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Job ID: 183956

Senior Researcher
Tufts University

Date Posted Apr. 14, 2022
Title Senior Researcher
University Tufts University
Boston, MA, United States
Department The Trustees of Tufts College
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Research Scientist/Associate
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
    Social Work


Established in 1981, the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy is the only graduate and professional school of nutrition in North America. Its mission is to improve the nutritional well-being of people worldwide through:

  • the creation of new knowledge
  • the application and dissemination of evidence-based information and
  • the education and training of future leaders in the field

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) funds multi-year development activities in low- and middle-income countries. These activities, involving both financial support and food assistance, are implemented in-country by US-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which submit proposals in response to Requests for Proposals (RFAs) issued by BHA.  Starting in 2016, BHA began requiring applicants to incorporate explicit sustainability plans, detailing what strategies they would use to ensure that the activities and impacts of their activities would persist once the projects ended and support was withdrawn.  The requirement was substantially based on earlier work conducted at Tufts Friedman School which resulted in a set of criteria for sustainability; these were incorporated into the RFA process and now constitute an important component of evaluation of these proposals.


The present study will review the experience of NGOs in responding to the sustainability requirement both at the proposal stage and during implementation in the field, to determine the extent to which activities funded since 2016 have successfully incorporated the sustainability guidance in the RFA, whether and how activities were modified over the course of their implementation in ways that enhanced or reduced the likelihood of sustainability, and what challenges were encountered.  The objective is to enable guidance improvements by identifying specific strategy design approaches, contextual factors, and practical program implementation elements that appear most likely to achieve the promise of sustainability within USAID/BHA-funded development programs. We will assess the practicality and effectiveness of USAID/BHA’s guidance through documenting programs’ experience first in developing and then in implementing sustainability plans.

What You'll Do

This is a one-year grant funded, limited-term appointment with the possibility of extension based on available funding.


Position to start as soon as possible.


The study will involve desk review of RFAs, proposals submitted by successful applicant NGOs, related project documents (e.g., progress reports, evaluations, project modifications) and relevant BHA documents, as well as remote interviews with BHA staff, NGO staff, and project stakeholders.


Under the guidance of the Principal Investigators, the Senior Researcher will co-lead the study,  contributing to the design of study instruments and protocols and taking primary responsibility for implementing these protocols, including but not limited to: reviewing project documents and extracting data using the approved instruments, contributing to the design of interview guides, conducting relevant interviews, implementing qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts, and contributing to the synthesis and write-up of the results.


The Senior Researcher will take the lead in structuring the day-to-day workflows, scheduling activities, and ensuring communication with prospective respondents and within the study.  In this role, the Senior Researcher will also be responsible for coordinating the day-to-day work of the part time researcher on the study.

What We're Looking For

Minimum Required Experience, Education, Background, and Certifications/Licenses

  • Masters degree in social science field related to economic development, health and nutrition, agriculture and natural resource management, anthropology, or related field; PhD preferred.
  • 3-5 years work experience in low-income developing country settings
  • Proficiency with qualitative data collection and proficient in qualitative data analysis
  • Knowledge of international nutrition, food, and agriculture policy issues
  • Proven ability to interact and effectively collaborate with diverse colleagues
  • Proficient in use of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to work independently and meet deadlines with efficiency and accuracy
  • Ability to communicate with clarity, sensitivity, diplomacy, and tact with a range of international organizations, collaborating senior researchers, government stakeholders, and donor representatives.
  • Ability to write clearly and effectively for scientific and policy audiences and to draft and edit reports and manuscripts
  • Capacity and commitment to function as part of a team
  • Cultural sensitivity, patience, respect, and a helpful attitude toward resolving problems and answering questions are essential.


Additional Preferred Experience

  • PhD/doctoral level degree in social science field related to economic development, health and nutrition, agriculture and natural resource management, anthropology, or related field
  • Experience working on USAID-funded activities
  • Experience using qualitative data analysis software
  • Foreign language capability (French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese)

Special Work Schedule Requirements:

  • The PIs for this study are based in Boston, but this position allows for either onsite, remote, or hybrid work. Due to differing time zones, interviews may be scheduled outside of normal office hours.  Occasional research team meetings and project deadlines may also sometimes require working beyond normal office hours.


An employee in this position must complete all appropriate background checks at the time of hire, promotion, or transfer.


Equal Opportunity Employer - minority/females/veterans/disability/sexual orientation/gender identity.

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