Data Scientist (IPC), Rome, Italy

Organization: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Country: Italy

City: Rome

Office: FAO Rome

Closing date: Tuesday, 14 September 2021


Data Scientist (IPC)

Job Posting: 07/Sep/2021

Closure Date: 14/Sep/2021, 9:59:00 PM

Organizational Unit : ESA

Job Type: Non-staff opportunities

Type of Requisition : Consultant / PSA (Personal Services Agreement)

Grade Level : N/A

Primary Location: Italy-Rome

Duration : Up to 11 month

Post Number : N/A

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device

FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background, and culture

Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented member nations, and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply

Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct and to uphold our values. FAO has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and FAO, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination

All selected candidates, therefore, will undergo rigorous reference and background checks

All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations depending on the evolving needs of the Organization

Organizational Setting

The Agricultural Development Economics Division (ESA) is the focal point for FAO’s research and policy analysis on agricultural and economic development. The division produces evidence-based policy analysis and strengthens the capacity of member countries to improve decision-making on food security, nutrition and resilience. Within this context, the production and dissemination of lessons learned, good practices, as well as knowledge sharing and communication products related to the analysis of food security, nutrition and resilience situation is key in building these capacities at country level.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a global, multi-partner innovative initiative to facilitate decision-making with improved food security analysis, through a set of tools and protocols for classifying the severity and nature of food insecurity and implications for response. IPC incorporates a meta-analysis approach drawing on evidence-based analysis of food security, nutrition and livelihood information through a consensus building approach that includes a broad range of stakeholders.

This global initiative is governed and strategically guided by an IPC Global Steering Committee (GSC), consisting of 15 major food security and nutrition agencies, including: Action Against Hunger, Care International, Comité Permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS), Joint Research Centre of the European Union (JRC), Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), FAO, Food Security Cluster, Global Nutrition Cluster, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Oxfam, Southern African Development Community (SADC), Save the Children, Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana (SICA), UNICEF and WFP. The IPC Global Support Unit (GSU), hosted within ESA, is the operational arm of the SC and is responsible for the coordination of IPC normative development, IPC global standards on quality and compliance, as well as the global coordination of capacity building support to IPC activities worldwide.

FAO International Consultants and Call purpose

The Organization frequently engages experts to work on short-term activities and projects as international consultants or under personal service agreements (PSA) at various levels of experience (see minimum requirements below). International consultants or PSAs are engaged by the Organization to provide expertise, skills or knowledge for the performance of a specific task or piece of work, which is short-term by nature. The assignment may involve full-time or part-time functions. The assignment can be from 1 month up to 11 months. The possibility of extension is subject to satisfactory performance and depending on the availability of resources and needs of the Organization.

Individuals meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Call will be included in the ESA Divisional Roster. Experts who are registered in the Roster are available for consideration whenever relevant opportunities arise matching the required profiles. Contracts will be home-based with possible limited travel.

Reporting Lines

Selected applicants will work under the overall guidance of the ESA Division Director and IPC Global Programme Manager, the direct functional supervision of the IPC Technical Development Team Leader, the daily functional orientation from the Information Management Systems Team Leader, and in close collaboration with the IT Services Division (CSI).

Technical Focus

Information technologies and modeling with special focus on statistical and data mining techniques, artificial intelligence and machine learning

Tasks and responsibilities

The assigned tasks and responsibilities can include the following:

Define new data set requirements, processing steps, and most appropriate import methods

Transfer/import data from existing data source into the IPC platforms using established tools, protocols, and standards

Prepare (clean, process, transform, etc.) data as required for the IPC analytical process

Using IPC platforms, prepare the analytical dashboard elements

Work with Information System (IS) team to improve tools for data ingestion and processing

Work with Technical Development Team (TDT) to define data sets, indicators

Define/implement advanced technology processing (scripting, AI, ML, other) as analytical processes are further automated

Define new data streams and create methods of enhanced ingestion and processing

Coordinate with GSU and country focal persons to prepare ISS repository for analyses

Oversee work of data entry staff to ensure timely availability of data

Use project management tool to log activity before, during, upon completion

Explore, prototype and propose ways to use AI, machine learning, big data and other advanced technologies for the digital automation of IPC data management and analysis processes, including the potential for modelling food security forecasts



University degree (Bachelor’s or higher) in Computer Science, Statistics, or similar field

At least 5+ years of relevant experience working on (i) advanced data management, processing and statistical techniques, or (ii) artificial intelligence and other advanced techniques for data management and analysis. Experience in both domains will be considered an asset.

Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of one of the other FAO languages (French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian) for Consultants. Working knowledge of English for PSA.SBS.

FAO Core Competencies

Results Focus



Building Effective Relationships

Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

Strong problem-solving skills related to data science and mining

Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills

Proven ability to write complex technical concepts using a simple and understandable language

Skills related to data management, processing and statistical techniques, should include: o Experience on data management, processing and preparing data representations for simple visualization using charting and tabular tools o Advanced knowledge of statistical computer languages (R, SPSS, Python, SQL, etc.) to manipulate data

Skills related to artificial intelligence and other advanced techniques for data management and analysis, should include: o Experience using web services for scraping, APIs, and similar techniques o Knowledge of artificial intelligence and machine learning (clustering, decision tree, neural networks, etc.), and/or other information technologies.

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency


FAO does not charge any fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, processing)

Please note that FAO will only consider academic credentials or degrees obtained from an educational institution recognized in the IAU/UNESCO list If you are in possession of language certificate/s from UN accredited external providers and/or FAO language official examinations (LPE, ILE, LRT), please attach the certificate/s when submitting the application.

For more information, visit the FAO employment website


To apply, visit the recruitment website at Jobs at FAO and complete your online profile. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only applications received through the recruitment portal will be considered.

We encourage applicants to submit the application well before the deadline

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