Data Scientist, “Monitoring Hate Speech in the Arab Region” Regional Initiative


Location : Home Based
Application Deadline :28-Sep-19 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Arabic   English   French  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
15-Oct-2019
Duration of Initial Contract :85 working days over a period of 7 months

Background

Social and cultural diversity in the Arab region is facing increasing threats due to various internal and external factors, be it socio-political, economic, environmental or geopolitical. The erosion of state structures in some Arab countries and structurally weak institutions that lack the mandate to enforce inclusive citizenship are among the driving forces behind identitarian (or identity-based) polarization and propaganda, and this has contributed to the rise of hate speech in many Arab countries. At the same time, freedom of speech and expression has been witnessing a setback in recent years, despite resistance from citizens who are becoming more vocal in voicing their demands given the expansion of the informal public space made possible by advancement in information and communication technology (ICT).

In the Arab region, mobile-cellular subscriptions have increased by around 40% between 2010 and 2018 and estimated to have reached a penetration rate of 103% by the end of 2018. The percentage of individuals (% of total population) using the internet in the Arab region is also expected to have more than doubled by the end of 2018, levelling at 54.7% up from 24% in 2010.[1] Social media has also grown into a powerful tool of political and social interaction and opened the door for not only self-expression but also for collective expression of various groups. The total number of monthly active Twitter users in the Arab region is estimated to have reached 11.1 million in March 2017, up from 5.8 million in 2014, of which 29% are in Saudi Arabia and 18% in Egypt. Out of the 166 million internet users in 13 Arab countries, 66% (or 110 million) have opened Facebook accounts by December 2017.[2]

With the aim to capitalize on the potential of big data and AI technologies, the “Monitoring Hate Speech in the Arab Region” regional initiative will explore the use of these under-utilized and promising technologies - without compromising impartiality, privacy rights, and methodological/conceptual soundness – to monitor and understand the rise of hate speech in a world that is being shaped by new developments in ICT and rapidly increasing mobile phone and internet penetration. Online platforms are viewed as having indirectly triggered the rise of violent content by offering a relatively inexpensive space to disseminate and build up a community of followers, and studies have argued that social media platforms tend to offer more visibility to negative. It has been argued that an open space of freedom of expression has indirectly led to the spread of hate speech and discriminatory language, especially against groups that are considered an easy target outside virtual space. In one way, the virtual space has mimicked the power relations that exist in the non-virtual world, giving power to specific groups to attach more marginalized groups, and this unbalanced power dynamics is being maintained by the de facto legal and institutional framework that does not treat all citizens equally in some Arab countries. 


Duties and Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Project Manager and Technical Specialist and the Research Team Leader, the “Monitoring Hate Speech in the Arab Region” regional initiative is looking to recruit a Data Scientist with advanced skills in big data analytics to develop an operational back-end dashboard to uncover hidden patterns, complex correlations and other insights as requested by the Research Team Leader. The Data Scientist should have the technical capacity to work with unstructured data, knowledge of AI and machine learning and big data programming languages (R, Python, Java, SQL. Etc). The consultant should have the capacity to offers solutions on how to think strategically about the uses of new digital data sources and to develop new approaches to detecting events and trends within real-time data sources such as social media platforms.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide analytics on layering non-traditional and unstructured datasets in a visually comprehensible manner;
  • Carry out large scale data processing, mining and interpretation by designing and installing efficient models to collect and retrieve information from large databases based on the statistical model developed by the Research Team Leader;
  • Conduct pattern analysis to detect trends within large volumes of data using statistical and mathematical models or algorithms;
  • Write the necessary programming and coding and test that it is functional without any fallacies;
  • Advise on solutions to address structural and technical limitations. 


Competencies

Corporate

  • Demonstrates integrity and fairness, by modeling the UN/UNDP’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Functional

  • Excellent quantitative skills
  • Good teamwork and interpersonal skills;
  • Flexibility and ability to handle multiple tasks and work under pressure;

Knowledge Management and Learning

  • Ability to strongly promote and build knowledge products;

Judgment/Decision-Making

  • Mature judgment and initiative.


Required Skills and Experience

Education

  • MSc in Computer Science with at least 7 years of conducting quantitative research on big data analytics and knowledge of big data programming languages and libraries (R, Phython, TensorFlow, Spark or Scala, Storm, etc.)
  • Ability to use Google Cloud to structure, clean, query and visualize the results.

