Research Advisor, DISC Project at Population Services International

We have been measurably improving the health of Kenyans since 1989. Our approach harnesses the vitality of the private sector to improve health outcomes for “Sara” – our archetype that focuses our interventions. We address the most serious health challenges affecting resource-poor and vulnerable communities in Kenya, including HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and family planning, and the greatest threats to children under five including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

Join us!

PSI seeks an innovative Research Advisor to provide technical leadership for high quality, relevant, and insightful analyses across an array of data workstreams in Uganda and Nigeria. This position is a key part of the Evidence and Learning team in the DISC project– a $18-million five-year self-care project made possible with the generous support of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). The DISC project is working with consumers, healthcare providers, governments and health systems in Nigeria and Uganda to catalyze voluntary self-injection of DMPA-SC contraceptives and promote additional forms of self-care. The investment aims to better understand the conditions under which consumers and providers will demand self-care interventions, and the feasibility of delivering high quality, cost-effective self-care services at scale.

As a flagship project of PSI, we are part of PSI’s organizational pursuit of universal health coverage through innovative and sustainable solutions that meet the actual health needs of people in low and middle income countries. We believe all people can and should have control of their sexuality, sexual health and fertility and that this is best achieved when people have greater voice, choice and agency over the processes and services that most affect them. Our mission is clear: every woman and girl – and every man and boy – should have access to the products, information and services they need to plan for the families, and lives, they desire. Access to quality-assured contraception and safe abortion where it is legal is part of that package.

Our evidence and learning objectives align with this. The DISC project emphasizes a rigorous relationship to evidence generation and use throughout its design and implementation phases, requiring innovation to enable safe and ethical research practices in the current COVID19 scenario. How can we know if we’re reaching – and satisfying – clients and consumers with quality care and products that meet their needs? How can we be sure we’re on the right track to meet our commitments both to innovation as well as sustainable health impact? How can we generate and use evidence to continuously refine our understanding of our clients’ complete user journey, from awareness through continuation and advocacy? How can we see their journey across the diverse points of service on which they rely, both public and private sector? How can we do all of this in a timely way, while ensuring rigor that responds to our technical community? How can we use our evidence to inspire, and achieve even more?

We’re looking for someone who reads these questions and feels a fire inside to get them answered. With activities evolving rapidly across Uganda and Nigeria, and at our hub locations in Kenya and the US, DISC seeks a Research Advisor who is a skilled quantitative researcher, eager to play a leading role as part of DISC’s Evidence & Learning team, and who is committed to supporting others to join them in this Evidence & Learning journey.

Experience with multi-country projects emphasizing evidence use for adaptation and learning; familiarity working across public and private sectors; sexual and reproductive health programs; design and execution of diverse research methods including client exit interviews, mystery clients, and pilot assessments of complex interventions, will all be parts of this position. We’re looking for someone who is eager to lead in taking all of this to the ‘next level’ as we learn how to advance self-care as a new, consumer-powered cornerstone of sexual and reproductive health care.

Sound like you? Read on.

Your contribution

As a key role in the DISC Evidence and Learning Team, you will work closely with country-level programmatic and M&E teams in Uganda and Nigeria to develop and optimize high quality, timely, and reliable research in line with the DISC project’s learning agenda, focusing on ensuring research is:

  • Feasible and in line with budget requirements
  • Responsive to key learning areas for the project—including emerging questions that arise in the course of implementation;
  • Well-understood by both the in-country program and Evidence & Learning staff

Acceptable to donors

This position will require close coordination and collaboration with the DISC core and country teams, as well as with PSI’s Senior Research Advisor, and the Strategy and Insights department. You will play a leading role within the DISC Evidence and Learning team to ensure DISC country research aligns with protocols and ethical guidelines, and effectively speak to DISC evidence objectives. Our ultimate focus is learn about what it takes to help self-care advance consumer-powered SRH care across private and public sectors. You will play a key role in helping us build this larger body of evidence and learning. Your specific contributions will include:

Lead on development and execution of DISC key research projects, in close collaboration with the project’s senior research advisors. This will include building out the design of quantitative and some mixed methods research studies. You will serve as Principal Investigator in many instances, develop protocols, ensure smooth coordination of activities, maintain activities within budget, and conduct timely analysis of data. These studies and activities include but are not limited to: o Quantitative willingness to pay study or discrete choice experiment for self-care services in the Uganda and Nigeria private and public sectors

Whole system’ assessment (pilot study) of the DISC complex intervention

  • Continuation research to ensure the project’s ability to routinely measure and track clients’ continuation journey from initiation of self-injection through sustained use
  • Client Exit Interviews o Mixed methods study of consumer journeys for self-care services in the Uganda and Nigeria private and public sectors
  • Lead quantitative research capacity building efforts and serve as a strong partner to country teams in the execution of research activities, including assisting with IRB applications, preparation of training materials, and study logistics management
  • Serve as a key member of DISC’s Design Learning Team to ensure design work effectively responds to and incorporates evidence in prototyping
  • Work in tandem with the project’s Monitoring and Data Analysis leads to support the development and the implementation of the M&E measurement system within the project’s EME framework
  • Work with DISC project team to identify research needs and gaps as they evolve over the course of project start up and implementation
  • Oversee progress of all research deliverables
  • Lead in development and submission of peer review journal manuscripts reflecting DISC research findings, synthesizing and packaging results, insights, and learning as relevant
  • Collaborate with PSI’s Senior Research Advisor and the Strategy and Insights department to synthesize DISC learnings with broader Strategic Evidence Agenda dissemination efforts
  • Represent PSI externally in relevant technical working groups within the broader SRH community of practice, build and identify strategic partnerships

What are we looking for?

The basics:

You have a master’s degree in public health, demography, epidemiology, or another related field, or equivalent experience

You have 5-7 years of demonstrated leadership in quantitative and mixed methods research projects

o Ideal candidates have familiarity with human centered design processes

Fluent in the use of Stata; familiarity with SurveyCTO or other ODK-based platform is highly desirable

Highly organized; ability to multi-task, meet tight deadlines, and keep teams on track

Experience in donor-funded organizations or projects, in the following areas:

o Project/research management;

o Technical sexual and reproductive health-related roles; and

o Market development

Demonstrable technical communications skills, both written and oral

Professional experience in Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, Uganda and/or similar contexts is desirable

Demonstrated understanding of the complexities of public health programming in challenging operating environments

You are a clear and consistent communicator, able to translate complex research information into technically accurate, understandable synthesis appropriate for a variety of stakeholders

The position location is flexible with potential for frequent travel (up to 25%). This position will require close coordination and collaboration with many people—good people skills are a must.

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