Consultancy: Applied AI and Information Poverty Lead, Office of Innovation, New York – 11.5 months

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Closing date: 25 May 2018

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, innovate…

UNICEF has a 70-year history of innovating for children. We believe that new approaches, partnerships and technologies that support realizing children’s rights are critical to improving their lives.

The Office of Innovation is a creative, interactive, and agile team in UNICEF. We sit at a unique intersection, where an organization that works on huge global issues meets the startup thinking, the technology, and the partners that turn this energy into scalable solutions. UNICEF’s Office of Innovation creates opportunities for the world’s children by focusing on where new markets can meet their vital needs. We do this by:

  • Connecting youth communities (or more broadly — anyone disconnected or under-served) to decision-makers, and to each other, to deliver informed, relevant and sustained programmes that build better, stronger futures for children.
  • Provoking change for children through an entrepreneurial approach — in a traditionally risk-averse field — to harness rapidly moving innovations and apply them to serve the needs of all children.
  • Creating new models of partnership that leverage core business values across the public, private and academic sectors in order to deliver fast, and lasting results for children.
  • The Office of Innovation specifically looks to form partnerships around frontier technologies (like drones and UAVs, blockchain, 21st century skills, urban technologies, new banking tools, wearables and sensors, or 3D-Printing) that exist at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs – and to identify how they can grow and scale profitably and inclusively. Our team

    We’re an interdisciplinary team around the world tasked with identifying, prototyping, and scaling new technologies and practices. With our partners, we focus on convening and collaborating on new and different solutions, low- and high-tech, by:

  • Looking at the 2-5 year horizon to evaluate emerging and trending technologies and to see how UNICEF can work with the private sector on doing better business while improving essential services for children;
  • Investing in early stage solutions that show great potential to positively impact children in the 0-2 year future including the Venture Fund that invests in open source technology solutions from start-ups based in UNICEF’s programme countries;
  • Identifying proven solutions that can be implemented at national scale in multiple countries – taking the ideas that help thousands in one country, bringing them to dozens of countries across multiple sectors, and impacting the lives of millions of children.
  • How can you make a difference?

    The purpose of this assignment is to lead the applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) portfolio within the Ventures team, with particular focus on access to information and big data for education. This includes:

  • Leading the applied AI portfolio and projects funded by the Innovation Fund. AI is a growing area of interest for the UN and has the potential of accelerating UNICEF’s work across sectors. To leverage the potential of AI, we are looking for someone to help us identify specific areas of work and investment. The Innovation fund invests in early-stage solutions that harness frontier technologies and AI is one of the areas of growth.
  • Leading the Information poverty initiative. Inequitable distribution of information sources and content leads to a generation of children who are not able to access the ideal mix of information necessary for them to be successful in life. UNICEF Office of Innovation is working to determine minimum standards around information quantity and quality (Kilobytes/day) in order to have equal access to opportunity and choice.
  • Leading big data for education projects within the Magic Box platform. UNICEF is exploring the use of new sources of data (i.e. mobile phones, satellites, social media) for humanitarian purposes. As part of this initiative, we are looking for someone to identify and support in big data applications for education.
  • Main responsibilities will be:

  • Lead applied AI portfolio and projects from the Innovation Fund:

  • Serve as focal point for the UNICEF Innovation Fund’s AI portfolio. Develop an investment strategy and provide technical support.
  • Identify new areas of interest and work around AI.
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders and partners including private sector, UN organizations, academia and public sector.
  • Create specialised communication materials and outreach to start-ups
  • Lead the Information poverty initiative.

  • Assess current Information poverty framework and activities and define new areas of work.
  • Coordinate different pilots and activities in different countries that include research, case studies, data analysis and prototyping.
  • Deep Learning and satellite for feature extraction
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders and partners including UNICEF Country Offices, private sector and the public sector.
  • Lead big data for education projects within the Magic Box platform.

  • Serve as focal point for Magic Box’s big data projects around education and learning. Engage with country offices that would like to prototype and help define the scope.
  • Implement different activities and pilots related to big data for education, in particular for Colombia and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders and partners.
  • To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have….

  • Master’s degree from a recognized university, in computer science, electrical engineering or other related disciplines.
  • At least five years of relevant work experience (i.e. project management, data science, AI or machine learning).
  • Knowledge and experience in the area of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and satellite imagery.
  • Knowledge on open source platforms, in particular on open source tools for data analysis such as R or Python.
  • Experience in engaging with stakeholders from different backgrounds and coordinating multi stakeholder activities.
  • Familiarity with non-traditional data sources such as social media, mobile phone data, web searches or satellite imagery.
  • Familiarity with the UN system and UNICEF is desired.
  • Experience working in UNICEF program countries is an asset.
  • Experience working with startups is an asset.
  • Fluency in English (written and verbal) is required. Knowledge of another UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) is an asset.
  • Payment details and further considerations

  • Monthly payment, based on monthly tasks and progress reports, approved upon monthly review with supervisor.
  • Consultant is responsible for his/her own health insurance
  • Consultant is eligible for standard DSA for all work-related travel
  • Consultants are responsible for assuming costs for obtaining visas and travel insurance
  • Applications must include:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

    Remarks:

    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

    Duration: 11.5 months

    Duty Station: New York

    How to apply:

    UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization. To apply, click on the following link http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/?job=512971

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