Chemonics is seeking a Country Technical Leads out of Pretoria/Johannesburg, South Africa. The Research and Information Systems in Africa (RISA) Fund programme is a multi-country project funded by the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) focusing on strengthening research and innovation systems in target countries, combining the fund manager requirements of two current funds under the RISA umbrella: Strengthening Research Institutions in Africa (SRIA) and African Technology and Innovation Partnerships (ATIP). RISA seeks to strengthen research and innovation systems by developing a portfolio of well-designed, evidence-based sub-projects in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The vision for the RISA Fund is as follows:
IF RISA is co-designed with and driven by research and innovation actors…
THEN we can enable them to equitably and sustainably strengthen research and innovation ecosystems that help deliver development priorities…
FOR the people impacted by the research and innovation.
The programme has three objectives:
- Research institution and system strengthening (SRIA). To support research organisations to have the capabilities necessary to produce relevant, high-quality research and to create an enabling environment for researchers and research organisations.
- Innovation system strengthening (ATIP). To strengthen the enablers for the scaling of new and emerging technologies with the high potential for poverty reduction and inclusive growth.
- Strengthening synergies between research and innovation systems (SRIA and ATIP). To identify and support linkages between research and innovation systems that will improve their integration and coordination.
RISA will focus on identifying Research and/or Innovation system strengthening priorities in each of the focus African countries; procuring appropriate suppliers to deliver Research and Innovation ecosystem strengthening projects; and managing the overall Research and Innovation systems strengthening fund portfolio. During RISA’s programme Inception Phase, priority focus countries will be Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
The role of the Country Technical Leads (CTL) is to provide specialised and locally contextual knowledge related to research and innovation ecosystems in RISA focus countries, and support programme management, funds management, and MEL workstreams in implementing RISA activities. CTLs will leverage their extensive networks and access to stakeholders to lead country-specific mapping and assessment efforts to enable diverse local engagement and embed feedback loops into RISA projects and bring hands-on knowledge and deep understanding of political dynamics within research and innovation ecosystems that will enable downstream partner success and for RISA to deliver on planned outcomes. They will shape the strengthening of research and innovation ecosystems in each country by:
- Developing in-country consultation and an engagement strategy
- Delivering in-country communication and outreach/uptake activities
- Developing the strategy for creating a portfolio of well-designed, complementary, evidence-based projects in RISA countries
- Supporting implementation of projects by providing and/or coordinating technical assistance, capacity building, and training
- Developing a learning strategy for sharing lessons between portfolio projects
- Develop a monitoring framework at both project and portfolio level
- Support monitoring and learning
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
- Apply technical guidance, practical experience, and RISA methodology and tools, to offer technical advisory and consulting support to SRIA- and ATIP-relevant systems strengthening activities
- Lead and contribute to analysis of research and innovation systems and the identification of entry points and potential levers of system strengthening, including through development of stakeholder maps, facilitation, and data collection for gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) assessments and applied political economy analyses (APEA)
- Support the team leader, RISA Senior Management Team (SMT), and FCDO to convene local and high-level stakeholders and organise events, activities and share knowledge; identify and foster relationships with potential SRIA and ATIP downstream partners and other relevant initiatives; and work with core team technical advisors to identify, select, and support downstream partners and projects consistent with the portfolio strategies and RISA objectives
- Coordinate with the Technical Units to identify, select, and support downstream partners in line with SRIA, ATIP, and country portfolio strategies, to refine theories of change and application of gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) guidance and to support partner communications and outreach
- Provide support as an important feedback loop from applicants, awardees, and system stakeholders to the Funds and Operations Unit, and conduct routine monitoring and compliance visits and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) data collection
- Serve as main in-country point of contact for technical assistance to downstream partners in the area of project ideation, concept, and proposal refinement, implementation, and exit processes
- Coordinate with the Research Unit to support M&E data collection and analysis, and to promote learning and uptake such as at semi-annual RISA workshops
- Provide day-to-day support of downstream projects, review work plans and milestone progress monthly, and escalate risks and issues to relevant members of the team as required
- Lead quarterly ‘report cards’ with each partner for SMT review and identify where recipients are struggling to manage activities or funds appropriately
- Perform other duties as required and assigned.
