Project Research Officer (33-2019)

Hours per week: Full Time, 35 hours per week
Contract Type: Fixed Term (36 months)
Grade: Grade 6
Salary: £26464 to £39528  per annum pro rata
Closing Date: 23.59 hours GMT on Wednesday 13 November 2019
Interview Date: 06/01/2020

Who We Are

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change.

Our Vision

Our vision is of equal and sustainable societies, locally and globally, where everyone can live secure, fulfilling lives free from poverty and injustice.

What We Do

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change. 

In partnership with the University of Sussex, IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies by the QS University Rankings.

We believe passionately that cutting-edge research, knowledge and mutual learning are crucial in shaping the transformations needed to reduce inequalities, accelerate sustainability and build more inclusive and secure societies. In line with our engaged excellence approach, we are committed to collaborating closely with local civil society, governments, international NGOs, citizens, donors and many others to realise this positive change.

IDS has been working with partners to tackle complex development challenges in this way since 1966.  Our partnership with the University of Sussex supports and accredits our master’s degrees and PhD research programmes.  We also offer a range of thematically and approach-focused professional development courses, learning journeys and online and blended learning.  Through our learning offer we aim to strengthen the skills and capabilities of those already working within the development sector, as well as nurture a new generation of development thought, policy and practice leaders.  

IDS publishes a wide range of high quality and high impact outputs, including our flagship publication, the IDS Bulletin, an open access, peer-reviewed journal exploring emerging international development challenges.  

The Institute is home to over 200 staff and 200 students at any one time. But the IDS community extends far beyond, encompassing an extensive global network of over 360 partners, 3,000 alumni and hundreds of former staff.

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Job Description

Research Officer - Francophone African politics and society

Cluster: Resources Politics / Humanitarian Learning Centre 

Grade 6

Hours per week:  Full time, 35 hours per week

Reports to: Principal Investigator


The Research Officer (RO) will join the resource politics cluster, which focuses on the politics of access, use and control of resources as well as contested knowledge claims around these. The cluster will provide a natural home to critically discuss ideas and concepts around resilience. The RO will also join the Humanitarian Learning Centre (HLC), which brings together accessible, operational learning with academic insights to enable more effective humanitarian response.


Under the leadership of IDS Researcher Jeremy Allouche (Principal Investigator), and with the support of Gauthier Marchais and Lewis Sida, IDS is starting a £1 million new project funded by the UKRI-GCRF Equitable Resilience programme on “Islands of innovation in protracted crises: a new approach to building equitable resilience from below”. 

The project focuses on two countries, Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We will focus on communities which have been suffering from multiple humanitarian disasters, ranging from civil wars, floods and volcanoes and epidemics such as Ebola. Yet despite these challenges, communities find innovative ways to manage economically and socially, forced to adapt and innovate against a backdrop of constant change and insecurity. 

Sharing this knowledge could help build resilience more widely but needs to be done through media and methods that resonate. Storytelling through a mix of customary and modern tools (from the customary griot and oral traditions, combined with digital forms of music) may be helping to recreate new notions and idioms of community resilience and potentially creating new forms of solidarities and notions of equity. 

Overall purpose of a Project RO role:

To support the research project through undertaking desk and field-based research, undertaking data collection and analysis as directed, contributing to publications and other communication methods, and working effectively with project and cluster colleagues, including partners.

The work will be under the direction and line management of the Principal Investigator.  The line manager is responsible for income generation, induction, appraisal, support and ongoing management to support excellent performance, though these activities can be designated to other senior colleagues by agreement.

The Research Officer will also be a member of a home cluster whose leader and members can be expected to provide broader intellectual support, but who are not responsible for fundraising or career progression. All Research Officers are additionally welcome to take advantage of the Institute’s mentoring scheme. 

Activities will be taken from the following broad categories:


Liaison & Networking



• Participate in cluster, project and Institute activities as required.

· Liaise with colleagues and students

· Build internal contacts and participate in internal networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future collaboration

· Act as a responsible group member and develop productive working relationships with others


• Contribute to the process of securing funding as requested by project manager and/or cluster leader


Person Specification

Skills and experience
Selection Criteria Description Essential [E] or
Desirable [D]
by *
A postgraduate degree in social sciences with a focus on African politics and society E A/I
Good knowledge and understanding of current issues and debates in international development
Excellent/Good knowledge and understanding of current issues and debated in subject area
Excellent French and English writing analytical synthesis and editing skills including the ability to tailor material for different formats (web, email, etc) and communicate specialist knowledge in non-technical language.
Ability to assimilate complex research or other relevant material quickly, assess its merits, and draw out key messages and implications for policy and practice
Strong all-round communication skills for a range of audiences
Strong organisational and time management skills
Proficiency at using the internet for research
Negotiation skills and the ability to manage client expectations
Excellent interpersonal skills
Excellent presentation skills
Other, eg a language requirement
Networking skills D A/I
Experience undertaking research in a developing country
Experience of working in an development or humanitarian research role
Experience of undertaking literature reviews, evidence syntheses, semi-structured interviews, and data analysis involving multiple data sources and types
Experience with qualitative and / or quantitative research methods
Experience of tailoring material for different formats such as web copy, blogs and newsletters.
Project Management
Budget tracking
Experience in preparing web copy, including articles, blogs and newsletters
Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and meet frequent strict deadlines
Ability to prioritise, manage and deliver a range of conflicting immediate and longer term priorities
Ability to plan and work on your own initiative, taking responsibility for areas of work in a proactive and independent manner
Attention to detail and pride in presentation and communication
Demonstrable ability to thrive on team-working
Ability to work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary and mixed skill teams and with researchers from a variety of backgrounds and in a variety of contexts
Willingness to undertake extensive travel within the UK and internationally, sometimes in fragile contexts and areas of active armed conflict E A/I
*A - Application I - Interview

Information to Candidates

Benefits At IDS we offer a number of additional benefits to staff. These include:

The successful candidate will be based at the Institute of Development Studies on the University of Sussex campus. The University of Sussex is located 10 minutes away from the lively and cosmopolitan seaside city of Brighton on the UK South Coast, 60 minutes away from central London, 30 minutes away from London Gatwick Airport and is surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Sussex South Downs. Situated between the sea and the South Downs, Brighton is one of the most vibrant and unique cities on the South Coast, for more information please go to

How to apply

Please apply using the online application form.