Work experience

  • Proven track record in leading complex computer science programming tasks;
  • Proven track record in modeling unstructured data (extracted from social media platforms, among others) and SQL/No-SQL database management;
  • Knowledge of big data programming languages (R, Phython, Spark or Scala, etc.)
  • Solid quantitative and analytical skills;
  • Strong understanding of big data analytics, deep learning and AI; and the limitations of databases;
  • Ability to visualize data using various tools and software;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and able to coordinate with diverse team members;
  • Previous experience working for the UN is a strong advantage.

Language Requirements

  • Language proficiency in English, French and Arabic is required.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENT

  • The individual is required to exhibit his or her full-time commitment with UNDP-RBAS during the number of working days specified in the contract;
  • S/He shall perform tasks under the general guidance and direct supervision of the Project Manager and Research Team Leader of the “Monitoring Hate Speech in the Arab Region” regional initiative. The supervision will include approvals/acceptance of the outputs as identified in the previous section;
  • The individual is expected to liaise and collaborate in the course of performing the work with other consultants, suppliers and UNDP colleagues;
  • The individual is required to maintain close communication with UNDP-RBAS on regular and needed basis at any period throughout the assignment in order to monitor progress. In the event of any delay, s/he will inform UNDP promptly so that decisions and remedial action may be taken accordingly;
  • Should UNDP deem it necessary, it reserves the right to commission additional inputs, reviews or revisions, as needed to ensure the quality and relevance of the work.

DURATION OF THE WORK

The duration of the work is expected to be 85 working days from contract signature date over a period of 7 months.

DUTY STATION

This assignment is home-based .

If unforeseen travel outside the consultant home based city is requested by UNDP and not required by the Terms of References (ToR), such travel shall be covered by UNDP in line with applicable rules and regulations and upon prior written agreement. In such cases, the consultant shall receive living allowances not exceeding the United Nations (UN) Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) rate for such other location(s).

RECOMMENDED PRESENTATION OF OFFER

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications. Candidates that fail to submit the required information will not be considered.

  1. Duly accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the template provided by UNDP;
  2. Personal CV, indicating all past experience from similar projects, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate and at least three (3) professional references;
  3. Brief description of why the individual considers him/herself as the most suitable for the assignment, including references to how she/he will approach and complete the assignment.

Interested candidates shall submit above documents to the Job Advertisement Website: https://jobs.undp.org/cj_view_jobs.cfm  as one document not later than 28 September 2019.

Interested candidates can find Procurement notice, letter of confirmation of interest and availability and P11 http://procurement-notices.undp.org/

Please do not submit financial proposal in this stage.  Financial proposal shall be requested from Candidates who are considered technically responsive

EVALUATION

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the following methodologies:

Step I: Screening and desk review:

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the following methodology.

Applications will be first screened and only candidates meeting the following minimum requirements will progress to the pool for shortlisting:

  1. MSc in computer science with an emphasis on data science.
  2. Minimum 7 years of experience conducting and leading projects on big data.
  3. Language proficiency in English, French and Arabic is required.

Technical evaluation Criteria max 100 points (Weighted 70):

  1. MSc in computer science with an emphasis on data science (20 points);
  2. Minimum 7 years of experience conducting and leading projects on big data (20 points);
  3. Proven experience using big data programming languages (R, Thython, Spark, or Scala, etc.)  (10 points);
  4. Previous experience working with the UN (10 points);
  5. Language proficiency in English, French and Arabic (10 points);
  6. Proven track record in modeling unstructured data (extracted from social media platforms, among others) and SQL/No-SQL database management (10 points);
  7. Strong understanding of big data analytics, deep learning and AI; and the limitations of databases (10 points);
  8. Ability to visualize data using various tools and software (10 points);

Financial Criteria - 30% of total evaluation

For those offers considered in the financial evaluation, the lowest price offer will receive 30 points.                 
The other offers will receive points in relation to the lowest offer, based on the following formula:
(PI / Pn)* 30 where Pn is the financial offer being evaluated and Pl is the lowest financial offer received.

Step II: Final evaluation

The final evaluation will combine the scores of the desk review and the financial proposal with the following weights assigned to each:

Individual consultants will be evaluated based on the cumulative analysis methodology (weighted scoring method), where the award of the contract will be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

  • Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and
  • Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

Technical Criteria weight: [70%]
Financial Criteria weight: [30%]

Only Individual Consultants obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70%) on the Technical evaluation would be considered for the Financial Evaluation.


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.


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