Head of research and insight

Education sub-Saharan Africa Head of Research
Location London, UK or Accra, Ghana
Application deadline 30 March 2020
Contract type Fixed term
Hours Full-time
Salary Competitive
Apply now

ESSA – Education Sub Saharan Africa is a charity established in May 2016. Our vision is to transform education: increasing employment for young people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The role

The Head of Research and Insight is a critical role for the success of ESSA’s mission, ensuring that the right evidence is being used to increase the impact of tertiary education for young people.

The successful applicant will lead the creation and management of ESSA’s digital and non-digital knowledge resources on tertiary education in sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on the link of tertiary education and the labour-markets. They will set and implement the strategy for building a knowledge hub to support investment and decision making across the continent. The Head of Research will manage a small team to provide research support and guidance across ESSA programmes.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Oversee the quality and delivery of ESSA’s research products, the delivery of a digital platform and tools to communicate these products, the use of evidence in our work and tracking to understand and learn from our own impact.
  • Lead a small team to deliver on ESSA’s research goals including a Digital Data Manager (this role also works in collaboration with the Communications Manager, who sits outside of the research team) and an Evidence, Impact and Evaluation Manager.
  • Build partnerships and collaborations with local partners to increase use of evidence and data.
  • Lead on the delivery of selected, research-focused work strands.
  • Shape how ESSA can be most effective in closing the gap between research and policy/practice of tertiary education.
  • Collaborate with national governments and other partners to leverage their funding for both the development and integration of knowledge (public goods) into national tertiary education systems.
  • Work with the ESSA team to capitalize on the knowledge ESSA has already generated and oversee our approach to knowledge management.
  • Build ESSA’s network of research institutions and researchers, in Africa and beyond.

Experience and skills


  • Entrepreneurial in approach, with the ability to thrive in an internationally dispersed team
  • A track record of building partnerships with policy-makers, funders and NGOs.
  • A track record of developing and implementing strategy.
  • Ability to translate complex research for a non-specialist audience.
  • Experience implementing and managing research.
  • Knowledge of research in the field of education and passionate about the role of education in development.
  • Experience of building and managing teams.
  • Experience of generating and using evidence in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Educated to Masters level in a relevant discipline.
  • Experience of budget preparation and oversight.
  • Fluent written and spoken English.
  • Most importantly as a representative of ESSA, the person should be a team player with a pleasant disposition and hands-on, the ability to strike conversations and be respectful of diversities. You should be independent, creative, sincere and possess a powerful drive to pursue responsible data management systems.


  • French speaking
  • Resident in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Educated to PhD level in a relevant discipline.
  • Experience working with large employers of young people in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Familiarity with digital platform
  • Knowledge of research in the field of tertiary education.

Other useful information

If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a cover letter explaining your suitability for the role along with a CV by 9am GMT on 30th March 2020 to: [email protected]