Post-Doctoral Social Scientist- Health Systems Researcher Job in Kenya



Reference Number: PDSS-HSR-280217

Category: Other

Grade: 9.01

Location: NAIROBI

Country: Kenya


JOB PURPOSE: To take on a senior role within a team conducting a set of linked studies spanning policy and practice within the field of human resources for health with a particular focus on the nursing role in providing quality care. The studies aim to understand the human resource challenges of providing care to sick newborns in Nairobi and to inform long-term strategy on the provision of nursing care to this vulnerable population. Specific interests include the practice and importance of nursing management and how task-shifting / task-sharing may impact on nursing work and the profession. Specific roles will be to: 1. Support the conduct of ethnographic research to help understand nursing practice 2. Lead the study of how task-shifting might enable improved neonatal nursing care and the professional and regulatory consequences of such a strategy, work that will include stakeholder analysis 3. Develop new work on nursing leadership in policy making and human resources management 4. Develop short-course teaching on human resources for health, organizational change and qualitative research methods.


The Health Services Unit based in Nairobi has undertaken health systems research for some years as well as conducting observational studies, quality of care and implementation studies, and has a multi-disciplinary team spanning clinicians, epidemiologists/statisticians, and social scientists. It is undertaking a set of work with the Nairobi City County and in partnership with the Kenya Paediatric Association, the University of Nairobi, Strathmore University and Oxford University that is examining the delivery of care to sick newborns in Nairobi and focuses particularly on the critical role of nursing care. We are seeking a post-doctoral researcher to join the team undertaking this work in a senior capacity.

The post holder will take a lead in understanding the position of different stakeholders and their influence on the long-term provision of nursing care for sick newborns and how new task-shifting strategies might contribute to improved nursing care. This will require a participatory research approach.  The post-holder will be expected to lead the reporting of this work with stakeholders at national and international levels through reports, presentations and writing for peer reviewed journals.

The post-holder will also help supervise work exploring the quality of neonatal care and support conduct of more detailed social science and ethnographic work exploring the challenges of providing nursing care. In the latter role the post-holder will support and supervise more junior researchers. Throughout the work support will be provided from senior health systems researchers in Kenya and Oxford with an aim that the individual develops this role as a post-doctoral scientist to enable their personal career development.

Linked to the specific areas of work above the post-holder will be expected to develop new proposals to build work in the area of human resources for health with a particular focus on nursing policy, management and practice. This work will require collaboration with Prof. Gerry McGivern from Warwick Business School and will also be used to strengthen scientific links with the Institute of Healthcare Management at Strathmore University.

As part of a wider contribution to the development of social science capacity the post-holder will be expected to lead/support development and delivery of short course training on human resources for health, organizational change and qualitative research methods.

We are therefore seeking a post-doctoral researcher interested in health systems research and with prior experience in social science, human resources or organisational / management research. The post will suit individuals wishing to pursue a longer term career in research. The post-holder will also be a part of the Health Systems Research Group that spans the KWTRP and that hosts methodological workshops for all post-doctoral scientists, PhD students and junior researchers.  They will have opportunities to teach at MSc level and will be expected to help organise weekly seminars and journal clubs and provide peer review of emerging proposals within KWTRP together with other senior scientists.


  • PhD in organizational research with predominant use of qualitative methods and ideally focused on a topic relevant to Kenyan health systems
  • Evidence of prior publications as first author in international peer reviewed journals
  • Prior experience of supervising junior researchers


  • Prior role in delivering short-course teaching
  • Excellent understanding of the Kenyan health system
  • Research experience in human resources for health or maternal and newborn health
  • Demonstrable interest in a career in research
  • Demonstrable excellent interpersonal and written communication skills
  • Demonstrable excellent organizational skills and prior experience managing more junior research team members
  • Ability to work relatively independently to achieve agreed objectives
  • Focus on timely delivery of objectives

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