Senior Programme Officer (Social Sciences) Job in Nairobi – African Academy of Sciences

African Academy of Sciences (AAS)

Senior Programme Officer – Social Sciences

ID: AAS/SPOSS/20/001

Department: Programmes

Reporting To: Deputy Director of Programmes

Duration: 3 Years With a Possibility of Extension

Location: Nairobi

Organisation Overview: The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit Pan-African organization headquartered in Nairobi, with a hosting agreement with the government of Kenya. The AAS’s vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science.

It is the only continental Academy in Africa enjoying the support and recognition of the African Union, and with joint programmes with NEPAD Agency, now the African Union Development Agency (AUDA), as well as several governments and major international partners.

It has a tripartite mandate: to recognize excellence through its highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes; to provide advisory and think tank functions for shaping the continent’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies; and to implement key STI programmes aimed at addressing Africa’s developmental challenges

Job Purpose: The Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS​ Africa) ​is ​a 10-year​ (2015-2025) ​ programme ​of The ​AAS being implemented under AESA. ​This ​is​ with​ the​ support​ of Wellcome​​ and ​other funding partners ​to ​train ​and​ develop​ world-class researchers and research leaders in Africa.

The​ vision ​of​ DELTAS​ Africa​ is​ to​ support​ the​ Africa-led​ development​ of​ a critical mass of world-class ​researchers ​and​ research leaders in Africa. This new generation​ of​ scientists​ and research leaders will ​play ​a​ major ​part ​in​ shaping ​and ​driving​ a ​locally ​relevant ​research​ agenda ​in​ Africa, ​contributing ​to​ improved​ sustainable development​ on​ the​ continent.

To ​achieve​ its ​vision, ​DELTAS​ Africa​ funds​ programmes ​that ​address​ four​ broad strategic ​areas: ​scientific​ quality​, research ​training, scientific​ citizenship, and research ​management​ and​ environment. These​ strategic​ areas​ are​ recognised​ as​ necessary​ for​ strengthening, ​sustaining, ​attracting​ and ​retaining ​excellence​ in​ research.

The first five years of DELTAS Africa from 2015 to 2020 have focused largely on biomedical and health research on the continent. While significant progress has been made in this area, the AAS has taken a strategic decision to include the social sciences and humanities as a new component of the DELTAS Africa programme during its second phase from 2020 to 2025 and beyond, with the intention of improving social science and humanities research leadership capacity on the continent to be more responsive to Africa’s persistent and emerging sustainable development challenges.

It is expected that DELTAS Africa II will continue to support a large portfolio of networks that will be implementing various projects in health research, biomedical, biosciences and related transdisciplinary sciences. The incumbent will also be expected to work closely with the Senior Programme Officer (Social Sciences and Humanities) to ensure the overall aims of the DELTAS Africa Initiative are effectively and efficiently met.

Position Overview: The overall aim of the Senior Programme Officer (Social Sciences and Humanities) is to support the delivery of a vibrant social sciences and humanities research leadership capacity development programme on the continent.

In the short term, this will be delivered as a component of the DELTAS Africa programme, promoting excellence in social science and humanities research leadership capacity on the continent based on the DELTAS Africa model or a variant thereof, and in the long term contributing to its development as an independent flagship programme of The AAS.

The Senior Programme Officer has as his/her primary responsibility the management of the DELTAS Africa programme’s social sciences and humanities remit, including overseeing national, multinational and trans-national DELTAS Africa social science consortia, liaising with comparative research networks, as well as thematic and issue-specific research programmes, special initiatives and projects. In this connection, the Senior Programme Officer will be responsible for managing all aspects of the portfolio of the DELTAS Africa social science programmes, and overseeing the work of programme officers managing aspects of the social science programmes within DELTAS Africa, each of which may include several of the following aspects:

  • Leverage sector specific knowledge and skills in the effective implementation of programmes and the development of new initiatives
  • Overseeing the development and implementation of pre-award, award and post-award processes,
  • Gender equity diversity and inclusion strategies with the programme,
  • monitoring, evaluation and learning,
  • Design and implement risks assessment and management strategies for the programme,
  • Work with GFGP team to ensure integration and update of good finance grant practice by programme beneficiaries,
  • budget control and reviews,
  • management and scientific meetings,
  • open access publishing,
  • capacity development interventions,
  • community and public engagement,
  • research management,
  • impact measurement and reporting,
  • financial and programmatic reporting,
  • and other due diligence interventions.
  • initiate, develop and, where appropriate, manage new projects and programmes;
  • lend support for the realisation of other scientific activities of The AAS;
  • organise academic and policy meetings;
  • promote contacts with researchers, professional associations and regional organisations;
  • prepare research and funding proposals on themes connected to his/her areas of expertise as may be requested by the Deputy Programmes Director,
  • and where appropriate, liaise with funding organisations under the direction of both the Deputy Programmes Director, Director of Programmes and Executive Director.

The postholder will also be expected to work in close collaboration with other AESA managed programmes through provision of operational and research support in order to achieve the overall strategic goals of The AAS.

