Position Title

Research Systems Manager



Salary & Grade


Position Location

African Academy of Sciences, Nairobi, Kenya


2 Years Fixed term

Closing date

August 2017


The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) is a funding and agenda setting platform seeking to address Africa’s health and developmental challenges by promoting the development of Africa’s research leadership, scientific excellence and innovation.

AESA’s guiding philosophy is to support the brightest people in Africa, working in the right places and environments, to implement key programmes that can foster scientific excellence, leadership and innovations that impact health and developmental challenges.

AESA and its partners recognise the essential contribution that professional research management makes to scientific excellence and innovation. To that end, AESA seeks to enshrine research management at the heart of the research support system, supporting institutions and their researchers by delivering a co-ordinated programme of development for non-academic professionals, defining career pathways, enhancing personal skillsets, developing peer support networks, creating communities of practice, and improving institutions systems and processes.   Furthermore, the Research Systems Manager will address systemic issues within the research ecosystem, for example managing research ethics review boards.

AESA and partners, including Wellcome Trust, are working to advocate the importance of research management and to develop a programme for professionalising research and innovation management in Africa, designed to strengthen research by enhancing individual research management expertise, developing peer support networks, creating communities of practice and defining career pathways. This programme is in development with a launch proposed for December 2017. A draft outline of the programme is available on the AAS website.

Overall Job Purpose

The overall aim of the role is to enhance professional standards in research management by managing a programme to professionalise research and innovation management in Africa, coordinating development opportunities and resources, and providing leadership and advice on strengthening research management.

The post holder will be a strong advocate for the importance of research management, delivering and further developing the professionalisation programme, and influencing the policies and practice of researchers, institutions, funders, and other stakeholders. Working closely with technical advisors and in partnership with a counterpart programme in India, this work will contribute to developing a resilient and innovative research ecosystem within African countries and other LMICS.

Reports to: AESA Director

Works closely with; coordinating and delivery partners, including funding organisations, international research management associations, African and international universities and research institutions, specialist consultants, and other representative bodies.

Also works with; AAS Communications Manager, AESA Programme Managers and Grant Officers.

Budget Responsibility; Programme budget to be managed with funders


Provide leadership for the transformation of research systems and management in Africa:

  • Ensure there is a coherent approach by AESA to the research systems which underpin the successful delivery of its research and capacity building programmes;
  • Ensure that as far possible, the support to research management complements and learns from the work on Good Financial Grants Practice programme being implemented by AESA;
  • Ensure as far as possible cohesion and integration with other funders who have similar interests to strengthen research management in Africa and work towards harmonization and integration of efforts.

Deliver and further develop the programme for professionalising research and innovation management in Africa including:

  • Managing the recruitment and ongoing engagement of institutions and individuals to the programme;
  • Undertaking evaluation activities to ensure that the programme remains ‘fit-for-purpose’ and responsive to new opportunities;
  • Seeking funding and/or sponsorship for the ongoing development and delivery of the programme;
  • Liaising with partners and consultants to coordinate the Programme benchmarking exercise and Senior Management Team training, and the Fellowship programme
  • Providing the secretariat for the Programme Board;
  • Managing the programme budget and;
  • Working with the AAS Communications Manager to identify showcasing opportunities and develop marketing and promotion materials.

Support the development of research and innovation management as a profession, including:

  • Developing and supporting networks for research and innovation management professionals;
  • Sharing learning and resources with other research and innovation management professionals via a resources portal;
  • Attending workshops, conferences, and professional development events and;
  • Communicating about professionalisation programme activities

Advocate for the importance of research and innovation management across the research project lifecycle, including:

  • Being a vocal champion for research management, amongst senior institutional leaders, funding bodies, Government and other key stakeholders;
  • Developing and delivering an advocacy plan;
  • Working with the AAS Communications manager to promote the value of research and innovation management.

Build knowledge, skills and confidence around research and innovation management amongst Programme Managers, Grant Officers and others who advise applicants and support funded programmes, including:

  • Running in-house training on research and innovation management principles;
  • Making contributions to relevant pan-African initiatives, for example the Science Granting Councils Initiative and;
  • Contributing to relevant policy discussions.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Professional and Experience:

  1. Graduate in Science, Public Health, Social Science, Business Administration, or related field. Educated to postgraduate degree level or equivalent. 
  2. 5 years’ experience working in higher education or the research sector with project management experience.
  3. Understanding of current international, national and pan-African issues in research management. Certification as a Research Administrator advantageous.
  4. Responsibility for preparing, managing and reporting budgets.
  5. Experience in working with different forms of communication (interpersonal, participatory learning, mass media) a major advantage
  6. Experience of event planning and/or administration advantageous.
  7. Experience of preparing and delivering professional training advantageous.
  8. A track record of building productive internal and external relationships and working across organisational and/or sector boundaries to deliver successful collaborations.
  9. English speaker/writing in addition to any other local languages.
  10. High competency in use of Microsoft Office applications
  11. Willingness and ability to travel extensively across Africa and occasionally to international destinations.

Behavioral and personal qualities

  • Excellent inter-personal skills and the ability to work with people from varied backgrounds, at all management levels
  • Resilience – maintaining composure and dealing effectively under pressure
  • Methodical and systematic, with a strong attention to detail and accuracy
  • Action-oriented, confident and able to show initiative
  • Operate at the highest levels of integrity and ethics
  • Quality delivery and always conscious of deadlines
  • Excellent negotiation skills and an ability to influence outcomes through tact, diplomacy and effective reason and persuasion.
  • Able to foster team work and build capacity.


The position is open to qualified candidates from Africa and globally who can work in Kenya. Applicants must email a completed application form from the AAS website, detailed curriculum vitae, and a cover letter to, with the Position and Vacancy Number as the Subject by 7th August 2017.

Click here for more details on this role

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.