Population Services International

Senior Research Advisor

Posted Date 2 weeks ago(11/16/2021 2:06 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Strategy and Insights
Position Location: City
Population Services International


Senior Research Advisor

Based in Flexible location

15-50% international travel

Work From Almost Anywhere Status = Approved US location or Nairobi, Kenya

Reports to Head of Strategic Research and Learning







Who we are

For more than 50 years, PSI has used consumer and market insights to design innovative solutions that address the global health challenges of the day, resulting in transformative contributions to global goals related to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV/AIDS, malaria and others. Our vision for the next decade is that the healthcare consumer will be at the center of healthcare systems.  We seek to listen, to help inform, and to elevate consumer voices, knowing that health outcomes will be better when we design with them instead of designing for them. More quality care and control in consumers’ hands will expand equitable access, improve sustainable health behaviors and outcomes, and accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC).

There are over 5,000 “PSI’ers” around the world across more than 40 countries. We are a diverse, multidisciplinary group of professionals with a wide range of backgrounds and experience—all with unique skills that we bring to the critically important work that we do.


Join us!

The Strategy & Insights team champions insight-driven prioritization across PSI, ensuring we are “doing the right things” even as we work on “doing things right.” The team promotes best practice in program design, marketing discipline, research, learning, and strategy development. The team works with other departments to systematically capture, synthesize, and share internal and external evidence, consumer and market insights, competitive market intelligence and program experience to guide global, market level, and program level strategy.

The Strategy & Insights team is seeking a skilled, creative, and dynamic Senior Research Advisor (SRA ) with diversity of experience and historical success designing, conceptualizing, conducting and supervising research projects in global public health, with a preference for experience in digital health research. They should have demonstrated experience using evidence for decision-making and program learning. In addition, candidates should have experience identifying evidence gaps and developing research questions, analyzing rigorous quantitative and qualitative research, and have strong communication and technical writing skills

The SRA will lead or support the design, research quality, ethical compliance, and use of research for the design, improvement, and evaluation of PSI programs and the advancement of PSI's Strategic Evidence Agenda, steering cross-cutting evidence and learning priorities across global and bilateral projects and initiatives.  The SRA will serve as a focal point or technical resource for a discrete set of high-impact countries or core strategic projects and build capacity of research staff in the design, implementation and use of research at the global or country level. The SRA will collaborate with digital leaders to shape PSI’s research agenda on digital health and provide technical support for research and learning activities to bring that vision to life. The SRA  will also engage with external communities of practice to identify opportunities for partnership, fundraising, or elevating PSI research.  A key to success of this position will require working with and through PSI project directors and technical staff across the PSI network to ensure cohesive approaches to evidence and learning.


Your contributions


Strategic Leadership in Research:

-Provide strategic technical leadership and expertise to grow and/or amplify the evidence base for what works (and what doesn’t!) in PSI programming. This includes providing leadership and technical review to high-impact PSI country offices and/or strategic projects for the design and development of high-quality, fit-for-purpose research and evidence;

-Serve as a focal point for the organization to drive forward strategy-aligned evidence activities, with an emphasis on digital health; and ensuring that PSI is using state of the art evidence for fundraising, program design, and research. This will require collaboration with the Strategy & Insights department, global technical departments, external evaluators and partners, and country teams.

-Serve as Principal Investigator on a set of strategic studies with a digital focus

-Ensure research processes are carried out in adherence to PSI’s ethical and data protection policy compliance requirements.


Thought Leadership/ Learning:

-Identify emerging research/evidence priorities within PSI and align PSI’s global research priorities with internal and external knowledge gaps; identify and nurture opportunities for evidence and learning through global and bilateral projects and initiatives. 

-Contribute to the development and implementation of thought leadership and learning agendas, including the development of and internal and external dissemination of technical and programmatic briefs, webinars, and reports.

-Engage with other PSI departments and contribute to internal decision-making as a digital health research expert. Engage externally to represent PSI research expertise and experience.