Experience, Skills, and Qualifications:
Local knowledge and networks in research/innovation ecosystems and partnership building experience
- Proven experience and extensive knowledge of local country context related to innovation and research systems
- Strong networker and convenor and access to local networks, including knowledge of and relationships with key stakeholders in research and innovation systems
- Extensive knowledge of other relevant projects in the country
- Active in online and in-person tech groups, innovation and research communities
- Strong ability to collaborate and build partnerships with host country governments, UK government agencies, donor agencies, international organizations, and the private sector
- Thorough knowledge of and networks within the research and/or innovation sectors in focus countries and across Africa
- Skilled in using participatory approaches, demonstrating the ability to connect the work we do to real people
- Skilled in engaging and developing effective partnerships with individuals from different cultural backgrounds
Demonstrated understanding of research and innovation methodologies and proven programme coordination abilities
- Strong analytical, problem-solving skills
- Demonstrated experience with programme management including experience working throughout the project lifecycle and applying programme management methodologies
- Demonstrated experience in financial management and compliance, ideally for international development programmes
- Ability to work in lean and agile ways
- Experience in project design and developing technical scopes of work, ideally for FCDO
- Experience with Monitoring and evaluation tools
- Works independently and as part of a team
- Bachelor’s degree in a social science, health, international development, technology or a related discipline is required. Master’s degree is preferred.
- Minimum of eight years of professional experience in the field of research, innovation or development.
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and word processing abilities
- Experience improving gender equity and disability inclusion in research and innovation systems and implementing gender sensitive policies in development programming preferred
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Willingness to travel up to eight weeks per year
- Fluency in English is required.
Position and Location
Individuals performing CTL work will based out of Johannesburg/Pretoria, South Africa, and may be required to conduct intermittent local travel and travel to the RISA head project office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Please send an email with your CV and cover letter attached and “Country Technical Lead” in the subject line to email@example.com by March 25, 2022 . No telephone inquiries, please. Chemonics will contact finalists.
Chemonics is an equal opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate in its selection and employment practices. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, age, or other legally protected characteristics.
Proposed Selection Criteria:
The CTLs bring hands-on knowledge, networks, and deep understanding of system cultures and the political dynamics that will enable downstream partner success and for RISA to deliver on our planned outcomes. The two key criteria for the selection of CTLs is that they have a comprehensive understanding of the local systems that SRIA and ATIP interventions will target and technical expertise to support inception activities and supporting the delivery of downstream partner projects.
Understanding Local Ecosystems. Contextual expertise is fundamental to the programme’s potential to deliver sustainable research and innovation ecosystem strengthening in each RISA country. Contextual insight, on the other hand, takes years to individually nurture. Therefore, our initial selection criteria for the CTLs prioritises:
- Local knowledge and insights about the actors and institutions that are critical to fostering a supportive enabling environment for research and innovation system strengthening, and an interest in PEA to understand the links and influences within each system
- Demonstrable access and convening power to reach and bring demand- and supply-side and research and innovation system stakeholders together for potential partnerships to flourish
- Track record in enabling equity and inclusive participation, with a deep-seated passion to deliver cross-sector, cross-discipline and diverse projects and experience cultivating talent from women, people living with disabilities, and underrepresented or marginalised sets of stakeholders
Technical Expertise. Recognising the importance of CTLs’ technical capability to RISA, we will focus on procuring CTLs with a mix of experience in the following areas:
- Institutional and organisational change
- Behavioural science and psychology
- Policy and strategy formulation
- Communication and outreach
- Capacity building
- Monitoring and evaluation
Building capacity technical know-how and methodologies can and will be developed and shared across the team during Stage 2 and throughout the programme, led by both the CTLs and the Fund Manager technical advisors.
In appraising CTL candidates, RISA will focus on the individuals within each organisation (or consultants if appropriate) who will:
- Be at the coalface of RISA’s delivery
- Working one-to-one with our downstream partners
- Serve as mentors and advisors
- Have first-hand practical experience by CTL personnel as ‘insiders’ within the research and innovation systems that RISA is seeking to strengthen
- Fulfilling Chemonics’ standard recruitment practices including through a standard panel interview process, phone screen, and reference checking
- Need to confirm that they have FULL availability
- No conflict of interest