operationally relevant research and evidence to improve maternal and neonatal health in low-income, conflict-affected contexts. This project will produce evidence that is accessible to decision-makers influencing strategic investment, policy and programming to improve MNH, at the national and global level. The Researcher will be PI for co-leading two large implementation research studies within this project, in Somalia and in 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) + process evaluation.

30%: Other sexual and reproductive health research projects

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (broad of maternal and newborn health) is an organizational priority for research and innovation. We have ongoing research and innovation projects in maternal and newborn health, safe abortion care, and contraceptive access, and we expect the hire to lead or backstop new and ongoing research projects.

20%: Business development and thought leadership

The MNH Researcher will be expected to develop and submit proposals around IRC’s priority research questions in MNH, as well as in sexual and reproductive health and rights. They will also be expected to advance the MNH cause through internal and external representation of results from research conducted.

Key Working Relationships:

Position reports to: SRMNH Research and Innovation Lead (who is also the EQUAL Consortium Research Director)

Position indirectly reports to: N/A

Position directly supervises: N/A

Internal contacts: Regular contact with consortium staff, Research and Innovation department teams, and Health Technical Unit teams, and country program staff.

External contacts: Researchers from partner organizations in the consortium.

Job Requirements

  • Education: PhD with 4-6 years of experience or Master’s with at least 6-8 years experience conducting research
  • Work Experience: At least 5 years’ experience in public health, and at least two years in developing countries and relevant research. Experience leading a targeted portfolio of research.
  • Field Experience: At least two years of field research experience in humanitarian or low-resource settings, with demonstrated experience in leading their own research (e.g. Assistant/Associate Professor equivalent in experience)
  • Technical Expertise: Demonstrated technical expertise in conducting population-based quantitative research (with experience in qualitative research) and analyses. Expertise in epidemiologic and/or statistical methods. Preferred expertise in maternal and newborn health.
  • Collaboration: Able to work with remote, multi-cultural, and multi-disciplinary teams
  • Social Skills: Excellence in writing and presentation
  • Training Skills: Able to transfer technical knowledge and skills
  • Willingness to travel to fragile / conflict-affected contexts (currently expected study locations include Somalia and South Sudan).
  • Language Skills: English required, and French proficiency strongly preferred

Work Environment: Expected Travel 30% of the time.


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 carries out policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti Workplace Harassment, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation.

 US Benefits:
We offer a comprehensive and highly competitive set of benefits.  In the US, these include: 10 sick days, 10 US holidays, 20-25 paid time off days (depending on role and tenure), medical insurance starting at $145 per month, dental starting at $7 per month, and vision starting at $5 per month, FSA for healthcare, childcare, and commuter costs, a 403b retirement savings plans with up to 4.5% immediately vested matching contribution, plus a 3-7% base IRC contribution (3 year vesting), disability & life insurance, and an Employee Assistance Program which is available to our staff and their families to support counseling and care in times of crisis and mental health struggles. 

 COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires new hires to furnish proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be considered for any in-office or hybrid positions.  All IRC US offices require full vaccination to attend any in-office functions (e.g., meetings, trainings).

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusivity: IRC is committed to building a diverse organization and a climate of inclusivity.  We strongly encourage applications from candidates who can demonstrate that they can contribute to this goal. 

Equal Opportunity Employer: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. 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.




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