Data Innovation Specialist – Forecasting and Foresight

  • International Staff
  • New York, USA
  • Applications have closed

Website unglobalpulse UN Global Pulse

Deadline to apply: 19 October 2021

Duties and Responsibilities

UN Global Pulse (UNGP) is recruiting a Data Innovation Specialist – Forecasting and Foresight. The role contributes to strengthening anticipatory capabilities to support UN mandates and broader transformation.

The person will participate in all stages of foresight insights development, collaborating closely with the UNGP foresight and data teams in framing the business and data requirements and use-cases for foresight experiments. Ideally, the person will also support data-driven storytelling and visualization of the foresight insights to connect with the user’s needs and consumption patterns. The role seeks to ensure the integration of data insights into sensemaking and decision-making processes in a user-friendly and sustained manner – with an ambition to refine the experiments and prototypes into standing products and processes.

The ideal candidate is comfortable and curious about working with a variety of data science, machine learning, statistical  and data visualization methodologies to support strategic foresight and the systematic exploration of plausible futures, including threats and opportunities.

The person is impact-driven and keen to elaborate experiments harnessing data science to strengthen anticipatory decision-making and planning processes at various levels within the UN. This may include: building horizon scanning capacity to monitor emerging issues to guide agenda formulation at the UN executives level; analysing signals to identify risk tipping points against probable threat scenarios connected to climate change or general elections. The analytics and data would need to include i) baseline forecasts and trends for foresight workshops and scenario building exercises; ii) building long-term standing capacity to analyse and make sense of  emerging trends and weak signals, in order to support anticipatory planning and strategy; and iii) stress-test existing strategic plans and programmes against changing operational environments.

The role is based in New York, and occasional travel and field missions may be required, as prevailing conditions allow.

The incumbent will work under the supervision of the UNGP Deputy Director, at the New York Lab, and will be responsible for the following duties:

  1. Planning and Technical Support
  2. Strategic Development, Research, and Analysis
  3. Knowledge Creation, Capacity Building and Reporting
  4. Communication and Partnerships

Qualifications and Experience



  • An advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) preferably in international development, computer science, computational social sciences, social sciences, statistics, engineering, economics, monitoring & evaluation or another relevant discipline is required.
  • A first-level university degree (Bachelor’s degree) in combination with 2 additional years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Required Experience:

  • A minimum of 5 years of professional experience working in data science or a similar field, preferably in an international organisation
  • A minimum of 2 years of experience in business intelligence, modelling for foresight, predictive analytics or a similar field

Desired Experience:

  • Experience in qualitative and quantitative research and/or designing mixed-methods approaches   
  • Experience with analytical techniques from machine learning, artificial intelligence, and their application for different business or research needs  
  • Experience working in multidisciplinary projects between data/science/technology and foresight/development/humanitarian response
  • Experience coding algorithms (Python, R or an equivalent programming environment), data access, analysis and data visualization (eg Tableau) methodologies for call detail records, social media data or any other big data source

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English (write, read, speak) is required.
  • Knowledge of another United Nations official language is an advantage.
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