-Develop influence objectives, research utilization plans, and research outputs for strategic projects.

-Author or co-author peer review research publications.

For all these activities, experience conducting research on digital health interventions is preferable. 



-Engage with donors and communities of practice to represent PSI in external technical forums, key external working groups and advisory panels aligned with strategic evidence priorities;

-Strengthen and nurture relationships with relevant academic and research institutions, NGOs, donors and other relevant stakeholders within the global community of practice;

-Engage with strategic partners in collaborative research and learning initiatives.



-Engage with fundraising teams to win projects that include innovative/strategy-aligned research by developing original concept notes, contributing meaningfully to Theory of Change (TOC) and strategy development for technical proposals, and developing learning agendas for new business.


Program Management: 

-Accountable for budget and program research deliverables. May manage people.


What are we looking for?

  • Masters degree or PhD (preferred) in public health, epidemiology, population studies/demography, health economics, or a related field.
  • At least 8 years of related experience.  Equivalent combination of related education and experience may be substituted.
  • Demonstrated ability to design, analyze, disseminate, and manage qualitative and quantitative research. Experience in research on digital health programs and solutions strongly preferred, including formative research and evaluation of digital health interventions. Experience designing and implementing operations research, implementation science research, and user design research (UX) preferred.
  • Extensive knowledge of STATA, SAS, or R.
  • Extensive familiarity with research ethics procedures, including submission of protocols to local and international IRB boards.
  • Ability to contribute to the internal and external body of evidence by sharing knowledge with programmatic staff and other researchers, and with global communities of practice.
  • A substantial record of publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Proven experience in successfully building capacity of and mentoring researchers. Ability to develop research training tools and materials for a variety of contexts, learning curves and needs.
  • Demonstrated ability to work across multidisciplinary teams to achieve timely, high-quality outputs.
  • Ability to solve problems with creativity and analyze complex issues.
  • Able to work as a member of a team and independently.
  • Ability to lead development of technical approach for proposals and identify (and win!)  new and strategically-aligned business opportunities.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and adaptability; emotional intelligence and ability to collaborate with colleagues.
  • In-depth experience building partnerships across diverse internal and external stakeholders and donors.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Proficiency in French, Spanish, or Portuguese preferred.
  • Cultural humility and respect.


The candidate we hire will embody PSI’s corporate values:

Measurement: You use evidence to make decisions and guide your work. You set clear goalposts in advance and explain clearly if you need to move them.

Pragmatism: You’ll strive to deliver the best possible result with the resources available. You won’t be paralyzed by a need to make things perfect.

Honesty: You own your mistakes and are open about your shortcomings – it’s the only way you’ll learn and improve.

Collaboration: You’ll quickly establish a mental map of whom you can rely on for what, on your team, at headquarters, and in our country offices – if you try to do it all yourself, you won’t succeed.

Trust: You accept limits to your sphere of control and give colleagues the benefit of the doubt.

Commitment:  You are in it for the long-haul and want to grow with the organization, just like PSI serves its consumers and partners with host-country governments through thick and thin.


References will be required. The successful candidate will be required to pass a background check. For domestic positions: Must be authorized to work in the United States. N.B. PSI will not consider work visa sponsorship for this position.


PSI has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to provide a hazard free employment and work environment in our commitment to our employees. Candidates offered a position will be required to provide proof of vaccination prior to their start date and their employment will be contingent on this. Candidates needing a medical or religious accommodation should let their recruiter know.


PSI is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages applications from qualified individuals regardless of actual or perceived race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, personal appearance, matriculation, political affiliation, family status or responsibilities, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions or breastfeeding, genetic information, amnesty, veteran, special disabled veteran or uniform service member status or employment status.


ACCESSIBILITY NOTICE: If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the employment process due to a physical or mental disability, please send an email to: newhiresupport@psi.org or call (202)785-0072.


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