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Job Opportunity

Research Advisor VVOB – Head Office Brussels, Belgium

Deadline for applications: March 2, 2020


Would you like to contribute to the improvement of the quality of education worldwide?


VVOB is a global NGO with programmes and projects in 10 countries worldwide. Our head office is based in Brussels, Belgium. When you join VVOB, you become a key player in VVOB’s mission to ensure quality education as a key enabler for achieving the sustainable development goals. We implement our programmes and projects with one shared passion: to ensure the improvement of quality education..


We are ambitious and committed; we are curious and innovative when facing complex challenges; we focus on results and have fun together; we sometimes make mistakes, but learn from them; we act with integrity and respect; and above all, we are a team!


Over the past years, more attention has been directed to research within and on VVOB’s interventions in view of strengthening our own evidence-based approaches. This involves research carried out by VVOB staff, through external consultants or a combination of both. Research can be an integral part of a VVOB project or programme; or it can be a research/study that is complementary to an ongoing intervention. Research can also involve efforts to strengthen our internal M&E systems through collecting quality monitoring data. To streamline and reinforce these efforts, a research advisor is appointed. They will be based at head office and work in close collaboration with relevant colleagues in the field and at head office.  

Position in the organisation & purpose of function

As a member of VVOB’s programme operations, the research advisor will work closely with the senior education advisors and the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) advisor at head office, and with relevant staff  in the field, to advance VVOB’s research on education and to strengthen M&E systems for better evidence.


The research advisor will work at VVOB’s head office in Brussels with regular travel to countries for limited periods of time. The research advisor reports to the programme director.  


As a research advisor, you will be responsible for overseeing VVOB’s research agenda and initiatives, and for developing and strengthening VVOB’s evidence-based practices.


In close collaboration with the M&E advisor, you will:

  • Develop an evidence strategy for VVOB and work with programme teams at head office and country offices to utilise evidence from research, monitoring and evaluation for decision-making and improvement of programmes.
  • Assure the quality of evidence produced by and about VVOB by:
    • supporting and advising the M&E and research/education advisors in the country offices in areas of research design and methodology, data collection and analysis.
    • coordinating and overseeing research consultancies and/or supporting country offices in this responsibility.
    • promoting VVOB’s research agenda among lead universities.
  • Lead the digitisation of data collection within VVOB for research, monitoring and evaluation.


You will also:

  • Oversee research initiatives carried out within and on VVOB interventions worldwide.
  • Contribute to the expansion of VVOB’s network of research partners.
  • Expand the research funding available, through quality proposals to research grant giving donors.
  • Review, advise and contribute to writing of VVOB related research reports, blogs, briefs, publications presentations in internal or external fora.
  • Stay on top of new developments and latest research in international development through external and internal networking and sharing these with partners and VVOB colleagues.
  • Apply M&E and research data to VVOB interventions for cross-country/meta-analysis.


If you’re our first research advisor, your workweek at the office will include the following highlights:

  • You have a meeting with your right-hand, the M&E advisor, about running research initiatives carried out within and on VVOB interventions worldwide to keep the inventory of all ongoing and completed research and studies on VVOB interventions up to date.
  • You have a meeting with a potential research partner to examine the effect of gender-responsive teaching in early childhood education in South Africa.
  • Time for a brainstorm with the senior education advisors to identify funding opportunities/research grants for research and studies. Together you decide to develop a research proposal for our intervention on effective school leadership in Rwanda, which you will take up with the VVOB team in Rwanda.
  • Lunch! The right time to discuss that interesting study on school readiness in low- and middle-income countries that you shared with your colleagues.
  • Let’s delve a bit deeper. You blocked two hours in your agenda to apply M&E and research data to VVOB interventions to compare effects across countries.
  • You log in to a Skype meeting an education advisor in Ecuador to touch base on the capacity development trajectory you drafted to develop robust methods and tools for data collection and analysis and on setting-up and accompanying research within and on VVOB interventions.
  • While following up on your emails, you are happy to learn that the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning has published your blog on the latest VVOB working paper, which you will soon present at a big education conference.

Qualifications, experience & competencies you bring to our team

  • You have a PhD in education, economics or social science; or a Masters’ Degree in education, economics or social science with at least 5 years of demonstrated experience in education research;
  • You are authorized to work in Belgium;
  • You possess strong statistical skills (knowledge of statistical techniques and practical experience with statistical software) and experience in assessing the reliability and validity of measures
  • You have experience in both qualitative and quantitative research  
  • Knowledge of and/or experience with Project Cycle Management, monitoring, evaluation is an asset
  • You possess excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively in a multi-cultural environment
  • You have a strong interest in and ability to think and plan at the ‘big picture’ level
  • You have good communicative skills both in speech and in writing. Your English is excellent and fluency in Dutch, French or Spanish are an asset.
  • You’re willing to undertake short work trips to support our teams in VVOB countries.

Matching competences

VVOB core competences:

  • Results and goal oriented
  • Lifelong learning and improvement
  • Cooperation within a team and with other stakeholders

Function specific competencies:

  • Reliability
  • Strong communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Creativity
  • Strong analytical skills
  • 360° empathy

Join us

As soon as possible!

Your office

VVOB’s head office in Brussels

What’s next?

Your motivation letter and a detailed CV are expected to be sent by e-mail no later than March 2nd to Don’t forget to refer to the job title in the subject line of your email. 


Shortlisted candidates will take a written test, go through an interview process (preferably in-person, through Skype if necessary) and an assessment, before a final offer.


VVOB firmly believes that quality education can only be achieved if equity is ensured. Qualities of people prevail, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or disability.


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