Consultant: Data and Information Management Support
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), on behalf of CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), is looking for an early career candidate to support Data and Information Management.
The CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) is a global research-for-development program working across CGIAR to deliver agriculture solutions that sustain our natural resources – and the lives of people who rely on them. WLE recognizes that environmental degradation and the scarcity of natural resources present major threats to agricultural productivity, resilience to climate change and social equity. Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide clearer guidance on practical ways forward for policy makers, farmers and business leaders on this complex and contested set of issues.
WLE, led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), brings together the resources of core partners from the CGIAR, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the RUAF Global Partnership, as well as over 500 national, regional and international partners to provide evidence and solutions around sustainable agriculture and natural resource management, while ensuring these solutions are inclusive and equitable. As a global research partnership for a food-secure future, WLE is ideally placed to bring together the collective understanding on sustainable agriculture of CGIAR and other organizations, and connect this knowledge with ‘on-the-ground realities’ to deliver a set of compelling solutions on how and what we need to do to transform the way we grow, tend and catch our food.
To achieve its higher-level objectives, as outlined above, WLE brings together results of almost 130 different research for development project activities. Each project activity contributes to an anticipated outcome under one of five different thematic areas, or Flagships. An essential component of the management of this program is ensuring that the achievements and individual outputs of each of the 130+ project activities are planned, captured and reported in a way that clearly shows how the achievements across different projects and their partners, regions and disciplines, contribute collectively to higher level program level objectives. WLE uses a CGIAR-wide project management system called MARLO (Managing Agricultural Research for Learning and Outcomes) to manage this data, which is the basis for annual planning and reporting. Effective and comprehensive data and information management becomes even more critical as WLE prepares for final reporting, and syntheses of results, as the program reaches the closure of its second phase, in December 2021.
Objective of the Assignment
The objective of this consultancy is to support the WLE research program with data and information collection, coordination, and organisation, using an established online system, to service the various planning, reporting and management activities that the WLE program must undertake throughout the year.
Scope of Work
The consultant will support the maintenance of project level data, largely via a CGIAR-wide online project management platform called MARLO (Managing Agricultural Research for Learning and Outcomes). The consultant will support WLE’s annual planning and reporting which entails supporting researchers to complete individual project plans and reports on time and to the required quality, and ensuring that project level information from MARLO is used appropriately and effectively in WLE planning and reporting processes. The consultant will also contribute to the Program Management Unit’s (PMU) work to categorise and store program information, in preparation for future syntheses, reviews and audits. Key areas of work:
A. Maintenance of MARLO (Managing Agricultural Research for Learning and Outcomes) online project management platform for WLE
All WLE program and project information is stored on the MARLO system. MARLO is used by WLE to generate annual plans and reports for the CGIAR. The consultant’s role includes:
A1. Learning how to operate MARLO, and gaining a clear understanding of the requirements of each data field
A2. Supporting researchers, Flagship (theme) Leaders and others to use MARLO to input their data, including training new users as necessary
A3. Setting up systems to enable researchers to enter the best possible project information, on time
A4. Regular review of project data to ensure that records are clear, complete, and up to date. Where there are gaps, the consultant will liaise with researchers for additional information
A5. Generating data from MARLO for WLE informational and contractual requirements
A6. Working closely with the Program Manager, MARLO developers, and other CRP users to provide feedback on MARLO for improvement of the system
B. Planning and Reporting
WLE’s Annual Reports (AR) and Annual Plan of Work and Budget (POWB) are constructed based on data generated from MARLO. Researchers enter their project information directly into MARLO, but often require support to complete some of the fields. Key areas of work:
B1. Helping Flagship Leaders to enter their annual milestones and other impact pathway data into MARLO
B2. Supporting Flagship Leaders and PMU in the process of review of project plans. This includes preparing spreadsheets using MARLO data and recording formal approvals of projects and new funding sources
B3. Providing researchers with advice and support, so that they are able to enter their project information on MARLO in full and on time, for 2021 planning and 2020 reporting
B4. Working closely with the POWB and AR development teams to ensure that the required MARLO data fields have been completed and can be used to generate these documents. This includes working with the teams to address any feedback received from the CGIAR
B5. Developing a formal, agreed 2021 list of projects and deliverables for each WLE program partner, based on MARLO data
C. Archiving and categorising program level data
WLE will reach the end of its second phase in December 2021. To prepare for future program reviews, reports, or audits, it is essential that documents are appropriately categorised and archived in such a way as to be easily understood and accessed. WLE uses MARLO and Microsoft’s repository and file sharing platform ‘SharePoint’ to manage and store program information. The protocol for storing information requires mapping, and may need some adjustments to ensure it is functioning correctly and is still fit for purpose. The consultant will work closely with the WLE PMU team on:
C1. Documenting, mapping and describing the structure of Phase 2 (2017-2021) program information, which may include some adjustments and reviewing folder contents to ensure accurate version control
C2. Categorizing, filtering and documenting program information from Phase 1 (2012-2016), which will include project data pre-dating the MARLO system
C3. Supporting the PMU to adhere to information management and filing protocols for the remainder of the program
This assignment is full-time, from October 2020 to December 2021.
The assignment will be home-based. The consultant will be prepared to work across various time zones, from Eastern Standard time to Sri Lankan Standard time.
Your application must include a copy of your curriculum vitae, together with a cover letter and the names and e-mail addresses of three professional referees.
Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.
- Relevant Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience
- At least one year’s experience of research, project or data management/ coordination
- Understanding of the concepts of impact pathways, outcomes, milestones, and results, as applied to research and its objectives
- Understanding of key concepts in water, land and ecosystems management, and sustainable agriculture
- Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work with scientists at various levels of seniority, across different communities and cultures,
- Excellent organizational skills and proven ability to multitask
- Ability to work under pressure, take initiative, and work independently
- Experience and familiarity with Excel and SharePoint
- Fluent English
Desirable skills include:
- Previous experience of program level databases
- Experience of living and working in the Global South
This role does not require a background in computer programming – all software development is dealt with by a dedicated MARLO team).