Médecins Sans Frontières Luxembourg, Operational Center Brussels, is looking for an Qualitative Research Mobile Implementation Officer (f/m/x)  to join their Operational Research Team LuxOR. The opportunity is for a full-time position on a 1-year contract.

Application deadline: 31st March 2021

Applications should be submitted to [email protected].


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides aid in more than 70 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliation.

MSF Luxembourg is a historical partner section of the MSF movement created in 1986. With 35 staff members, the section’s team works to raise awareness on humanitarian issues among Luxembourg’s population, raise funds needed to finance humanitarian interventions, supports MSF volunteers who go into the field and carry out operational research projects directly linked to health programmes to help improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

Nine MSF partner sections (Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa and Sweden) and the Lebanon Branch Office, make up the Operational Center Brussels (OCB).

The medical department is a network of units, in Brussels, the Brussels Medical Unit (BRUMED), in Cape Town, the Southern African Medical Unit (SAMU), in Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR), in Beirut, the Middle East Medical Unit (MEMU) and positions based around the world. The department is composed of members working in the operations department in a dual-matrix system (deputy cell coordinators & medical officers) and experts working in the medical department itself. The experts cover the following domains: anaesthesia, antibiotic resistance, capacity building & mentoring for healthcare professionals, change management, chronic non-communicable diseases, critical care, data protection & data sharing, emergency medicine & toxicology, emergency preparedness, environmental health, epidemiology, general surgery & orthopaedics, health promotion & anthropology, hepatitis C, HIV, infection prevention & control, infectious diseases, knowledge management, laboratory, malaria & vector-borne diseases, medical data & health informatics, medical devices, mental health, microbiology, nursing care, nutrition, operational research and documentation, paediatrics & adolescents health, pharmacy, primary healthcare, public health, sexual & reproductive health, tuberculosis, vaccination, victims of torture and viral haemorrhagic fever & emerging infectious diseases. The department is organized in resources deployed in thematic circles.

Operational research and documentation are an integral part of the medical department activities. There are two relatively autonomous units supporting operational research. The LuxOR unit has core activities including operational research capacity building and a focus on research linked to a non-HIV/TB related agenda. The second unit is SAMU who are focussing on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis.

Since 2009, MSF Luxembourg has been putting its expertise at the service of the development of medical research in the field through LuxOR within OCB Medical Department. Operational Research helps MSF take an in-depth look at its programmes and operations, evaluates what is working well, and shows what needs to be improved. LuxOR shares findings with the international MSF-movement and partner organizations, and advocates for evidence-based policy and practices changes with local and international stakeholders. Supported studies are published in renowned scientific journals, and openly available to researchers and the global humanitarian community.

More information can be found on: https://msf.lu/en/operational-research/luxor and https://samumsf.org/en

Functional interaction

  • The LuxOR Director will be the reference person regarding guiding global policy and strategic aspects of Luxor’s operational research in MSF and provides strategic guidance to team members. He/she reports directly to the Luxembourg GD.
  • The Program Officer is responsible for team management, support to the pool of field epidemiologists and allocation of HR related to operational research. She is also responsible for linkage between LuxOR, Operations and the Medical Department in Brussels.
  • The Qualitative Research MIO will work in pair with the other qualitative research advisor and will have close interaction with team members in LuxOR and SAMU. Continuous interaction with the field, operational cells and the medical department will be necessary to support operational research and documentation activities. The LuxOR team consists of research advisors and mobile/flying implementation officers, there is no hierarchical link between positions.  S/he will report to LuxOR Program Officer and SAMU Research Coordinator.

Main activities/responsibilities

The Qualitative Research MIO will support operational research activities at field level. The main tasks are:

  • Support the medical department and the operations to define and prioritize qualitative and mixed-methods research in the OR agenda.
  • Develop further qualitative research capacity within MSF through tools, trainings, mentoring, coaching and supporting of other researchers in HQ and the field.
  • Review/draft qualitative and mixed-methods operational research study protocols and provide technical and editorial support to comply with MSF and local Ethical Review Boards requirements.
  • Conduct fieldwork (interviews/focus groups/participant observation/ Train research assistants/translators in the field) and data analysis when required. Field trips can take up to 60% of working time and is a shared responsibility with the other qualitative research advisor.
  • Provide editorial and manuscript writing support for publication, policy briefs, program descriptions, advocacy pieces,… according to an agreed platform of delegated responsibility between existing members of the Operational Research team.
  • Disseminate research findings through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at conferences/workshops and mentor other researchers for abstract and presentation development for Scientific Days/OR days.
  • Be involved with setting up capacity building sessions on operational research (SORT-IT courses and others).
  • In link with other members of the team, be directly responsible to regularly update and manage the yearly operational research and documentation agenda.
  • Provide support to the pool of epidemiologists when needed.

Education and experience requirements

  • (Alternative) Postgraduate degree in Public Health, Health Promotion, Anthropology of health, Sociology of Health.
  • Field experience in MSF or another humanitarian NGO, including having worked in the context of health systems in a developing country.
  • Experience in qualitative data collection and analysis and/or mixed-methods, either in operational research, or qualitative assessments and surveys. Familiarity with the main qualitative methodologies and techniques (Focus Group Discussion; In-depth Interviews; Key-Informants Interviews; Participant observation)
  • Capacity to quickly get familiar with the literature on different topics related to the operational priorities (environmental health, migration, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, outbreaks,…)
  • Very high level of spoken English, scientific writing skills and ability to use the editorial pen on manuscripts for publication and other descriptive documentation.
  • Spoken French is essential while written French is an asset.

Soft skills requirements

  • A high degree of work autonomy, team interaction and diplomacy are required to be able to interact at various levels within the department, in MSF and outside.
  • Ability to adapt to changing circumstances, contexts, tasks, responsibilities and people.
  • Willingness and ability to function in a team, transparent communication with colleagues, willingness to share work and experiences, give and ask support when needed.
  • Solid scientific rigor and honesty, transparency, attention to detail.
  • Ability to handle multiple projects or activities simultaneously, and to deliver quality outputs within deadlines.
  • Proactivity and leadership capacity to drive operational research.
  • Flexibility for regular travel, possibly at short notice.  Ability and willingness to spend time in often difficult and unstable contexts.

Contract conditions and benefits

  • 1-year contract – Full time position
  • Based in Brussels, Luxembourg, Beirut or Cape Town (depending on the candidate)
  • Salary and benefits according to the location
  • Contract start date: ASAP

Application deadline: 31st of March, 2021

Candidate applications must include a CV and a cover letter.

Applications should be submitted to [email protected] and specify the position reference: “Qualitative Research MIO”

MSF values diversity and is committed to create an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

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