Data Scientist Officer

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WFP - World Food Programme

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Application deadline 1 month ago: Saturday 1 Oct 2022 at 00:59 UTC

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Job Title: Data Scientist Officer (Predictive Analytics)

Type of Contract: Limited Fixed Term, P3

Division: Research Assessment and Monitoring (RAM)

Duty Station (City, Country): Rome, Italy

Duration: 2-years


The Hunger Monitoring Unit (RAMAH) in WFP’s Research Assessment and Monitoring (RAM) Division manages WFP’s global hunger monitoring systems, building upon the successes of the mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) initiative. This entails the establishment and oversight of WFP’s remote food security monitoring systems in dozens of countries, as well as developing and refining advanced analytical approaches - including predictive analytics capacities for nowcasting and forecasting food security indicators.

Data from these systems flows into the HungerMap LIVE (, WFP’s global hunger monitoring system. This information is also published through Global and Regional Insights and Key Trends reports and other related resources, enabling decision makers to monitor the situation effectively and adopt early mitigation actions.

RAMAH seeks a data scientist to lead the Unit’s work on predictive analytics and manage the data science team. The lead data scientist will collaborate extensively with internal and external partners and will be responsible for designing and coordinating research projects to develop predictive analytics methodologies for food security monitoring. The incumbent will also play a key role in identifying opportunities to achieve Zero Hunger and lead data innovation efforts producing predictive analytics tools for improving humanitarian and development programmes.

  • Oversee the Unit’s work and strategy on predictive analytics, data science, and other relevant research and innovation areas.
  • Design, coordinate and manage research projects on predictive analytics for food security monitoring, including the development of Machine-learning models for estimating food security indicators and assessing the correlation between food insecurity and its drivers.
  • Design and oversee a strategy of technical engagement for the Unit’s predictive analytics work: identify relevant fundraising and grant opportunities, relevant actors, and research groups the Unit should engage with, etc. This includes maintaining the ongoing research collaborations with universities, research institutes and other UN agencies.
  • Write technical project proposals and grant applications for predictive analytics and other research and innovation projects.

  • Coordinate with other workstream leads (e.g., software development, continuous monitoring), as well as other unit within RAMAH and WFP as needed to carry out transversal projects and tasks.

  • Participate in scientific and humanitarian conferences, workshops and meetings to present the Unit’s predictive analytics work and to keep up do date on the latest advances in AI, data science and predictive modeling, and their applications in food security monitoring.
  • Participate in working groups within WFP and with external partners on predictive analytics and AI for food security.
  • Produce internal documentation and sensitization material on predictive analytics and its demystification.
  • Travel to WFP country offices and regional bureaus to carry out sensitization and training activities on these topics.


  • Overall management of the predictive analytics workstream.
  • Methods and code for predictive models for food security monitoring developed.
  • Scientific paper(s) submitted to peer-reviewed journals.
  • Project proposals and grant applications developed and submitted.
  • Presentations and communication\advocacy materials on the Unit’s predictive analytics work developed and delivered.
  • Trainings and/or sensitization activities on predictive analytics and data science facilitated; field missions undertaken as needs arise.


Advanced university degree in mathematics, computer science, data science, physics, or similar quantitative field.


A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in data science is required. Experience managing a team is required.

Knowledge and Skills:

  1. Proficient knowledge in predictive modelling, machine learning and applied statistics is required.
  2. Experience in managing partnerships and research projects is required.
  3. Experience in developing predictive analytics methodologies is required.
  4. Python programming skills and experience with data science libraries (pandas, numpy, scikit-learn, etc.) is required.
  5. Understanding of databases (SQL and/or noSQL) and developer tools (git, aws, docker, etc.) is required.
  6. Experience with Remote Sensing data and GIS skills (QGIS) is preferred.
  7. Experience working with the humanitarian sector or in a social science field is preferred.
  8. Experience in communicating data science projects to non-technical audience would be an asset.


Spoken and written English required.

Terms and Conditions:

WFP offers a competitive compensation package which will be determined by the contract type and selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WFP. Click on: “Our work” and “Countries” to learn more about WFP’s operations.

Deadline for applications: 12 September 2022

Ref.: VA No. 172880

All employment decisions are made on the basis of organizational needs, job requirements, merit, and individual qualifications. WFP is committed to providing an inclusive work environment free of sexual exploitation and abuse, all forms of discrimination, any kind of harassment, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. Therefore, all selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

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