Director of Research & Innovation

Closing date:

The Health Support Organisation (THESO) is a leading 501 (3) (C) registered South Sudanese based international nongovernmental, non-profit organisation dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering in Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Our mission is to implement evidence-based, culturally Sensitive, innovative projects promoting health, according to perceived public health needs and priorities as understood through quality research. THESO 2030 strategy is contributing to achieving global strategies 2030 Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4 and 6 set targets and beyond in LMICs. To establish well-performing sustainable health system, Education system, and WASH system in developing countries, THESO is working with governments, UN Agencies and other stakeholders to achieves resilience and sustained outcomes through continuous improvement of the four sectors of Health, Nutrition, Education, WASH and Research.

Context and Background

THESO has been working in South Sudan since mid 2008, and currently runs 4 field programme offices across Africa. THESO strategic plan (2021 – 2025) includes expansion of its programme to other countries, deepen its working relationship with host governments & partners at all levels, develop a gradual exit strategy to allow the smooth transfer of specific facilities to government, and support affected people with emergency response, recovery and resilience programmes. The primary focus of THESO South Sudan programme is integrated healthcare, Education, WASH, and community based and health facilities-based management of malnutrition. The special emphasis is given to maternal and child health care services. Using our expertise, we support aid workers and strengthen existing services. We build resilience by helping societies at risk of future disasters, to be better prepared.

We believe that everyone has the right to access and utilise free public health services with dignity. We believe good health is fundamental to transforming societies in transition that’s why THESO is a Force for Health to build healthy communities.

THESO is seeking to recruit a Director of Research & Innovation for its South Sudan programme to be based in Juba South Sudan.

The Director of Research & Innovation serves as an integral policy leader for the organisation, working with the Chief Executive and policy team in shaping and executing THESO’s policy vision. The position is primarily responsible for overseeing and coordinating the policy research of the organisation, supervising the policy staff, leading quality control efforts, developing policy reports on topics not covered by other members of the policy team, and assisting organizational leadership in the development and execution of THESO’s research and advocacy agenda.

The Director off Research & Innovation must be adept at research and analysis and possess excellent writing, editing and oral communication skills. The director must be organised, a problem solver, self-directed, and demonstrate leadership and initiative, while at the same time being a committed team player. The position requires political savvy, a keen understanding of major public policy issues facing developing countries and strong leadership and project management skills.

Supervisor: ​The Research Director reports to the Chief Executive.

Duties & Responsibilities

  1. Policy Research Coordination and Quality Control
  2. Coordinates development of THESO’s policy research agendas and work plans, working in conjunction with the Chief Executive and policy staff.
  3. Develops and maintains systems to support research coordination and goals. Manages the research process and keeps products on track for release dates determined in partnership with THESO leadership.
  4. Reviews and edits all policy reports and fact sheets produced by policy staff, as well as other materials such as blogs, testimony and talking points as needed.
  5. Reviews all materials developed by policy staff to ensure methods and findings conform to THESOstandards for qualitative and quantitative research, asking for changes or additional documentation from policy staff when needed.
  6. Works with THESO leadership to identify new research and analysis opportunities and to further develop THESO policy agenda.
  7. Public Policy and Advocacy
  8. Provides technical assistance and support when need is identified and/or requested.
  9. Assists the Chief Executive in developing and executing THESO advocacy and legislative agenda.
  10. External Relations
  11. Takes a leadership role in work with partner organisations around key policy issues, primarily but not limited to issues not covered by other policy staff members.
  12. Serves as a leading resource and liaison to local, state and national partner organisations.
  13. Other
  14. Provides technical and other assistance for other THESO staff members in general and for newly hired policy analysts.
  15. Participates in various THESO internal meetings, including those related to program planning, resource utilization, and scheduling.
  16. Performs other duties as assigned related to the mission of NJPP or to support coalition partners, funders, or other stakeholders.

Core Competencies

  1. Staff Management and Mentoring
  2. Builds meaningful partnerships with analysts, interns and other staff.
  3. Nurtures relationships with diverse backgrounds, value systems, needs and wants.
  4. Assists, supports, and encourages others in identifying difficulties, prioritising tasks, defining goals and producing positive results.
  5. Shares expertise and provides informal advice and developmental feedback.
  6. Supports THESO’s team environment.
  7. Maintains a genuine interest in facilitating the personal and professional growth of team.
  8. Strategic Leadership and Agility
  9. Holds a clear vision of policy agenda and goals that is shared by leadership and staff.
  10. Demonstrates ability to lead policy team toward those goals.
  11. Anticipates trending issues and potential opportunities and consequences accurately.
  12. Can juggle complex and occasionally shifting timelines.
  13. Works constructively with THESO leadership and board.
  14. Quantitative/Qualitative Skills
  15. Analyzes and clearly documents data to make comparisons and draw conclusions.
  16. Identifies cause and effect relationships to solve complex problems.
  17. Identifies opportunities to visualize data and/or present analysis creatively to expand potential reach and impact.
  18. Effectively reviews work of policy analysts to probe for data discrepancies, logical inconsistencies or suggest alternatives approaches to analysis.
  19. Written Communications and Editing
  20. Prepares written documentation to transfer technical information about concepts, situations, products, services or results to diverse audiences.
  21. Is able to organize, express and communicate ideas in a clear, succinct, accurate Duties and convincing manner through a variety of communication settings and styles. c. Improves reports, fact sheets and other written materials developed by policy team through substantive suggestions and light copy editing.
  22. External Communication and Presentation Skills
  23. Clearly and effectively conveys information, both verbally and visually.
  24. Is effective in a variety of formal presentation settings: one-on-one, small and large groups, with peers, direct reports and to the media.
  25. Is effective both inside and outside the organization on both cool data and hot and controversial topics.
  26. Interpersonal Communications
  27. Demonstrates adaptive and effective communications suitable for a wide range of audiences.
  28. Actively listens to seek clarification and understanding.
  29. Open to considering other viewpoints.
  30. Uses diplomacy and tact.
  31. Can be counted on to hold things together during tough times, can handle stress.
  32. Priority Setting and Problem Solving
  33. Spends time on what’s important.
  34. Quickly zeros in on the critical few and puts the trivial many aside.
  35. Eliminates roadblocks and creates focus.
  36. Probes all sources for answers, looks beyond the obvious.
  37. Re-prioritizes projects to incorporate additional demands without difficulty.
  38. Internal and External Political Savvy
  39. Understands the political environment, management priorities, staff roles and responsibilities and grasps external factors impacting the organisation.
  40. Identifies when issues need to be shared and discussed with other members of policy team, THESO leadership and/or external partners.
  41. Perceives organizational and political sensitivities and acts accordingly.
  42. Understands different people’s attitudes about power and politics and adapts personal approaches for optimal influence.
  43. Networking/Relationship building/Collaboration
  44. Works cooperatively with others, inside and outside the organisation, to accomplish objectives to build and maintain partnerships, leverage information, and achieve results.
  45. Identifies, organizes, facilitates and /or sustains mutually beneficial partnerships and alliances with internal and external stakeholders.
  46. Maintains positive and productive relationships.
  47. Works with others to share information and achieve goals.

How to apply

Interested applicant can submit her/his curriculum vitae, application letter and supporting documents to THESO by email to: while copying

THESO is an equal opportunity employer and women candidates are encouraged to apply

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