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OCB Operational Research Coordinator

CDI à temps plein, offre en anglais

MSF-Luxembourg - LuxOR

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid in more than 70 countries to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

The association MSF-Luxembourg is one of the 21 sections of the movement MSF. MSF-Luxembourg provides resources (financial and volunteers), as well as Operational Research (OR) to support the missions of MSF and informs the authorities and population about the humanitarian challenges by témoignages. The section develops international initiatives and projects as requested by the Movement and/or OCB (Operational Centre Brussels). 

LuxOR (Luxembourg Operational Research Unit) is under the umbrella of the MSF-Luxembourg section and is part of the Medical Department of OCB. LuxOR coordinates and conducts research projects in close collaboration with field teams and international partners. LuxOR provides support for developing research protocols, routine data collection and analysis, publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and evidence informed decision making. Its goal is to improve healthcare delivery and policy by dissemination of research results. LuxOR is also engaged in operational research training in order to inspire and teach others to do OR within and outside of MSF.

The Medical Department framework

We strive to provide the best support and to explore new ways to help our frontline workers, around the world, offer high-quality healthcare to their patients and to beneficiaries from today and tomorrow. We monitor the emergence of healthcare needs and we analyse the impact and relevancy of new preventive, diagnostic and curative means to inform and influence our operations.”

The medical department is based in Brussels with decentralized units or positions: 
-    in Cape Town, the Southern African Medical Unit (SAMU), 
-    in Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR), 
-    in Beirut, Rome and Rio. 

The department is composed of members working in the operations department in a dual-matrix system (deputy cell coordinators & medical officers) and experts working in the medical department itself. The experts cover the following domains: anaesthesia & intensive care, antibiotic resistance, capacity building & mentoring for healthcare professionals, change management, chronic non-communicable diseases, data protection & data sharing, emergency medicine & toxicology, emergency preparedness, environmental health, epidemiology, general surgery & orthopaedics, health promotion & anthropology, hepatitis C, HIV, infection prevention & control, infectious diseases, knowledge management, laboratory, malaria & vector-borne diseases, medical data & health informatics, medical devices, mental health, microbiology, nursing care, nutrition, operational research and documentation, paediatrics & adolescents health, pharmacy, primary healthcare, public health, sexual & reproductive health, tuberculosis, vaccination, victims of torture and viral haemorrhagic fever & emerging infectious diseases.

The department is organized in resources deployed in thematic circles and managed through a coordination circle lead by the medical director and the deputy medical director. 

The OCB OR coordinator is a member of the coordination circle. S/he supports the medical director. S/he coordinates the OR policy & agenda, the identification of research priorities and monitors the quality process of research in OCB. This coordination is done in close collaboration with the SAMU OR coordinator, the BRAMU director, and the medical department strategic advisor (for OR done outside a particular unit and for the relationship with the ethical review board).

There are three units offering OR support:
- LuxOR, based in Luxembourg, focuses on health systems and disease specific including OR training and capacity building
- SAMU based in South Africa focusing mainly on HIV/TB/Hepatitis C and 
- BRAMU based in Brazil, with links to the operational centres of Barcelona and Brussels, focusing on youth and adolescent health, social sciences & medical anthropology and infectious diseases.

Position Background

The OR coordinator is an OCB medical department position that has been decentralized to MSF-Luxembourg. S/he is also the director of LuxOR, and as such is a member of the Management Team of MSF-Luxembourg and works closely with the General Director on a strategic level. 

The post requires regular scheduled trips to Brussels to ensure coordination and anchoring of the OR portfolio within the medical department and the operations department. As mentioned above, the OR coordinator now plays a vital role in ensuring the coordination, the relevancy, the synchronisation and the quality of operational research activities for OCB. The upcoming general regulation of data protection by the European Union (GDPR) puts an emphasis on this topic for operational research on patient data protection and on data sharing. The OCB OR coordinator will promote high ethical standards as well as high data protection & sharing standards according to the intersection health data protection policy.

The position is planned to be supported by a Deputy OR coordinator.

