Senior Research Fellow (Post-Doc), understandings and practices of accountability in Somalia

Application Deadline: Friday, October 2, 2020

PRIO has a vacancy for a two-year, full-time Senior Research Fellow (Post-Doc) position under the project Holding Aid Accountable: Relational Humanitarianism in Protracted Crisis (AidAccount), funded by the Research Council of Norway.  

Working within the fields of social sciences or humanities, the candidate to be employed in this project will conduct fieldwork-based research focused on how accountability is understood and practiced by (local and transnational) citizens in complex and protracted humanitarian crises. The case to be explored by the Senior Research Fellow is the recurrent famines in Somalia. This work will result in two co-authored articles in English and a policy brief.

About the AidAccount project

In situations of protracted humanitarian crisis, local residents and diaspora groups are key humanitarian actors. They are often the first to assist in emergencies, and they remain engaged throughout the complex crises that may follow. Little is known about how accountability is understood and practiced by (local and transnational) citizens in comparison to professional humanitarians. While the professional sector relies heavily on technical-financial systems, the civic humanitarians often depend on trust-based social networks and social media to provide accountability.

AidAccount aims to map, document, and analyse the moral and social dimensions of accountability as understood and practiced by civic and professional humanitarian aid providers in protracted crises in Uganda, Somalia and Sri Lanka. The project uses the case-study method and in each case, complementary qualitative methods - including participatory mapping, document analysis, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions - will be used to study the normative, institutional and experiential dimensions of accountability conceptualizations and practices.

By developing knowledge about this neglected yet important subject, the project will support the efforts of professional humanitarian actors to improve localisation and thus increase the efficiency of aid delivery. The project furthermore aims to develop a 'humanitarian lab' to support knowledge-based policy decisions and improve accountability to both donors and aid recipients. The explicit intention is to cultivate relationships between researchers, humanitarians, policy makers, donors and aid recipients that will lead to sustained interactions and collaborative learning.

AidAccount is led by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and will involve further research collaboration between NTNU; Oxford Brookes; Makerere University, in Kampala, Uganda; Rako Research and Communication Centre in Hargeisa, Somaliland; and the Centre for Migration Research and Development in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The work package in the project on the case of recurrent famines in Somalia is shared between Rako and PRIO.

A complete description of the project will be made available to interested candidates upon request.

The position of the Senior Research Fellow (Post-Doc) in the team

A successful application is one that makes clear how it will contribute innovatively to the project as a whole, and candidates are encouraged to read the background material closely before writing their proposal.

The Senior Research Fellow (Post-Doc) is expected to execute the work within 2 years. While being placed at PRIO and Rako, the researcher will work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the other research institutes involved in the study. 

The researcher will work in close collaboration with Dr Cindy Horst at PRIO and Dr Mohamed Hassan at Rako. Progress will be supported through regular presentations at internal seminars and involvement in appropriate research groups at PRIO, and opportunities to present work at international academic conferences and workshops.

Required and desired qualifications

Applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • A doctoral degree in the social sciences or humanities
  • Ability to use both Somali (oral required, written desirable) and English (both written and oral) as working languages

In addition, as many as possible of the following qualifications are desirable:

  • Experience with conducting fieldwork
  • Experience with semi-structured interviews
  • Skills in relevant research methods and analysis
  • Experience with teamwork
  • General computing skills
  • Experience with interdisciplinary work
  • Experience with organizing meetings and seminars
  • Good communication skills, both written and orally

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on publication record, education, experience, and personal suitability in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement.

Application procedure

The application is to be submitted by way of an online form no later than 2 October 2020, and must include the following attachments (in PDF):

  1. A cover letter in English that addresses the requirements for the position as described above;
  2. A curriculum vitae in English, including a list of publications;
  3. One or more academic writing examples
  4. Scanned copies of original transcripts from higher education;
  5. A project description of 4-6 pages (including references) in English, outlining the following:
    • Which aspects from the AidAccount proposal do you find most interesting or relevant and why? How will you address the AidAccount research questions? What would you like to add or change within your specific project?
    • How will you organize and manage the data collection and analysis?
    • What are your reflections on your positionality as a researcher (e.g. your age, gender, appearance)?
    • A progress plan for the research

The starting salary for a Senior Research Fellow at PRIO is NOK 666.800 (equivalent to 72 in the Norwegian State salary system).

The interviews with selected candidates will take place between 19 and 21 October 2020.

The starting date for the position is 1 January 2021 or as early as possible thereafter.

Questions, as well as requests for the AidAccount project description, can be addressed by email to Cindy Horst.

The candidate should have an interest in PRIO’s broader mission of conducting high-quality academic research on questions relevant to the promotion of a more peaceful world. For more information about PRIO’s on-going research, browse around our website prio.org, in particular the Institute Strategy (pdf) and the most recent Annual Reports.