Senior Programme Officer - Policy
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit Pan-African organisation headquartered in Nairobi, with a hosting agreement with the government of Kenya. The AAS' 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-NEPAD) and several governments and major international partners. It has a tripartite mandate: to recognise 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.
The African Science Technology and Innovation Priority Setting programme (ASP) engages Africa's science leaders and political stakeholders to identify the top scientific priorities that, if addressed, offer the highest return on investment for Africa's sustainable development. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) and the African Union's Agenda 2063, Africa must overcome numerous developmental challenges utilising the limited resources and technical expertise available; this makes prioritisation vital.
The ASP programme is implemented through the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), a partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) founding and funding global partners, and through a resolution of the summit of African Union Heads of Governments. The programme engages Africa's science leaders and political stakeholders to identify the top scientific priorities that, if addressed, offer the highest return on investment for Africa's sustainable development. Over a five-year period, the programme will be developing, publishing and advocating to relevant stakeholders, a set of position papers communicating the top 15 scientific priorities for Africa.
The role of the Senior Programme Officer - Policy will be to ensure that the outcomes of the scientific prioritisation exercises are crafted into relevant policy documents for diverse audiences including African governments, regional bodies and global funders to provide evidence for decision-making, secure buy-in and motivate action. This position will enable the programme to implement its joint work plans with AUDA-NEPAD on stakeholder engagement, including developing and disseminating policy outputs and advocacy activities for the identified recommendations. Further, the position holder will work closely with scientific experts to ensure that their research findings are effectively captured in non-technical language to inform the policy recommendations. Thereafter, they will aggregate all knowledge emerging from the ASP programme to inform the AESA strategy including in STI implementation, science advisory and resource mobilisation in the various priority areas and in relation to AESA business plan.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities
- Develop a plan for producing policy content for engaging diverse stakeholders, particularly government and regional bodies in knowledge brokerage and advocacy based on the recommendations emerging from the scientific prioritisation processes.
- Support the AESA Directors, Managers, and ASAB members to identify high-impact science-policy channels and leverage those to disseminate the identified scientific priorities and related recommendations to inform decision-making and investments in STI in Africa.
- Synthesise science policy papers emerging from the scientific prioritisation processes into policy briefs and other policy-relevant publications (e.g. infographics, factsheets, etc.) to impart expert advice to a range of audiences for purposes of securing buy-in for the scientific priorities.
- Work closely with AUDA-NEPAD and other relevant regional, continental and global partners to organise and facilitate science-policy events, talks and meetings involving scientists, policymakers (e.g. government agencies) and other organisations (e.g. research centres, scientific bodies) to respond to the recommendations of the prioritisation process.
- Support scientific experts in the ASP programme to develop capacity in the science-policy interface, including writing and presenting to policymakers and other diverse audiences.
- Aggregate and synthesis ASP's scientific knowledge to inform the review of the AESA strategy including in but not limited to STI implementation, science advisory and resource mobilisation in the various priority areas and in relation to AESA 2.0 business plan.
- In addition to the ASP work, lead the generation and development of multi-stakeholder policy and knowledge products, including internal and external stakeholder engagement, research coordination and analysis of key themes across Africa's STI ecosystem to identify similarities, patterns, trends, and gaps. This will be conducted both independently and in collaboration with ongoing programmes, as the case may require.
- Lay the groundwork for developing an organisation-wide system of documenting and collating learnings in the form of an easily accessible 'e-library' of relevant STI knowledge resources.
Key Skills and Competencies
Overall, the person must have vast experience and enthusiasm for the African science-policy landscape, the relationship between scientists and policymaking, and knowledge brokerage in this space continentally and globally. Besides, the candidate should have:
- Active interest in inter/multi/transdisciplinary work to solve global challenges.
- Demonstrable competence in policy analysis and knowledge brokerage in a wide range of STI topics and/or in the development sector.
- Good interpersonal skills with the ability to network, develop and maintain strong relationships at all levels resulting in key science-policy outputs.
- A driven, high-energy team player who is excited about taking the AAS to the new level as an advisory/think tank body
- Ability to quickly understand and absorb new topics, issues and disciplines and distil relevant knowledge resources for diverse audiences.
- Demonstrable skills in policy design, policy influencing, capacity strengthening, stakeholder engagement and programme management skills.
- Ability to communicate technical information clearly and effectively to both technical and non-technical colleagues.
- Experience in a science-policy/knowledge brokerage position will be highly valued over field of degree.
- Minimum of a master's degree in a relevant field.
- Demonstrable strong understanding of and experience in the science-policy interface and strategy support with at least ten (10) years relevant experience in the fields of sustainable development, science and innovation.
Knowledge and Experience
- Excellent research, policy analysis, writing and presentation skills, e.g. producing policy briefs, engaging policymakers, developing strategies etc.
- English proficiency is mandatory. French is an added advantage.
- At least seven (7) years of work experience in science-policy, specifically working in Africa or on Africa related issues with African partners.
- Strong analytical, writing, and people management skills
- Programme development and management skills
- Technical report writing and presentation skills
- Organisational skills
- Teamwork and collaboration skills
All applicants must submit a filled application form - download it here, curriculum vitae, and a cover letter submitted by email to email@example.com, with the Position and Vacancy Number as the Subject no later than 3rd February 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.