Senior Research Officer – IRC International Rescue committee

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, IRC offers life-saving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, IRC restores safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted by conflict or disaster. IRC leads the way from harm to home.


The IRC Jordan program was established in 2007 and is currently operating programs in Jordan and southern Syria. The IRC is providing humanitarian assistance in Jordan in the sectors of health, protection, and economic recovery and development. In 2016, IRC established a research and development unit which designs, tests and scales new products, services and delivery systems for humanitarian response. The IRC’s R&D unit works with field and technical staff to apply new practices like human-centered design, rapid prototyping, and behavioral science to accomplish breakthroughs in some of the most deep-seated problems in humanitarian response. The R&D unit is growing their partnership with the Jordan Country Program, aiming to build innovation capacity there.

In this context, the IRC launched a community-led innovation initiative called ‘Mahali’ to nurture and develop bottom-up solutions to problems facing communities in Jordan. This project engages diverse communities and stakeholders in Jordan – including host communities, refugees, public and private sector actors and enterprising individuals – to devise and develop solutions that address their own lived realities and problems. It centers around three intensive participatory “design challenges” based in a community innovation lab, with each challenge aiming to mobilize teams around developing solutions to thematic problem areas we identify together. This approach combines the best aspects of both bottom-up and formally-managed innovation processes to identify new solutions that are responsive to the changing needs of the wide range of communities in Jordan today.

Job Overview/Summary:

The IRC is seeking a Senior Research Officer to work with the Mahali lab in Amman. This initiative is a ‘bottom up’ innovation challenge process – identifying challenges which come directly from disaster affected communities and the organizations working closely with them, and activating these communities to develop new solutions to solve challenges. Reporting to the Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning Manager, you will be the lead role for ensuring that all work by Mahali and community innovators is informed by thorough research, global evidence and best practice.

Major Responsibilities:

Challenge Definition
– Comprehensive desk review and synthesis for challenge area, including:
• the national scope of the problem
• relevant legislation and regulations within the challenge area
• the key drivers of the problem
• stakeholders
• previous and current initiatives to address the problem, and their outcomes
• constraints and opportunities within the challenge area
• global and local best practice in relation to the challenge area
• emerging trends globally and locally which could have impact on the challenge area
– Design and creation of integrated research outputs with design research methodology in collaboration with Design Manager
– Stakeholder mapping that supports a partner engagement strategy in collaboration with Senior Lab Officer
– Documentation of community-led research and challenge framing into outputs

Design Sprint Team Support
● Regular scanning and synthesis of relevant evidence, analogous situations and solutions, and emergent trends or news related to the challenge or the solution, as well as support for design sprint participants to engage in scanning exercises
● Creation of outputs in collaboration with community that make research accessible to a wide range of audiences, particularly audiences that are not familiar with academic research
● Facilitation of sessions that relate to research on the challenge and solution space, developed in partnership with the Senior Mahali Lab Officer and Social Innovation Facilitator on an ongoing basis as per the needs of the participating teams
● Documentation of research support strategies for community-led teams

Global Best Practice and Learning Agenda
● Engagement of Mahali staff in scanning exercises, support for presentation of weekly scanning brief at team meetings
● Research on strategic questions related to the learning agenda and design of the Mahali program, developed in collaboration with the MEL Manager and Innovation Coordinator
● Documentation of strategies to support
● Support the Mahali team and design sprint participants to develop a culture of being research and evidence-based

Key Working Relationships
Position Reports to: MEL Manager
Position Manages: none
Other Direct Internal Contacts: Design Manager, Senior Mahali Lab Officer, Innovation Coordinator

Job Details

Posted Date: 2018-05-16
Job Location: Amman, Jordan
Job Role: Research and Development
Company Industry: Community/Social Services/and Nonprofit

Preferred Candidate

Career Level: Mid Career

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