Giga Jobs

Research Lead (Technology)

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Contract type: Consultancy

Duration: 12 months

Application deadline: 27 May 2024, at 11.55 pm CET

Link to apply via UNICEF Portal


Giga seeks a Research Lead (Technology) to join one of the most innovative and impactful initiatives at the United Nations whose aim is to connect every school in the world to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity and choice. Located within UNICEF’s Giga team, this role focuses on advancing data and technology through research in areas like AI, blockchain, and machine learning on satellite imagery. Research Lead (Technology) will lead a team to drive technological innovations and deliver insights that support Giga’s strategic decisions, optimizing connectivity and developing advanced technology solutions. Under the guidance of the Innovation Manager, this role is critical in shaping the future of global educational connectivity and technological deployment.

Your responsibilities will be…
  • Team Leadership and Management: Lead a dynamic team of researchers, fostering professional development and ensuring alignment with organizational goals.
  • Research Strategy Development: Develop and execute research strategies that leverage AI, blockchain, and other emerging technologies to support Giga’s mission.
  • Project Oversight: Manage the full lifecycle of research projects from planning through execution and completion, ensuring efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Collaboration Enhancement: Build and maintain academic and industry partnerships to enhance research quality and applicability.
  • Cross-Functional Integration: Work closely with product management, procurement, and business development teams to integrate research findings into practical applications.
  • Insight Generation: Synthesize research data into actionable insights and strategic recommendations.
  • Communication and Dissemination: Communicate research outcomes to both internal stakeholders and the broader community to influence and inform on Giga’s advancements.

Please access the full Term of Reference (ToRs) and read a more detailed description of the assignment in this file in order to prepare your financial proposal and know more about the role: Research Lead (Technology).pdf.

To qualify for this position, you will have…
  • An advanced degree, or equivalent, in Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, Data Science. *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree..
  • Minimum 5 years of professional work experience in technological research and development, with specific expertise in Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, or geospatial analysis, including demonstrated experience in leading research teams and managing multiple high-impact projects.
  • In-depth understanding of emerging technologies and their applications, particularly in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, or geospatial analysis.
  • High-impact publications on Computer Vision, Machine Learning, blockchain, or other technologies are an asset.
  • Demonstrated experience leading and managing a team of researchers in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to oversee multiple research projects simultaneously.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, with the capacity to synthesize complex research findings into actionable insights and recommendations.
  • Experience working with technology private sector companies is an asset.
  • Experience working in start-up settings is an asset.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to effectively communicate research findings, insights, and recommendations to diverse audiences, including senior management, technical experts, and non-technical stakeholders.
  • Experience working with development or humanitarian programmes. Familiarity with the UN system and UNICEF is desired.
  • Experience working in a multidisciplinary, multicultural team and with levels of uncertainty.
  • Experience working in UNICEF programme countries is an asset.
  • Fluency in English is required, fluency in Spanish is highly desired. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian) or a local language is an asset.
  • The consultant is expected to travel to Geneva two times (2 trip), for a stay of 4-5 nights.
  • The consultant is responsible for arranging his/her own travel, including visa and travel insurance.
Payment details and further considerations
  • Payment of professional fees will be based on the submission of agreed deliverables. UNICEF reserves the right to withhold payment in case the deliverables submitted are not up to the required standard or in case of delays in submitting the deliverables on the part of the consultant.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health and travel insurance.
  • Consultant is responsible to arrange his/her own travel, including visa.
How to apply:
  • Interested applicants are required to submit a financial proposal with an all-inclusive fee. Please see the financial proposal template here: Consultancy Financial Offer template.docx
  • Financial proposal must include travel costs (economy class) and daily subsistence allowance, if travel is required as per TOR and any other estimated costs: visa, travel/health insurance
  • Applications without a financial proposal will not be considered.
About our team

We are a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary team of software engineers, finance specialists, data scientists, policy experts, and much more. Our team is a distributed workforce and plans to remain distributed into the foreseeable future. We are growing fast. Our team has grown by over 400% in the last 6 months as we rapidly scale to meet our stated mission.

About Giga

Giga is a joint initiative of UNICEF and ITU to connect every school in the world to the Internet by 2030. Working with corporate and non-profit partners, Giga maps schools’ Internet access in real time, creates models for innovative financing, and supports governments contracting for connectivity. It is part of ITU’s Partner2 Connect Coalition, UNICEF’s Reimagine Education initiative, and the UN Secretary General’s Common Agenda and Roadmap for Digital Cooperation 

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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone. And we never give up. 

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives. 

About ITU

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations.