Vacancy: Research Manager (Data)

POST TITLE: Research Manager (Data)
HOURS OF WORK: Full time (as a Consultant)
PERIOD OF APPOINTMENT: Initially six months from January 2021, with potential for extension
LOCATION: Nairobi, Kenya (other countries in sub-Saharan Africa could be considered)
REPORTING TO: Head of Research and Insight
Salary: Competitive

ESSA Job offer: Research Manager (Data)

Job details

Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA) is a charity established in 2016. Our vision is high-quality education in sub-Saharan Africa that enables young people to achieve their ambitions and strengthens society.

We identify the biggest issues in education, driven by needs of young people, educators and employers.   

We join-up those with power and influence: from governments, to leaders in universities and colleges. We support them to use evidence to maximise the impact of their resources and attract investment. 

Our team is small but driven, working remotely in sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. To find out more about our work, read our Impact Report.

The Research Manager (Data) role is an exciting new position within the ESSA team. This role will help us to ensure that the right data and evidence are made readily available and in appropriate formats to support the needs of those seeking to improve tertiary education in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in relation to youth employment. 

The successful applicant will also ensure that ESSA develops mutually beneficial and sustainable relationships with external stakeholders/decision-makers (e.g. young people, educators, funders, employers, and policymakers). 

Main Responsibilities

  • Lead and/or support the development and management of ongoing, as well as new data-focused, tertiary education research projects at ESSA (e.g. the African Scholarship Hub).

  • Conduct background research, quantitative and qualitative analyses, and ensure the effective use of the data and evidence generated by ESSA, to enable positive impact in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. 

  • Prepare compelling tertiary education data briefings, papers, reports, messages, blogs, infographics, and other tools for use by decision-makers when needed. 

  • Organise, contribute to, and represent ESSA at data-focused surveys, interviews, focus group discussions and events such as webinars, to communicate ESSA’s work and increase its impact.  

  • Build ESSA’s knowledge and understanding of data availability, sharing and use in tertiary education and employment in sub-Saharan Africa and identify other priority areas for obtaining further research data. In addition, identify and grow a network of influencers and partners for ESSA to engage with to increase use of research data and evidence, and to leverage additional funding.  

  • Collaborate with ESSA’s research team, other staff members (including interns and external consultants), and with partner organisations. 

  • Contribute to the production of data- and evidence-based funding proposals and other material for ESSA’s donors, in line with our organisational strategy and goals.  

Person Specification


  • A degree and post-graduate degree in education, data science, economics, statistics, international development, social science, or a related discipline. 

  • Significant experience (>5 years) of working with data/databases in a research, academic, government, industrial or non-profit organisation, ideally in a developing country. 

  • Experience in designing strategies and tools for expert collection and management of large amounts of research information/data (e.g. from platforms or surveys), its quantitative and qualitative analysis using relevant statistical software/functions, and the extraction of critical insights for appropriate organisational use (e.g. reports and funding proposals).  

  • Proven ability to communicate research data and evidence into practical guidance, planning tools, information briefs, papers, and reports to diverse audiences through excellent writing, and speaking, to raise awareness of important issues and influence social and political events. 

  • Demonstrable ability to organise and/or participate in conferences, workshops, and webinars, engaging with people at all levels from different backgrounds and with different viewpoints.  

  • Ability to build and manage work relationships internally, as well as with external agencies. 

  • A team player who has cultural awareness/sensitivity, is committed to respecting and valuing equality, diversity, and inclusion, and understands how these apply to their own area of work. 

  • Comfortable working independently with accuracy, using own initiative and judgement. 

  • Excellent attention to detail, commitment to high standards and able to meet tight deadlines. 

  • Proactive, efficient, creative, collaborative, ethical, entrepreneurial and a problem-solver with strong communication, excellent interpersonal, organisational and project management skills. 

  • Computer literate, including familiarity with information databases and Microsoft Office suite. 

  • Comfortable working in a remote and internationally dispersed team. 


  • Knowledge of research in international education, particularly tertiary education, in Africa. 

  • Educated to PhD level in a relevant discipline.  

  • Resident in sub-Saharan Africa. 

  • Experience of working in a cross-functional team, and/or with large employers of young people in sub-Saharan Africa. 

  • French speaking. 

  • Willingness to embrace use of technology and automation in education research and translation.  


Initially six months from January 2021, with potential for extension. The contract of employment will be based on the requirements of Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. 

Where is the workplace?

ESSA operates from collaborative working spaces in London and Accra. In other locations, staff members work from home, from other collaborative working spaces, or are hosted by a partnering institution. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all staff are currently working from home.

Communication relies on telephone, video conferencing and e-mail, supplemented by physical meetings as required.

ESSA will reimburse all reasonable expenses on a pre-agreed basis. Details will be agreed on appointment.

Start date

January 2021

Recruitment process

Candidates will be informed if their interest is being progressed. If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a cover letter explaining your suitability for the role along with a CV by 9am GMT on 23rd November 2020 to:

First round interviews will be held on the week commencing 30th November 2020

You can also download a PDF file of the job description:

Research Manager (Data) Job Description (PDF)