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Médecins Sans Frontières Luxembourg, Operational Center Brussels, is looking for an Operational Research Advisor with a focus on support to the Field Epidemiologists (f/m)

To join the Operational Research Team LuxOR
Undetermined contract –Full time
position Based in Luxembourg.

BACKGROUND

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation 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.
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. More information can be found on: https://msf.lu/en/operational-research/luxor and https://samumsf.org/en

In the COVID-19 response, LuxORand SAMU started to give more one-on-one support to the epidemiologists in the field, however there is a need to improve the coordination of this support and to make it sustainable for the years to come. This position will focus on coordinating this support and once established, move towards combining it with an operational research portfolio.


FUNCTIONAL INTERACTION

  • The OR Coordinator and LuxOR Director is the overall medical department reference person regardingguiding 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 Advisor will have a close interaction with team memberswho are based in Luxembourg, Beirut, London, Canada and South Africa. Continuous interaction with the field, operational cells and the medical department will be necessary to support operational research and documentation activities. The LuxOR team consist of advisors and mobile/flyingimplementation officers, there is no hierarchical link between positions. S/he will reportto LuxOR Program Officerand Coordinator.

MAIN ACTIVITIES/RESPONSABILITIES

The Operational Research Advisor will first focus on setting up a support system forthe field epidemiologists and gradually move into supportingoperational research activities at field level. The main tasks are:

1. Setting up the support system for thefield epidemiologists(± 6 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.
  • Exploretraining and capacity buildingoptions
  • Setting up a community of practice
  • Prepare a discussion document on the role of epidemiologists in OCB, including relation with coordination and degree of strategic involvement.

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 projectsto support research, discuss research agendas and provide general operational support if needed andrelevant. Field trips can take up to 30 % of working time.
  • 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.


EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS

  • Medical or para-medial profile with extensive field experience (preferably as an epidemiologist) in MSF or another humanitarian NGO, including having worked in the context of health systems in a developing country.
  • Experience in protocol writing anduse 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, Rand 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 arean advantage.
  • Understanding of qualitative and mixed-methods study designs arean 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

  • A high degree of work autonomy, team interaction and diplomacy arerequired to be able to interact at various levels within the department, in MSF and outside.
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people.
  • 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 30% 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 with frequent travel to Brussels
  • Monthly gross salary: from 4327 € to 5251 € according to MSF experience (12 months)
  • Hospitalization insurance, meal vouchers, transport allowance.
  • Contract start date: September 2020


Application deadline: July 21st, 2020
Candidate application must include an updated CV and cover letter.
Please apply through e-mail at the following address: catherine.jager@luxembourg.msf.org with position reference: Lux OR Advisor/Epi-support