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QUALITATIVE RESEARCH FOCAL POINT

To join the OPERATIONAL RESEARCH TEAMS LuxOR and SAMU – Undetermined contract – Full time position

BACKGROUND

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation that provides assistance in more than 70 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliation. 

The Medical Department of the Operational Centre Brussels (OCB) is composed of polyvalent medical staff working in operational cells and experts working outside these cells. The experts cover the following domains: emergency medical support, epidemiology, health promotion/anthropology, HIV/AIDS, nursing care, infection control, antibiotic resistance (ABR), microbiology, laboratory, vector-borne diseases, medical data management, medical devises/logistics, mental health, nutrition, operational research (OR) and documentation, pharmacy, sexual/reproductive health, surgery/anaesthesia, tuberculosis, vaccination & environmental health.

Operational research and documentation are an integral part of the medical department activities. There are two relatively autonomous units supporting operational research. The LuxOR unit, which is based in Luxembourg and Brussels, with core activities including operational research capacity building and a focus on research linked to a non-HIV/TB related agenda. The second unit is the SAMU unit based in Cape Town, South Africa which focuses on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis.

The demand for qualitative and mixed-methods research within MSF has been growing in recent years, and there is a need to prioritise and ensure high-quality research is conducted across a variety of different contexts.  Qualitative research helps us to understand the communities in which we work, as well as how our projects are perceived.  Research needs come from a variety of different contexts, and include a range of issues affecting individuals and public health.

Improved understanding of factors such as the needs of beneficiaries and local populations, acceptability of MSF’s services and socio-cultural determinants influencing health-seeking behaviour can improve the outcomes of MSF projects. A better understanding of those communities’ perceptions is crucial. Furthermore, qualitative findings can nurture advocacy and contribute towards policy change.


FUNCTIONAL INTERACTION

  • The Coordinator of LuxOR is the overall medical department reference person in regard to guiding global policy and strategic aspects of operational research in OCB and provides overall guidance to team members. 
  • The Program Officer is responsible for team management, support to the epidemiologist pool and allocation of HR related to operational research. She is also responsible for linkage between LuxOR, Operations and the Medical Department in Brussels. 
  • The Qualitative Research Focal Point will have a close interaction with the LuxOR and SAMU team members, and especially with the Qualitative Research Mobile Implementation Officer (MIO), also a shared resource between LuxOR and SAMU. Continuous interaction with the field, operational cells and the medical department will be necessary to support operational research and documentation activities.  S/he reports to LuxOR Program Officer and SAMU Research Coordinator.
     

MAIN ACTIVITIES/RESPONSABILITIES 

The Qualitative Research Focal Point will

  • Support the medical department and the operations to define and prioritize qualitative and mixed-methods research in the OR agenda.
  • Develop further qualitative research capacity within MSF through tools, trainings, mentoring, coaching and supporting of other researchers in HQ and the field. 
  • Review/draft qualitative and mixed-methods operational research study protocols and provide technical and editorial support to comply with MSF and local Ethical Review Boards requirements.
  • Conduct fieldwork (interviews/focus groups/participant observation) and data analysis if required 
  • Disseminate research findings through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at conferences/workshops 
  • Support and mentor other researchers for abstract and presentation development for Scientific Days/OR days.
  • Provide editorial and manuscript writing support for publication, policy briefs, and other documentation (programme descriptions/advocacy pieces) according to an agreed platform of delegated responsibility between existing members of the Operational Research team.
     

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

  • Postgraduate degree in Anthropology, Sociology or a related social science.
  • (Alternative) Postgraduate degree in Anthropology/ Medical Anthropology, or Social Sciences with experience in health issues/medicine. 
  • Field experience with MSF or another NGO, including working in a humanitarian setting.
  • Experience as principal investigator in developing qualitative and mixed methods study designs and use of appropriate software packages (NVIVO and others). 
  • Extensive experience in protocol writing and use of qualitative research methodologies: focus group discussions, in-depth interviews and participation observation 
  • Familiarity with current literature debates in anthropology and sociology of medicine, humanitarianism and global health, migration health, social determinants of health.
  • Very high level of spoken and written English.
  • Spoken and written French is an asset.
  • Spoken and written Portuguese is an asset. 
  • Experience in developing quantitative study designs is an asset.
  • Strong scientific writing skills including evidence of publications in peer-reviewed journals.


SOFT SKILLS REQUIREMENTS 

  • A high degree of work autonomy, team interaction and diplomacy is required.
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people.
  • Ability to handle large volumes of work under pressure, tracking multiple projects or activities, and to deliver quality outputs within deadlines.
  • Proactivity and leadership capacity to drive operational research.
  • Flexibility for regular travel, possibly at short notice.


CONTRACT CONDITIONS AND BENEFITS 

  • Undetermined contract with probationary period - Full time 
  • Based in Brussels or Cape Town (depending on the candidate)
  • Salary according to MSF-OCB  headquarter or MSF South-African grid acc. to the location 
  • Medical insurance – Pension Plan  –transport allowance 
  • Contract start date: ASAP 


Application deadline: November 30th, 2019 


Candidate application must include a CV and a cover letter. 
Please apply through e-mail at the following address: catherine.jager@luxembourg.msf.org and precise the position reference when applying:  “Qualitative Research Focal Point”

If you require more information on the position you can contact:
the LuxOR Program Officer, Veerle Hermans: Veerle.hermans@luxembourg.msf.org and/or 
SAMU Research Coordinator Petros Isaakidis: Petros.Isaakidis@joburg.msf.org

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