PMA2020: Senior Research Assistant

Classified Title: Sr. Research Assistant
Requisition ID #: 368
Range: MB
Level: 3
Salary: $37,781 - $51, 950 annually
Status: Full Time

To apply, please visit the JHU Careers website.


General Description

Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) is a five-year project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is designed to facilitate annual progress reporting in support of the goals and principles of FP2020. The project will support low-cost, rapid-turnaround household and facility surveys to routinely update national indicators on family planning and water and sanitation in 10 countries in Asia and Africa.

Year 1 Countries: Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and DR Congo

Year 2 Countries: Burkina Faso, Nigeria, India (Rajasthan), Indonesia, and Niger

Year 3 Countries: Ivory Coast

The project is implemented by in-country university and research organizations, deploying a cadre of female resident enumerators trained in mobile-assisted data collection. PMA2020 establishes a sentinel data collection platform that transforms the way health survey data is collected -- a platform that may be utilized for monitoring a range of health program areas in future modules.

PMA2020 is seeking a full-time Senior Research Assistant to support computer programming and data management activities across several project countries and in Baltimore. The Senior Research Assistant will carry out programming and management of mobile phone-based survey forms using Open Data Kit (ODK). He/ she will clean data for public release and maintain tools for users of public PMA2020 datasets. The Senior Research Assistant will be tasked with improving the efficiency of PMA2020 data collection and processing systems.

Specific tasks for which the Senior Research Assistant will be responsible include:

  • Mobile survey form development – on-the-job training in the Xls form syntax will be provided.
  • Assistance maintaining form version control across countries, and coordination of rolling out new form versions as needed.
  • Developing and updating cleaning do files in Stata.
  • Cleaning and checking data for public release.
  • Maintaining and improving data user tools released with public datasets.
  • Improving efficiency of data processing systems including creating version control systems of PMA2020 files, standardizing variable naming, and automating data cleaning.
  • Assisting with analysis for reports, data briefs, and auxiliary publications.
  • Coordinating and assisting with training of in-country partner technical staff as needed.

This position requires proficiency in computer programming, and previous work experience using statistical software for data cleaning, management, and/or analysis. Experience with a general-purpose programming language and STATA are required. Experience with ODK a plus. Bachelor’s degree required. Proficiency in French or other project country languages a plus. Demonstrated excellence in computer science, mathematical sciences, and/or data management and analysis required.

The Senior Research Assistant will report to PMA2020’s Senior Programmer Analyst and will also assist with additional data management and technical support needs that arise throughout the life of the project.

This is a remote position; regular in-person meetings are required.


  • Bachelor's degree in related discipline. Three years of related experience. Additional graduate level education may substitute for required experience, to the extent permitted by the JHU equivalency formula.
  • Experience working with datasets, data analysis, and data management.
  • Experience working in Stata and a general-purpose programming language.
  • Willing to travel internationally occasionally.
  • Ability to self-manage tasks and timelines while working in a team environment.
  • Ability to manage multiple activities, deadlines, and priorities simultaneously.
  • Ability to execute assignments with a short turnaround time.

JHU Equivalency Formula:18 graduate degree credits may substitute for one year of experience. Additional related experience may substitute for required education on the same basis. For jobs where equivalency is permitted, up to two years of non-related college course work may be applied towards the total minimum education/experience required for the respective job.

Preferred Qualifications

  • MPH or MS in relevant field preferred.
  • Computer Science background.
  • Additional statistical software package experience a plus, such as R or Python.
  • Experience with Open Data Kit.
  • Experience with version control software such as github.
  • Experience with conducting trainings or teaching experience preferred.
  • French language skills.