Kemri Wellcome Trust Nairobi Programme Director Job


Reference Number:NPD31-12
Category:Management and Administration
JOB PURPOSE: The main purpose of this post will be to offer scientific leadership in the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Nairobi to help create an identifiable and sustainable research grouping within the KWTRP by drawing on the strengths of investigators working in Nairobi and existing and emerging partnerships. The post will require someone with substantial experience in research and project management, a track record of high quality peer reviewed publications, knowledge transfer and an excellent track record in obtaining research funding.


To the Executive Programme Director


Managing relevant sections of core award and signatory to Programme accounts.


The key responsibilities will include:

  • Strategic planning for Nairobi in discussion with Principal Investigators who work from the Nairobi offices of KWTRP as their main focus of operations (from this point simply referred to as Nairobi) and in conjunction with the Executive Programme Director and Heads of Kilifi Scientific Departments. The purpose would be:
    • To develop and evolve a scientific strategy that best meets the long-term aims of the PIs who work from the Nairobi offices of KWTRP as their main focus of operations
    • To help create a recognisable identity within the KWTRP and externally for the collaborative population health / health systems work that is undertaken from Nairobi
    • To help create effective institutional partnerships / collaborations with Kenyan academic centres / universities, with a particular focus on those in Nairobi, that can help promote long-term career development pathways and capacity building
    • To foster effective institutional partnerships / collaborations with African or global research centres that can enable successful funding applications in line with the scientific strategy for research, long-term career  development pathways and capacity building
  • To represent Nairobi at meetings with The Wellcome Trust, KEMRI and Oxford (the 3 partners in the KWTRP) as may be relevant.
  • To participate as a member of the Executive Management Committee and the Head of Scientific Departments Meetings.
  • To represent the Programme Director and coordinate dissemination and implementation of Programme policies and positions within Nairobi.
  • To coordinate scientific administration and management of resources in Nairobi together with the head of operations in Nairobi.
  • To maintain or develop a role as a Principal Investigator with full intellectual and operational responsibility for an area of research for which funding is successfully awarded.
  • To support and mentor early and mid-career researchers and PhD students.
  • Preparing and supporting applications for research funding for new research / collaborations linked to international investigators that would support scientific strategies relevant to the evolving strategy of Nairobi within KWTRP.
  • To support appropriate representation of Nairobi on programme wide committees / advisory groups (e.g. higher degrees committee, employee / student representative groups) To help develop an effective communications approach so that the research being conducted by Principal Investigators who work from the Nairobi offices is effectively explained to partner institutions including the Ministry of Health, local academic groups, collaborators and funders.
  • To support and facilitate public engagement work in collaboration with the public engagement team.
  • To carry out any additional duties as may reasonably be required to support the aims of Principal Investigators who work from the Nairobi offices of KWTRP as their main focus of operations and the wider KWTRP within the general scope and level of the post.



  • PhD or equivalent research qualification or relevant experience.
  • At least 6 years’ experience in supervisory/scientific leadership role.
  • Experienced driver of research projects and outputs.
  • Should have a track record of securing competitive funding as a Principal Investigator and independently winning substantial research funding on an ongoing basis and driving a research agenda.
  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of research methodologies and protocols and quantitative / qualitative analysis techniques and software tools as appropriate.
  • Track record of developing local and international collaboration linkages
  • Experience of research student supervision.
  • Track record of making contributions to professional bodies, national and international academic community.
  • Experience in research translation and knowledge transfer.
  • An international track record of high quality prestigious publications.


  • Demonstrable leadership skills.
  • Analytical skills, ability to think of new ideas
  • Proactive, initiative, flexibility and willingness to help, learn
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Team worker, able to work in a multi-cultural environment
  • Ability to train junior team members and potential for teaching of research skills in their discipline.
  • Aptitude for supervising junior staff and supporting capacity building initiatives
  • Should demonstrate scholarly excellence.