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Operational Research and Field Epidemiology Advisor

To join the Operational Research Team LuxOR Undetermined contract – Full time position

BACKGROUND

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides aid 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.

MSF Luxembourg is a historical partner section of the MSF movement created in 1986. With 35 staff members, the section’s team works to raise awareness on humanitarian issues among Luxembourg’s population, raise funds needed to finance humanitarian interventions, supports MSF volunteers who go into the field and carry out operational research projects directly linked to health programs to help improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
Nine MSF partner sections (Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa and Sweden) and the Lebanon Branch Office, make up the Operational Center Brussels (OCB). In 2019, MSF OCB ran 109 projects in 38 countries.

OCB Medical Department is a network of units, in Brussels, the Brussels Medical Unit (BRUMED), in Cape Town, the Southern African Medical Unit (SAMU), in Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR), in Beirut, the Middle East Medical Unit (MEMU) and positions based around the world (Nairobi, Rio, Rome and Toronto). 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: anesthesia, antibiotic resistance, capacity building & mentoring for healthcare professionals, change management, chronic non-communicable diseases, critical care, data protection & data sharing, emergency medicine & toxicology, emergency preparedness, environmental health, epidemiology, general surgery & orthopedics, health promotion & anthropology, hepatitis C, HIV, infection prevention & control, infectious diseases, knowledge management, laboratory, malaria & vector-borne diseases, medical data & health informatics, medical equipment, mental health, microbiology, nursing care, nutrition, operational research and documentation, pediatrics & adolescents health, pharmacy, primary healthcare, public health, sexual & reproductive health, tuberculosis, vaccination, survivors of torture and viral hemorrhagic fever & emerging infectious diseases. The department support is organized in resources deployed in thematic circles with specific time-bond deliverables.

Since 2009, MSF Luxembourg has been putting its expertise at the service of the development of medical research in the field through the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR) within OCB Medical Department. Operational Research helps MSF take an in-depth look at its programs and operations, evaluates what is working well, and shows what needs to be improved. LuxOR shares findings with the international MSF-movement and partner organizations, and advocates for evidence-based policy and practices changes with local and international stakeholders. Supported studies are published in renowned scientific journals, and openly available to researchers and the global humanitarian community. The unit is based in Luxembourg with detached staff in Brussels, South Africa, Beirut, and Toronto.

More information can be found on: https://msf.lu/en/operational-research/luxor

FUNCTIONAL INTERACTION

  • The LuxOR Director is the overall medical department reference person regarding 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 Operational Research and Epidemiology Advisor will have a close interaction with team members who are based in Luxembourg, Brussels, Beirut, Canada and South Africa. Continuous interaction with the field, especially field epidemiologists, operational cells and the medical department will be necessary to support operational research and documentation activities. The LuxOR team consist of advisors and mobile/flying implementation officers, there is no hierarchical link between positions. S/he will report to LuxOR Program Officer and Director.

MAIN ACTIVITIES/RESPONSABILITIES

The Advisor will first focus on the continuation of setting up a support system for the field epidemiologists and possibly gradually move into supporting operational research activities at field level. The main tasks are:

1. Setting up the support system for the field epidemiologists (± 12 months)

  • Coordination of the technical support to the field epidemiologists: linkage with the different epi-referents, Ariadne and other experts in the Medical Department, organization of briefings and debriefings, software packages, validation and recruitment, etc.
  •  Knowledge management: organization of documents, guidelines, protocols to make them accessible to epidemiologists in the field.
  •  Explore training and capacity building options
  • Participate in the coordination of the community of practice
  • Support intersectional alignment of epidemiological methods and tools
  • Conduct field visits to selected projects to support and better understand the needs of the field epidemiologists. Field support can take up to 50 % of working time.
  • Support Emergency and Surge deployments to projects

2. Support operational research activities

  • Support the medical department and the operations to define and prioritize the operational research and documentation agenda.
  • Review/draft operational research study protocols and provide technical and editorial support to comply with MSF Ethics Review Board (ERB) requirements for submission for ethical clearance through the appropriate channels.
  • Provide editorial and manuscript writing support for publication, policy briefs, program descriptions, advocacy pieces,… according to an agreed platform of delegated responsibility between existing members of the Operational Research team.
  •  Support advanced data analysis and provide statistical support for ongoing research projects.
  • Conduct field visits to selected projects to support research, discuss research agendas and provide general operational support if needed and relevant.
  • Disseminate research findings through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at conferences/workshops and mentor other researchers for abstract and presentation development for Scientific Days/OR days.
  • Be involved with setting up capacity building sessions on operational research (SORT-IT courses and others).
  • In link with other members of the team, be directly responsible to regularly update and manage the yearly operational research and documentation agenda.

3. Other

  • Regular attendance and active participation to MSF Luxembourg Team meetings, General Assembly, Associative Forums and team building activities
  • Availability for communication and public engagement initiatives for MSF-Luxembourg and OCB after field-visits or field-assignments.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

  • Medical or para-medial profile with extensive field experience (preferably as an epidemiologist) in MSF or another humanitarian Organizations, including having worked in the context of health systems in a developing country/humanitarian emergency settings.
  • Experience in protocol writing and use of different quantitative study designs, including profound understanding of the concepts of bias and statistical inference.
  • Strong evidence to show high capacity/potential in data analysis and use of statistical software (EpiInfo, EpiData, R and STATA or similar).
  • Capacity to quickly get familiar with the literature on different topics related to the operational priorities (environmental health, migration, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, outbreaks,…)
  • Postgraduate training in Public Health with specific training and practical competence in epidemiology and medical statistics are an advantage.
  • Having completed an advanced Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) is an asset
  • Understanding of qualitative and mixed-methods study designs are an asset.
  • Very high level of spoken English, scientific writing skills and ability to use the editorial pen on manuscripts for publication and other descriptive documentation.
  • Spoken French is essential while written French is an asset.

SOFT SKILLS REQUIREMENTS

  • Share and support the MSF vision and values
  • A high degree of work autonomy, team interaction and diplomacy are required to be able to interact at various levels within the department, within MSF and outside.
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people.
  • Work under high levels of stress due to work context
  • Willingness and ability to function in a team, transparent communication with colleagues, willingness to share work and experiences, give and ask support when needed.
  • Solid scientific rigor and honesty, transparency, attention to detail.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects or activities simultaneously, and to deliver quality outputs within deadlines.
  • Proactivity and leadership capacity to drive operational research.
  • Flexibility for regular travel (up to 50% of working time), possibly at short notice. Ability and willingness to spend time in often difficult and unstable contexts.

CONTRACT CONDITIONS AND BENEFITS

  • Undetermined contract with probationary period - Full time
  • Based in Luxemburg for at least the 1st year of contract. Relocation possible after that according to operational needs.
  • Monthly gross salary will depend on the location and months of MSF experience
  • Meal vouchers, Hospitalization insurance, transport allowance
  • Contract start date: Latest 1St of March 2022
  • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment
  • Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments

Application deadline: January 21st, 2022
Candidate application must include an updated CV and cover letter.
Please apply through e-mail at the following address: marie.houba@luxembourg.msf.org
with position reference: LuxOR OR/Epi Advisor

MSF values diversity and is committed to create an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

The protection of your personal data is important to MSF. By submitting your application, you consent to MSF using your personal data. For more information, consult our privacy notice to job applicants https://msf.lu/en/privacy-notice-for-msf-luxembourg-job-applicants.

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