Research Associate

Sababi Institute

About us

Sababi is a research institute with the overarching goal to improve the quality of research conducted in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. We approach this goal from three main directions:

Delivering high-quality research and data collection services

We conduct research on behalf of both academics and international development organizations. Our work in the development sector includes quasi-experimental impact evaluations, highly contextual qualitative studies, and everything in between. Our more scholarly work is primarily social scientific. We bring years of experience conducting primary data collection in the region, a background in survey design, and a team of experienced local researchers to ensure we collect the highest-quality data possible.

Improving the availability of data

The context in which we work can best be described as “data scarce.” Most data collection is funded by NGOs and international organizations that do not publish raw data or even many of the reports based on that data. Our goal is to improve access to information of all kinds by making available research reports that are not currently published online; collecting and making public survey data that is of general interest; and developing new data sources – including access to administrative data – for use by researchers, policy makers, and practitioners.

Building local and international research capacity

We work with full-time local researchers to build their capacity to collect data, perform quality control, manage projects, and so forth. Through active collaboration with local researchers with topical expertise, we improve our own research quality while also investing in their development and capacity to contribute to our collective knowledge. In addition, we aim to build interest in working in the region among international researchers through collaboration, publishing descriptive research to motivate theorizing by specialists, and through academic outreach and engagement.

The role

We are hiring a Research Associate to contribute to Sababi’s growing portfolio of work. We welcome applicants with either full-time or part-time availability for a minimum of 1 year, with the possibility for extension. The position is remote with flexible working hours. The Research Associate may expect to travel internationally on an ad hoc basis (up to 10 weeks / year).
Initially, the Research Associate is expected to substantially contribute to ongoing projects, which may include both one-off and ongoing program evaluations of democratization, education, peacebuilding, or other development interventions; design and maintenance of knowledge management systems; and basic social science research.

Over time, the Research Associate should contribute to expanding the team’s portfolio through the identification of funding opportunities and potential collaborators, the design of research proposals, and the implementation of new projects. Our ideal candidate has deep knowledge of literature in their field but finds many research topics interesting. They can generate compelling research questions and design rigorous methods to address them. We are interested in researchers from a range of backgrounds who can apply their skills and knowledge to contribute to the breadth and quality of research in the Horn of Africa. This may include research in politics, economics, public health, public policy, psychology, or another social science discipline. Academic experience studying the

The Research Associate will also support the professional development of research assistants through hands-on training, ongoing feedback, and/or the development or provision of relevant learning materials. The Research Associate may manage one or more research assistants on a project-specific basis. Where primary data collection is required, the Research Associate will work with Sababi’s fieldwork teams and may manage enumerators and data collectors on a project-basis. The Research Associate will report to the Director of Research.

The leadership team will support the Research Associate to develop skills in areas they currently lack. This could include adjusting methodological knowledge to the context, designing surveys, implementing and managing large-scale fieldwork, analysis and reporting for the development sector, project management, or other applicable skills. This position would be especially suited for an early-career academic or Ph.D. candidate wanting to transition into the development or monitoring & evaluation sector, interested in a blend of policy-relevant, applied, and basic research, or seeking to expand their research agenda in new directions.

Below is a list of some of the general duties and responsibilities of the Research Associate, to be carried out as needed according to the determination of the Director of Research:

  • Identifying grant and funding opportunities aligned with the Research Associate’s and Sababi’s portfolio;
  • Developing research projects and proposals;
  • Contributing to research design, including data collection tools;
  • Overseeing primary data collection initiatives, managing teams, and contributing to data quality control;
  • Managing project budgets and payments;
  • Communicating with clients on project updates and deliverables;
  • Mentoring and supporting research assistants and other junior staff;
  • Producing high quality analytical research reports; and
  • Supporting the development and maintenance of knowledge management systems, such as literature databases and data repositories.

We are interested in applicants from a range of backgrounds and with a wide variety of skills. However, the following are critical to success:

  • A research-focused Master’s degree or Ph.D. coursework, completed Ph.D. preferred;
  • Attention to detail and advanced writing and presentation skills with experience leading academic publications or technical reports;
  • Ability to develop, apply, and adapt research methods to the Horn of Africa context;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the use of statistical software such as Stata or R; experience with data management and data cleaning; open to learning new statistical tools as required by different projects;
  • Ability to develop junior staff capacity in research and evaluation design and methods, project management, client relationships, research publication and business development;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to ensure effective communication with individuals at all levels and from diverse backgrounds; and
  • Strong foundation in Microsoft Office.

How to apply

Interested applicants should use this link to provide a CV, cover letter, and research-focused writing sample for consideration.

Short-listed applicants will be asked to provide a brief (1-3 pages) research statement outlining their previous and current projects, and potential future direction of their research.