We are now recruiting for the position of Research Officer to support the project Knowledge Ecosystems on forced displacement in the Middle East and East Africa.

This is a Grant-funded Term Position, based at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

The Research Officer will provide research and administrative support for a small team that will identify how local forced displacement policy making can be better informed by localized knowledge and networks for the Middle East and East Africa. The position is with Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, working under the supervision of Dr. James Milner, Project Director of LERRN: The Local Engagement Refugee Research Network.

Position duration: 18 months, full time (35 hours per week)

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Start date: Negotiable, but preferably by 1 September 2020

Annual salary: C$50,000

Application deadline: 7 August 2020


The UNHCR estimates that some 79.5 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations (2020).  Among the many challenges related to displacement, a crucial one is the pronounced imbalance of countries currently hosting the largest numbers of displaced population. In total, some 85% of the world’s displaced people are being hosted in countries neighbouring their countries of origin, mostly in the global South and in Low to Middle Income Countries (LMICs). Together, the regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa host some 65% of the world’s forcibly displaced. In contexts of fragility, deep knowledge hierarchies and imbalances on forced displacement issues exist which this project seeks to address. Over 90% of published research that influences policy and practice originates from researchers based in the global North, even though around 85% of forced migrants are currently in the global South. This presents a disconnect between the challenges faced by large numbers of displaced populations and the curated solutions.

Moreover, refugees now spend an average of 20 years in exile, often in border regions and urban areas that also face challenges of fragility, governance and capacity. The consequence is that forced displacement is no longer strictly a humanitarian issue but is also an issue that is squarely on the agendas of actors engaged with issues of development and fragility. Effects of forced displacement are wide-ranging, and they include loss of livelihoods, threats to health, curtailing of education, a rise in hate discourse, as well as exacerbation of the risks of conflict.


In response to this challenge, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), LERRN and Carleton University conducted a year long initiative on “Localization of knowledge on refugee and forced migration in the global South.” Based on the findings from the first phase of this work, IDRC, LERRN and Carleton University are launching a new 18-month initiative that will collaborate with partners in the Middle East and East Africa to identify and map the existing research networks and knowledge ecosystems in the two regions. This project also aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and learning between the partners and the regions and support workshops and training sessions.

The long-term objectives of this initiative are to contribute to enhanced knowledge, improved solutions for refugees and sustainable capacity to contribute to more localized approaches to refugee research, policy and practice that reflect and address local political, economic and social dynamics.


Phase one of the project (September 2020 to March 2021) will focus on the scoping and mapping of the existing ecosystems of forced migration research in East Africa and the Middle East, and will create a typology of what exists. It will study the processes and structures in place as well as issues related to data. This phase will also include a mapping of global engagement with localized research, including outreach to donors and research councils to understand current mechanisms for supporting forced displacement research in refugee-hosting regions of the global South.

Phase two of the project (April 2021 to September 2021) will developed detailed analysis of selected case studies where existing ecosystems have led to policy changes. Case studies will identify the mechanisms through which localized ecosystems are able to affect changes in policy and practice.

Phase three of the project (October to December 2021) will build from these results to prepare region-specific proposals and a global proposal on the value of supporting localized knowledge ecosystems and identifying the value of mobilizing support for such investments through global partnerships. Final academic outputs will also be produced in this phase.


Working under the supervision of Dr. James Milner, LERRN Project Director, and with the support of a Research Assistant, the Research Officer will:

  • Collaborate with partners to develop an appropriate methodology to conduct a mapping of existing research networks and knowledge ecosystems in East Africa and the Middle East and support implementation;
  • Collaborate with partners to develop an appropriate methodology to identify and document detailed case studies of examples of localized knowledge production resulting in change in policy and practice in local and national contexts;
  • Collaborate with partners to support the development of proposals for sustainable local knowledge ecosystems in East Africa and the Middle East;
  • Support the implementation of a partner engagement strategy and develop a proposal to donors and research councils on the mechanisms by which the value of localized ecosystems can be supported in a sustainable way that realizes their value and impact;
  • Facilitate cross-regional knowledge exchange and learning;
  • Support workshops and training sessions in East Africa and the Middle East;
  • Co-author with partners academic publications based on the research findings;
  • Coordinate the dissemination of results through organizing a launch event and other knowledge mobilization activities;
  • Coordinate the upcoming LERRN-IDRC webinar series on forced displacement issues;
  • Support on-going research on ethics and collaborative research partnership including preparing a mapping exercise on research funding streams and their ethics requirements;
  • With the support of Carleton University, manage the administrative and logistical requirements for the project; and,
  • Prepare interim and final reports for the IDRC.


The successful candidate will have:

  • A completed PhD (or equivalent), or be very near completion of a PhD (or equivalent), in refugee and forced migration studies, or related field, with a focus on the global South, or a Master’s degree in refugee and forced migration studies, or related field, with a focus on the global South, plus equivalent years of relevant experience;
  • Demonstrated background in partnered research and research collaborations;
  • A record of academic publishing relevant to the position and relative to career stage;
  • Demonstrated experience in the administration of grant-funded research in the NGO or Higher Education sectors;
  • Experience and /or qualifications in project management and administration;
  • Experience working independently, in cross-cultural contexts, and in a dynamic research team environment;
  • Experience in writing funding proposals for multi-year projects; and,
  • Experience collaborating with research centers in the Middle East and/or East Africa.

While all eligible candidates are encouraged to apply, preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents.

Application process:

To apply, please send the following electronically to Dr. Richa Shivakoti (RichaShivakoti@cunet.carleton.ca) with the subject line “Research Officer Application” by 10 August 2020:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • Writing sample relevant to the position
  • Names of three reference (only references of short-listed candidates will be contacted)

Short-listed candidates will be contacted by 17 August 2020 to arrange an interview by Skype.

Applicants selected for an interview are asked to contact Dr. Richa Shivakoti as soon as possible to discuss any accommodation requirements. Arrangements will be made in a timely manner.

About Carleton University:

Carleton University is a dynamic and innovative research and teaching institution with a national and international reputation as a leader in collaborative teaching and learning, research and governance. With over 30,000 students, 900 academic faculty, and 1,100 staff and more than 100 programs of study, we encourage creative risk-taking enabling minds to connect, discover and generate transformative knowledge. We are proud to be one of the most accessible campuses in North America. Carleton’s Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities has been heralded as the gold standard for disability support services in Canada.

Carleton’s location in Ottawa, Ontario provides many opportunities for scholarship and research with numerous and diverse groups and institutions. To learn more about our university and the City of Ottawa, please visit www.carleton.ca/about.

Carleton University is committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our university including, but not limited to: women; visible minorities; First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. Carleton understands that career paths vary. Legitimate career interruptions will in no way prejudice the assessment process and their impact will be taken into careful consideration.