Jobs – Officer – Data Science at United Nations UNDP

Job Title:   Officer – Data Science

Organization: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Duty Station: Kampala, Uganda

Post Level: SB4

Reports to:  Lab Manager

About UNDP:

Global Pulse is an innovation initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Big Data. Its vision is a future in which big data is harnessed safely and responsibly as a public good. Its mission is to accelerate discovery, development and scaled adoption of big data innovation for sustainable development and humanitarian action. Global Pulse is building a catalytic network of in-country innovation centers, which will test new tools, data and analysis, share what lessons with the global community, mainstream successful approaches for real-time impact monitoring into policymaking. The first Lab has been established in New York (Pulse Lab New York) followed by Jakarta, Indonesia and Kampala, Uganda.

Pulse Lab Kampala ( is an inter-agency initiative of the United Nations under the Office of the ResidentCoordinator in Uganda. The first of its kind in Africa, it brings together researchers from Government, the UN, non-governmental organizations and private sector to explore the utility of new sources of digital “Big Data” (such as social media, mobile data, online information) and real-time analysistechniques for social development monitoring and program planning.

A data revolution is underway in Uganda and in Africa. There is more data now than ever. New technologies are leading to an exponential increase in the volume and types of data available, creating unprecedented possibilities for informing and transforming society and protecting the environment. There is more data produced in the last 2 years than in all of human history. There is a tremendous potential in new technology; indeed, this is the forefront of the data revolution already well underway in in the private sector.  The new SDGs agenda will have increased demands – and opportunities- for the use of data. Pulse Lab Kampala supports the UN Country team to tap into the revolution obtaining more and better data to support development work and humanitarian action supporting:

  • Enhance Early Warning: Detection of anomalous trends and patterns of events enables early warning of emerging crises and earlier responses to prevent long-term harm;
  • Real-Time Awareness:  An up-to-date picture of trends, hotspots and dynamic changes in population behaviour enhances programme planning and monitoring of implementation and rapid
  • Impact Monitoring and Evaluation: Timely feedback on the impact of programmes and policies allows for adaptive course correction and accelerated achievement of results

Job Summary: The UNDP Officer, Data Science will be a part of a team that will focus on accessing and deriving insights from large data sets to solve problems. The incumbent will support the team in the acquisition, analysis and visualization of data from a variety of sources in order to i) help understand emerging human vulnerabilities to socio-economic shocks, ii) detect and highlight patterns that could indicate how people are coping with emerging hardship, and iii) gather evidence of changes in behaviour and perception correlated with public sector policies and programmes.

Key Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Technically support the definition, design and implementation of research projects harnessing Big Data to improve both understanding of population behavior, needs, and vulnerabilities as well as capacity to monitor and evaluate the impacts of development policies and programmes;
  • Perform data studies and data discovery around new data sources or new uses for existing data sources;
  • Significantly contribute to data studies and data discovery around new data sources or new uses for existing data sources;
  • Render support in developing new approaches to detecting events and trends within real-time data sources such as online media, social networks, imagery, geospatial data, communications logs, transaction records, etc.;
  • In charge of designing and implementing statistical data quality procedures around new data sources;
  • Implement any software required for accessing and handling data appropriately;
  • Visualize and report data findings creatively in a variety of formats;
  • Support the team in the development of working prototypes and applications for the Pulse Library that will be used by UN agencies and partners;
  • Produce interactive data visualizations and user interaction environments
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned by the Lab Manager.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience: 

  • The ideal candidate for the United Nations UN Officer-Data Science vacancy should preferably hold Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science, Electrical engineering, Mathematics, Statistics, or related field.
  • A minimum of two years of paid working experience in analysis and data visualization, preferably in a developing country;
  • Past exposure and experience in a branch of computational informatics (development, health, bio-, geo-, etc), using machine learning;
  • Familiarity with analytical techniques such as text mining, sentiment analysis, predictive analysis, event detection, and modeling of complex systems;
  • Familiarity with statistical programming and discrete mathematics;
  • Working knowledge of various programming languages, particularly as used for data analytics (Python, Matlab, R);
  • Prior exposure and experience with scripting, coding, and web design required for data access, analysis, and presentation;
  • Familiarity working with quantitative and qualitative data
  • Past UN experience desirable.
  • Language and IT Skills: Fluency in both written and spoken English. Knowledge of a language widely spoken in Uganda is required.

Personal Competencies:


  • Ability to plan and produce quality results to meet established goals;
  • Generates innovative, practical solutions to challenging situations.
  • Shows pride in work and in achievements;
  • Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter;
  • Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns;
  • Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges;
  • Remains calm in stressful situations.
  • Commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of work.


  • Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals;
  • Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise;
  • Is willing to learn from others;
  • Places team agenda before personal agenda;
    Supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position;
  • Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Planning and Organizing:

  • Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies;
  • Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required;
  • Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work;
  • Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning;
  • Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary;
  • Uses time efficiently.

Functional Competencies:

  • Ability to conceptualize, plan and execute innovative ideas;
  • Displays open, co-operative behavior with other team members;
  • Maintains strong relationships with partners and clients;
  • Remains calm and in control, and good humored even under pressure;
  • Responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view;
  • Sets priorities, produces quality outputs, meets deadlines and manages time efficiently;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

How to Apply for the job:

All suitably qualified and interested candidates who so desire to join the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, in the aforementioned capacity should endeavor to Apply Online by Clicking on the link below. Please further review job requirements and if competent Click Apply Now.

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