Engagement of UNDP-Ethiopia Research Fellowship Programme (two positions)

Location : Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA
Application Deadline :25-Jul-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction
Type of Contract :Other
Post Level :Other
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :9 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :9 months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


UNDP Ethiopia’s Country Office (CO) is launching a Research Fellowship Programme to support the implementation of its new Country Programme Document (CPD: 2020 – 2025). In line with our long-term priorities, the CPD aims to support Ethiopia to overcome its structural challenges as it strives to become a democratic, peaceful and prosperous middle-income country by focusing on three key thematic areas: i) supporting a successful transition to a democratic polity by addressing the drivers of conflict to consolidate and build peace; ii) fostering the creation of enabling conditions for shared prosperity through financial inclusion, jobs creation and private sector development (especially of micro, small and medium enterprises); and iii) helping to sustain development gains by accelerating the transition to a green economy that is resilient to climate change. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are also central, cross-cutting themes that will be embedded across all three focal areas of the CPD.

To support the implementation of the CPD, UNDP Ethiopia is strengthening the capacity of its development research, analysis, and policy advisory team to provide the evidence base for its programmatic interventions in the key focal areas. A new Development Policy and Research Hub (DPRH) is being launched to oversee the delivery of a multi-year funded research agenda to ramp up the generation of top-flight knowledge and policy advisory products. The aim of this research agenda is to transform UNDP Ethiopia into a dynamic, learning organization where policy and programmatic decision-making are knowledge-driven and backed by evidence-based research.

The Research Fellowship Programme will contribute to this vision by attracting bright, young, and highly qualified Ethiopian researchers to produce cutting-edge, original development research aligned with the policy interests of the CO’s programmatic work. Selected Fellows will be embedded within the CO’s programmes, working with teams to bring fresh and forward-thinking perspectives to UNDP’s work, grounded in data and evidence. The Programme’s research agenda will therefore be designed in collaboration with programme teams to ensure that it addresses the most pertinent policy questions and provides solutions that will advance the implementation of the CPD, its contribution to government’s long-term development agendas and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In turn, Fellows will be given the opportunity to: (i) hone their research skills in a world-leading development organization; (ii) gain practical experience in developing actionable policy solutions that can deliver real impact at scale; (iii) work closely and collaboratively with seasoned development professionals; and (iv) develop professional skills such as public speaking, leadership and teamwork. 

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the general supervision and guidance of the Head of DPRH, the direct supervision of technical members of DPRH and in collaboration with programmatic teams, selected Fellows will design and deliver policy and programme-relevant empirical research papers focused on one of the specific thematic areas of interest to the CO namely: i) democratic governance and peacebuilding; ii) creating shared prosperity; and iii) supporting the transition to a sustainable, green economy. In addition, Fellows will be expected to undertake the following activities:

  • Publish research papers, policy briefs and blog posts related to their research.
  • Conduct field research at the federal and sub-federal (regional, zonal, woreda, kebele) levels. 
  • Organize and lead research-in-progress seminars and presentations for wide-ranging audiences including the CO, other UN agencies, federal and regional government authorities, and development partners.
  • Contribute policy advice and technical support to relevant programme teams. 
  • Attend internal and external meetings and events as required by DPRH and relevant programme teams.
  • Help organize and participate in DPRH’s annual development conference.
  • Undertake training and capacity-building courses focused on building research and professional skills as required.


  • Exceptional research, qualitative and quantitative analytical skills supported by a track record of publications.
  • Good command of both written and spoken English. Knowledge of local languages is desirable.
  • Highly motivated and self-directed, capable of managing workload effectively to deliver to required deadlines and quality including whilst working remotely.
  • Effective team player that demonstrates commitment to UNDP values and displays cultural sensitivity and adaptability.
  • Good communication and inter-personal skills with the ability to communicate and interact with stakeholders at all levels and to work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse setting.
  • Good understanding of the development challenges and opportunities facing Ethiopia is required.
  • Knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda is desirable.

Required Skills and Experience


    • A minimum of a master’s degree or equivalent in the social, political or environmental sciences with a focus on development issues.  Preference will be given to recent graduates who completed their degrees within the last six years; three years for candidates with PhDs.
    • Minimum five years of professional work experience conducting research on Ethiopian development issues, preferably related to the thematic issues identified above, is required.
    • Experience in designing and conducting field research.
    • Experience in formulating and implementing development policies and strategies is an asset.
    • Strong experience in quantitative data analysis using statistical software (e.g. EViews, STATA, R or Python).
    • Experience collaborating and working in teams, exchanging information and ideas with others to reach common goals, and making a substantial contribution to the team's outputs.
    • Established network in area of research expertise is an asset.
    • Practical experience working on African development issues will be an asset.

    The Fellowship Programme is open to Ethiopian nationals only, either residing locally or in the Diaspora. Candidates must be aged 40 years or under at the time of application (45 years for women with childcare responsibilities). Qualified women, people living with disabilities and other minorities are especially encouraged to apply.


    • Successful applicants will be awarded a Fellowship with UNDP for a period of nine (9) months and will be paid a monthly stipend of USD 2,508. 
    • Selected Fellows will sign a Fellowship Undertaking Letter with UNDP before commencement of the fellowship in accordance with UNDP’s Fellowship Policy. The Fellowship Undertaking Letter and the Fellowship Policy will govern the status, rights, obligations, and duties of Fellows for the duration of the fellowship.
    • UNDP shall be entitled to all property rights, including, but not limited to, patents, copyrights and trademarks, with regards to material that bears a direct relation to, or is made as a consequence of, the activities conducted during the fellowship. 
    • Fellows may not use any information obtained by reason of their association with the Fellowship Programme without the written authorization of UNDP, and such information may never be used for personal gain. These obligations also apply after the end of the fellowship with UNDP. 
    • Fellows may not apply for, nor be appointed to, any staff position, nor may they apply to (nor be considered for) consultancies or any other type of paid engagement with UNDP during the period of their fellowship. 
    • All expenses related to Fellows’ official mission travel, including travel insurance will be met by UNDP. 
    • UNDP will be responsible for obtaining proper medical coverage for Fellows. 
    • Travel costs for the assumption of duty and repatriation at the end of the appointment will also be met by UNDP.
    • Fellows will be entitled to annual leave at the rate of one and a half (1 ½ ) days per month. 
    • Full Terms and Conditions of the Fellowship Programme will be provided in the Fellowship Undertaking Letter.


    Interested candidates are required to submit:

    • A detailed CV including three professional references and a full list of relevant publications.
    • A cover letter (not exceeding 400 words) stating why you would be an outstanding candidate for the Research Fellowship Programme and outlining how your research interests align with UNDP’s thematic priorities.
    • An actionable research proposal written in English relating directly to the issues highlighted in the UNDP Country Programme (2020-25), with a focus on topics that have a high degree of policy relevance within the context of the prevailing policy context and debate in Ethiopia.  The proposal should not exceed 3000 words.  
    • Copies of degree certificates and academic transcripts from all tertiary institutions attended.
    • A sample of a recently published research paper.
    • Three letters of recommendations.

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