Key Responsibilities

1. Define and deliver the benefits of the Social Sciences and Humanities component of the DELTAS Africa programme in time, within budget and at the required quality, including:

  • Planning and budgeting;
  • Leading in effective technical and financial management to ensure VFM throughout the programme cycle, including: using evidence to enhance program learning and development, seeking out and implementing solutions which achieve a good mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay, financial tracking of spend against budget, accurate forecasting, asset management, timely payment of invoices/claims, and timely submission of financial reports and Annual Audited Statements where required, in line with grant and donor requirements.
  • Ensuring that technical outputs throughout the program cycle including reports are of high quality and respond to donor guidelines and requirements
  • Promoting and marketing, this may include social media, website page management and/or article writing, working in collaboration with The AAS Communications team;
  • Support in identifying, tracking and mitigating programme management risks and issues;
  • Identification of experts for peer review and selection panels;
  • Planning and delivery of large-scale events, potentially including events in other countries on the continent
  • Monitoring and evaluation of scheme outcomes and impacts, and communicating outcomes and learnings to key stakeholders
  • Preparing consolidated technical and financial reports from grantees. This involves reviewing reporting templates, liaising with grantees M&E teams during reporting periods to support their reporting needs, consolidating the reports for internal use and for sharing with relevant funders; and data mining from reports to prepare outcomes and impact reports
  • Liaising and managing relationships with key stakeholders (other AAS funding and delivery partners, relevant steering groups, partners throughout the continent, Fellows of the Academy and grant beneficiaries);
  • Financial tracking of spend against budget;
  • Management of scheme activities and awards;

2. Assist in the provision of secretariat support to relevant steering groups.

3. Assist in utilising the outputs, networks and relationships created through the DELTAS Africa programme to further the Academy’s strategic objectives.

4. Contribute, as required, to the development of evidence-based positions on research and innovation policy issues linked to the scheme.

5. Contribute to the establishment of systems to enable the Academy to maintain and derive value from contact with past beneficiaries or alumni, and to manage these relationships where appropriate.

6. Contribute to the effective use of administrative resources across the AESA platform, including by providing colleagues with clear and timely information about requirements for administrative support.

7. Contribute to the effective use of the AAS Ishango electronic Grants Management System, and other Academy information systems.

8. Contribute to a culture of continuous improvement at the AAS and to support line manager in achieving other team, departmental and Academy objectives, as required.


  • Perform programme relevant research to inform the development, implementation and delivery of the social sciences and humanities component of the DELTAS Africa programme
  • Work in close collaboration with the AAS M&E team to identify, collate, track, assess quality, analyse and validate, and report on programme-related data from DELTAS Africa Social Sciences and Humanities programmes.
  • Identify and build relationships with relevant stakeholders involved in social sciences and humanities research and research leadership capacity development on the continent and globally but not limited to universities and other research institutions, relevant African government departments and policymakers, Africa based and international Think Tanks, and intergovernmental organisations etc
  • Prepare reports, articles and presentations during programme inception meetings, annual grantee meetings and site visits.
  • Track and perform relevant analyses on various aspects of programme implementation to identify and address important challenges to ensure effective and efficient programme delivery

Programme Support

  • Represent the AAS and/or programmes at internal and external meetings when required;
  • Work in close collaboration with The AAS Communications Manager to develop a media and campaign Strategy for social sciences and humanities research programme to ensure maximum exposure and coverage on the continent and beyond and to generate keen interest from potential stakeholders
  • Work in close collaboration with The AAS Communications Manager to ensure all content (reports, images, videos, social media posts) is relevant and updated on a timely basis.
  • Supervise relevant administrative team duties in support of the DELTAS Africa social science and humanities programme
  • Work with The AAS Procurement team to monitor deliverables (including supplies), and being the contact person for clients on the DELTAS social science and humanities programme;
  • Plan and organise relevant workshops and other activities in furtherance of the objectives of the DELTAS Africa social science and humanities programme;
  • Work with The AAS M&E team to develop and implement an M&E framework for the DELTAS Africa social science and humanities programme;
  • Develop a risk management framework for the DELTAS social science and humanities programme, including developing and maintaining a risk register for the programme and a system to document, track and ensure programme issues and challenges are resolved in a timely manner;
  • Support other AAS programmes and departments in the delivery of their mandate especially for cross-cutting programmatic activities when requested

Key Results and Outcomes Area

  • Benefits of all assigned activities delivered within budget, to time and consistent with commitments to funders and agreed targets;
  • Schemes delivered following best practice in scheme management, steering group secretarial support, and effective use of the AAS Ishango electronic Grants Management System.
  • Strong working relationships with all key stakeholders including staff, Fellows of the AAS, other delivery partners, and beneficiaries;
  • Maintaining an attractive and accurate outward profile of activities through the website and other materials;
  • Strong knowledge of AAS policies and procedures, and their application in grants management
  • Strong knowledge of AAS policies and procedures, and their application in grants management


  • Excellent presentation and public speaking skills
  • Ability to interact with and to manage multiple stakeholders with diverse interests
  • Proficiency in standard
  • Possess well-developed interpersonal skills and ability to network and communicate across different levels of the organisation and with external partners;
  • Able to perform work independently with minimal supervision, but also participate as a team member;
  • Possess strong attention to detail and maintaining a timely and efficient workflow;
  • Have strong planning, organisational skills and ability to work under pressure;
  • Ability to multi-task and to prioritise work amidst competing demands;
  • Have unquestionable integrity, confidentiality and respect.
  • Project/Programme management skills (essential)
  • Risk management
  • Financial management and financial governance
  • People management/team working

Qualifications and Requirements

  • A PhD degree in a relevant Social Science/Humanities research field obtained over the past 10 years with proven research leadership qualities and experience of carrying out key research work for priority social science and humanities agendas.
  • A proven record of research capabilities in social science/humanities research as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and other quality outputs.
  • At least 3 years’ experience working in research/research leadership capacity development programme design and implementation on the African continent
  • Knowledge of funding/how research is funded/grants or research management
  • A professional qualification and relevant experience in large scale programme/project management or training in research administration, ethics, leadership or related will be an added advantage

Application Process

All applicants must submit a filled application form here, curriculum vitae, and a cover letter submitted by email to, with the Position and Vacancy Number as the Subject no later than March 4 2020.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Community Development, NGO and UN
Updated: February 24, 2020 — 6:37 am