Functional interactions (OCB / MSF-Luxembourg / Missions)

OCB Medical Department

The OCB OR coordinator

  • is the overall medical department referent with regard to defining the global policy, the agenda and the strategy for OR
  • is contributing to the development & improvement of routine and OR specific data collection, management and analysis.
  • provides impetus and practical suggestions on how to advance in building a portfolio of research answering questions about operational challenges of MSF, OCB in particular and about health provision in humanitarian crisis in general.
  • interacts with operations on a regular basis and during the annual action planning exercise and/or the prospects definition (medical and operational) to support, adjust and adapt the OR agenda.
  • The line manager for all medical & operational research issues is the OCB Medical Director


The OCB OR coordinator

  • is a member of the MSF-Luxembourg management team, as LuxOR director
  • manages the role of LuxOR within the section and ensure the provision of support by the other departments
  • provides the necessary support to MSF-Luxembourg for communication and fundraising activities
  • The line manager for the MSF-Luxembourg section issues is the MSF-Lux GD

OCB Medical Department & MSF-Luxembourg

The OCB OR coordinator

  • organises the global strategic orientation and coordination between the different sectors and individuals working within a dynamic and diverse portfolio of OR and related medical data collection/analysis needed for the research.
  • Manages and supports the human resources of LuxOR in Brussels (through the Program Officer) and in Luxembourg.
  • supports the on-the-job training and capacity building of new human resources in LuxOR, medical department and operations so that a critical mass of OR competencies are available at all levels.
  • Coordinates the capacity building activities (SORT-IT).
  • The line managers for all resources (human & budget), strategic role and positioning of LuxOR are both the OCB Medical Director and the MSF-Luxembourg General Director


1. Specific tasks related to the OR coordination and role within the Medical Department

  • be the overall medical department coordinator with regard to guiding global policy and strategic aspects of OR and contribute to the development & improvement to routine and research specific data collection, management and analysis, including data protection & sharing in OCB and organise the global strategic orientation and coordination between the different OR units and/or activities
  • provide impetus and practical suggestions on how to advance in building a portfolio of research answering questions about operational challenges of MSF, OCB in particular and about health provision in humanitarian crisis in general.
  • coordinate the yearly/multi yearly OR and documentation agenda along with the team members/OR units and ensure that it is anchored within the yearly/multi yearly plan(s) of OCB departments.    
  • coordinate the continued development of the OCB OR policy, frameworks and the guiding policy document. 
  • identify possible gap areas in OR and related medical data and find ways forward in covering these gaps. 
  • support the on-the-job training and capacity building of OR teams and more globally of the medical department and operations.
  • liaise and assure good interaction between OR team members and members of the medical department and operations (including missions and projects) in the OCB and beyond. 
  • would interact (through meetings and/or appropriate means) on a regular basis (or when deemed necessary) with  thematic circle coordinators, members of the coordination circle, OR units coordinator and the OR Program Officer. 
  • Coordinate and conduct a number of support field visits of team members /year to projects to boost “innovation” and refection on relevant medical data analysis and OR.
  • Coordinate activities and delegate responsibility linked to information sharing, dissemination and communication of OR activities in the OCB  (MSF-Website, Publications booklets, operational research days, newsletters) and beyond (through scientific conferences and other forums); in particular, coordinate, support and delegate support to preparations of abstracts, presentations and selections for OR-day in Brussels and Scientific conferences MSF satellites and advocacy symposiums and elsewhere.
  • Coordinate the quality of the OR protocols development, editorial support, ethics clearance, and manuscript writing and facilitate ethics reviews and issue ethics exemptions under the guidance and delegated responsibility of the MSF Ethics Review Board. 
  • Enhance reflection and support development of medical data systems and their implementation in missions. Along with team members ensure the continued follow up and supervision of medical data linked to specific OR studies.
  • Coordinate activities and timely completion of the yearly documents “medical activity report” and the “medical data bulletin”. 
  • Along with the programs officer, ensure yearly evaluations and regular feedback on work performance of staff members (with direct involvement of MSF-Luxembourg GD).
  • Along with the program officer, where possible, link up with other MSF sections and international partners to boost synergies and collaboration on operational research (with direct involvement of MSF-Luxembourg GD).

2. Specific tasks linked to LuxOR Director (MT member and GD advisor)

  • play a key role in providing strategic advice on medical and operational issues to the DG of MSF-Luxembourg and particularly how to advance the “Mission statement” on OR, linking the medical department and the Luxembourg executive structure to ensure overall cohesion between the two bodies.
  • be a member of the Management Team of MSF-Luxembourg to support the section in taking decisions and specifically to assure the leading role of LuxOR within the section and the support role to be provided by various departments to LuxOR; including hold regular meetings at MSF-Luxembourg with the OR Program Officer and other departments of the section (Fundraising, Communication, Support & Resources, General Direction) as needed
  • Be directly involved with the structural and functional development of OR in the OCB and MSF-Luxembourg in terms of package of activities, functional modalities and resources needed.
  • will maintain regular contact with the Program officer (based in Brussels) and decentralised members of the OR teams through scheduled meetings or Skype contact/video conference depending on the location of the person(s) and give particular attention to set out a platform of delegated responsibility between team members to allow optimal sharing of workload.

3. OR capacity building and training activities

  • Coordinate SORT IT training courses and ensure its continued support by MSF-Luxembourg and its network of partners and Alumni. Use SORT IT to teach the practical skills of conducting and publishing research and enhancing evidence-informed decision making.  Use the well developed and accredited SORT IT capacity building model to expand operational research capacity in virgin areas of operations. Also guide its implementation and adaptation to englobe new theatrics areas and study designs. 
  • Write reports linked to dedicated operational research funding for capacity building in operational research.
  • Boost useful external collaborative partnerships with institutions that are involved with innovation, operational research and medical data in low and middle income countries and that are of social benefit to MSF.
  • Create linkages and use the existing external and internal networks to progressively make MSF-Luxembourg recognized as a hub for OR training and capacity building in MSF.
  • Support the on-the-job training and capacity building of operational research human resources in LuxOR, the medical department and operations so that a critical mass of competent operational research staff is available and recognized as being of added value to MSF. 
  • Help with identifying operational research Alumni that may be needed for adhoc operational research work or field support

Candidate profile

Qualifications and experience 

  • Medical doctor
  • Tropical/Humanitarian Medicine and/or Public Health
  • Epidemiology/Medical Statistics
  • Field experience with MSF, preferably at coordination level
  • Academic background is an asset  
  • Practical experience in study design and use of statistical software packages (EpiInfo, STATA or similar).
  • Very high level of English scientific writing skills and ability to write and use the editorial pen on manuscripts for publication and other descriptive documentation 
  • Knowledge of MSF political and international environment and internal functioning is essential 

Other criteria

  • The post will be a Luxembourg based post to enhance MSF sectional ownership within the current political environment
  • The person should be able to debate and defend appropriately the strategic development of operational research and medical data management to the social value and mission of MSF
  • A high degree of work autonomy, team management,  as well as strategic and management capacity is required 
  • Willingness to travel and work between Luxembourg and Brussels and with different field teams. Regular professional travels to Brussels for 1-2 days a week or more depending on the need will be required
  • Due to the high level of responsibilities and large workload, the position is planned to be supported by a deputy OR coordinator. It is the responsibility of the OR coordinator to organise and share the different tasks with his/her Deputy
  • Excellent communication skills


  • Fluent knowledge of spoken English is essential. Strong English writing skills are an essential pre-requisite for this post. A reasonable working knowledge of French is necessary.


  • Full time contract
  • Director level in the MSF-Lux. salary grid (monthly minimum gross salary 5285 € to be adjusted according to experience)
  • Part of the medical department of OCB and of the Management team of MSF-Luxembourg
  • Reports to the Medical Director and General Director of MSF-Luxembourg

Deadline for applications: 20/03/2019

CV & Cover letter to send to catherine.jager@luxembourg.msf.org 

stating « OCB - ORC » in the title

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PDF icon or_coordinator_final_march.pdf