Job Opportunity: Computational Social Scientist

Job Opportunity: Computational Social Scientist

Please kindly read the entire job posting. Application instructions are located at the end.

Data-Pop Alliance is looking for a Data Scientist/Computer Scientist. We are an international nonprofit created in 2013 out of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), the MIT Media Lab and ODI. We bring together researchers, experts, practitioners, and activists to change the world with data through three pillars of work: diagnosing local realities and human problems with data and AI; mobilizing capacities, communities, and ideas towards more data-literate societies; and transforming the systems and processes that underpin our societies and countries. 

DPA has partnered with and received funding from organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, UNDP, FAO, UN ESCWA, GIZ (German development agency), the Vodafone Institute, Oxfam México and other key international stakeholders to develop projects in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA), and Asia. To learn more about DPA, please visit our website or read our “Outlook and Overview” annual reports for 2019-20, 2020-22 and 2021-23

DPA’s projects are managed and carried out by a core team of about 41 people, including Directors, Managers, Officers, Data Scientists, Research Assistants, and Interns.

Dates: Immediate start. 3-month trial period with a longer-term contract to follow, based on performance. 

Location:  Remote, preferably between UTC -1 to UTC +4 time zones.

Reporting to the Research Director of Data Science and working closely with the Just Digital Transformations Director.   Amongst others, primary activities for the Computational Social Scientist include:

Scope of Work

The Project and Research Manager will be supported by Project Officers and program staff, and report to the Program Director. He, she or they will:

1.Research (40%)
  • Use and test state-of-the-art methodologies for collecting, processing, and analyzing data on topics relevant to the development and humanitarian sectors, including monitoring and evaluation, data-driven public policy recommendations, inequalities, socioeconomic data, gender data, etc.
  • Propose and/or creating methodologies that leverage non-traditional data sources to understand humanitarian and development problems
  • Contribute to the data science team throughout project cycles by:
    • Understand the context and needs of stakeholders
    • Create analysis/research questions
    • Assess and quantify limitations and uncertainty of outputs
    • Participate in developing technical grant proposals
    • Ensure high-quality data project implementation
    • Contribute to strengthening DPA’s data science and research expertise
  • Collaborate with the data team in developing key research lines and questions and identifying research topics of interest
2. Data Science (60%)
  • Perform data engineering tasks including (non-exhaustive list):
    • Knowledge on data pipelines (e.g. should know data lakes, data warehouses, ETL, etc.)
    • Be able to simultaneously exploiting structured or unstructured data
    • Gather and effectively communicate data requirements by project
    • Combine raw information from different sources
    • Create organizational data infrastructures to support the processing and analysis of data for projects
    • Prepare data for processing
  • Prepare data for prescriptive and predictive modeling
  • Perform data analytics tasks including descriptive and predictive analytics
  • Develop machine learning models, including natural language processing algorithms and others
  • Create simple interactive maps and visualizations summarizing the key findings for the projects.
  • Build internal tools to support data efforts


  • MSc/MA in Computer Science, Statistics, Applied Mathematics, Data Science, or any other related field is required. A Bachelor’s degree in computer science, statistics, or a related field is a plus.
  • Highly proficient and experienced in programming languages and statistical computing skills, that is, fluency in Scala and/or Python or R amongst others.
  • Proficient in Hadoop and related technologies including HDFS, Spark, Impala and Hive
  • Experienced with Linux
  • Experienced with data modeling
  • Proven experience with natural language processing algorithms including conducting sentiment analysis.
  • Experience in cloud computing is desirable.
  • Knowledge of PowerBI is desirable.
  •  Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative impact evaluation methods and techniques is a plus
  • Bilingual proficiency in English and French is requisite (able to write and deliver conferences, reports, etc in both languages). Arabic or Spanish is highly desirable.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • A self-starter, disciplined, driven, eager to learn, grow and make an impact. 
  • Successful experience working in a multicultural environment with partners and people of different backgrounds and levels of seniority.
  • Availability to travel (only if necessary and according to the current COVID-19 situation).
  • Working experience applying data science to social science research and/or development field is highly desirable.

Candidates should be able to work independently, manage their time wisely, and meet deadlines. They should be detail-focused, reliable, professional, and possess strong research, writing, editing, and analysis skills, as well as excellent communication, and interpersonal skills.


Competitive and based on experience.

Recruitment Process

Qualified candidates are requested to submit a CV, and a cover letter with two academic or work references to with the subject line “R2023002_Computational Social Scientist” by February 4, 2023, 6:00 pm EST. Candidates will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so early application is strongly encouraged.

Please note that only complete applications submitted in English will be considered. Due to the large volume of applications, only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Also, rename each document you’ll submit with your name, the position, and the type of document you are submitting. Ie. FIRSTNAME LASTNAME_Position_CV.

Equal opportunity

Data-Pop Alliance employs personnel without regard to race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, language, citizenship, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, physical and/or mental handicap or financial ability. While remaining alert and sensitive to the issue of fair and equitable treatment for all, Data-Pop Alliance has a special concern with the participation and advancement of members of four designated groups that have traditionally been disadvantaged in employment: women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities.


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