The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit pan African organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through the AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges. The current strategy for the AAS focuses on five strategic focus areas: Environment and climate change, health and wellbeing, natural sciences, policy and governance and social sciences and humanities. The AAS’s mission is to shift the centre of gravity for African science to Africa through agenda setting, mobilising Research & Development (R&D) funding, and managing continent-wide Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) programmes.
The overall aim of the Senior Programme Officer (Social Sciences, Humanities, & Arts (SSHA)) is to support the delivery of a vibrant social sciences and humanities research leadership capacity development programme on the continent. In the short term, this will be delivered as a component of existing programmes at the AAS, promoting excellence in social science, humanities, and Arts research leadership capacity in Africa. The long-term goal of the role is to develop an independent SSHA flagship programme at the AAS.
The Senior Programme Officer (SPO) will focus on the publication and dissemination of knowledge products focusing on various aspects of the SSHA docket. The knowledge products shall be produced using data generated from a recently concluded scoping exercise to determine the status of SSHA research support in Africa. Additionally, the incumbent shall liaise with comparative research networks, as well as thematic and issue-specific research programmes, special initiatives, and projects to advance discourses on the advancement of SSHA research support in Africa. To this end, the SPO shall oversee implementation of various SSHA aspects of the programmes work at the AAS including several tasks as follows:
- Leveraging sector-specific knowledge and skills in the effective implementation of programmes and the development of new initiatives.
- Overseeing the development and implementation of pre-award, award, and post-award processes.
- Mainstreaming gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies within the programmes work.
- Designing and implementing risk assessment and management strategies for the programmes.
- Working with the finance team on budget control and reviews to ensure compliance and alignment to project and donor requirements.
- Working with the monitoring, evaluation, and learning team to produce project reports and other relevant knowledge products.
- Initiate, develop and, where appropriate, manage new projects and programmes
The postholder will also be expected to work in close collaboration with other AAS managed programmes through the provision of operational and research support for the achievement of the AAS’ overall strategic goals.
Main Duties and Responsibilities
- Define and deliver the benefits of the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts component of the AAS programmes in time, within budget, and at the required quality
- Assist in the provision of secretariat support to relevant steering groups
- Assist in utilising the outputs, networks and relationships created through the AAS programmes to further the Academy’s strategic objectives.
- Contribute, as required, to the development of evidence-based positions on research and innovation policy issues linked to the scheme
- Contribute to the establishment of systems to enable the Academy to maintain and derive value from contact with past beneficiaries or alumni, and to manage these relationships where appropriate
- Contribute to the effective use of administrative resources across the AAS, including the provision of clear and timely information about requirements for administrative support to colleagues
- Contribute to the effective use of the AAS information management systems
- Contribute to a culture of continuous improvement at the AAS and to support line manager in achieving other teams, departmental and organisational objectives, as required
- Perform programme relevant research to inform the development, implementation and delivery of the SSHA component of the AAS programs
- Work in close collaboration with the AAS M&E team to identify, collate, track, assess quality, analyse and validate, and report on programme-related data
- Identify and build relationships with relevant stakeholders involved in social sciences and humanities research and research leadership capacity development on the continent and globally but not limited to universities and other research institutions, relevant African government departments and policymakers, Africa based and international Think Tanks, and intergovernmental organisations etc
- Prepare reports, articles and presentations during programme inception meetings, annual grantee meetings and site visits
- Track and perform relevant analyses on various aspects of programme implementation to identify and address important challenges to ensure effective and efficient programme delivery.
Key Results and Outcomes Area
- Benefits of all assigned activities delivered within budget and timelines and consistent with commitments to funders and agreed targets
- Schemes delivered following best practice in scheme management, steering group secretarial support, and effective use of the AAS Information Management Systems
- Strong working relationships with all key stakeholders including staff, Fellows of the AAS, other delivery partners, and beneficiaries
- Maintaining an attractive and accurate outward profile of activities through the website and other materials
- Strong knowledge of AAS policies and procedures, and their application in programme management
- Qualifications, Experience, and Expertise required
- A PhD degree in a relevant Social Science, Humanities or Arts related research field obtained within the past 10 years
- Demonstrable research leadership qualities and experience in the implementation of key research work for priority SSHA agendas
- A demonstrable record of research capabilities in social science/humanities research as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and other quality knowledge products
- At least 3 years’ experience working in research/research leadership capacity development programme design and implementation in Africa
- Knowledge of funding/how research is funded/grants or research management
- A professional qualification and relevant experience in large scale programme/project management or training in research administration, ethics, leadership or related will be an added advantage
- Excellent presentation and public speaking skills
- Proficiency in standard office and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Office, SharePoint
- Project/ Programme management skills (essential)
- Communication: An effective communicator to all stakeholders within the organization and with external counterparts
- Teamwork: Understands the roles of different business units and sub-units in won department; recognizes the importance of other business teams and their interdependence to achieve organizational objectives
- Planning and organizing: Understands drivers and constraints of execution in terms of time and resource allocation, reviews and prioritizes activities in line with changing work requirement.
- Achieving results: Continuously sets challenging goals for the teams and provides support to the team by proactively anticipating challenges and looking at means to overcome them.
- Leading and supervising: Manages the performance of the team and promotes a culture of learning and development.
- Knowledge sharing and learning: Takes an active interest in developing others by creating opportunities for capability building at the unit.
- Judgement/decision making: Identifies, analyzes and discusses decision making alternatives with multiple stakeholders. Evaluates past decisions for insight and improved decision making.
- Technical/Scientific credibility: Keeps abreast of latest developments and provides authoritative advice to senior management in the field of his /her expertise.
- Commitment to continuous process improvement: Develops and applies effective approaches to programme development and implementation. Identifies ways to improve systems and structures to deliver services with streamlined resources.
- Partnership building: Makes use of various forums (professional and social) to network within and outside the organization with a view to leverage these networks for organizational interests.
- Analytical thinking: Draws analogies based on available information/data that result in increased understanding. Reframes issues and challenges so that they are input for future action/change.
All applicants must submit a filled application form from the AAS website available here, curriculum vitae/resume, and a cover letter submitted by email to email@example.com, with the Position and Vacancy Number as the Subject no later than 1st April 2022 on or before 1700hrs. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
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