Research Officer

Localization of knowledge on refugee and forced migration in the global South

A joint initiative by IDRC, LERRN and Carleton University


The Research Officer will provide research and administrative support for a small team that will identify how best to provide sustainable support to knowledge ecosystems in the global South to provide research, training and public and policy engagement on issues relating to refugees and forced migration. The position is based at 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: 12 months

Start date: Negotiable, but preferably by 15 September 2019

Salary for 12 months (2019/20): C$51,000 plus benefits

Application deadline: 5 August 2019


80% of the world’s refugees are hosted in low and middle-income countries in the global South. The average duration of a refugee situation is now 20 years. The combination of these realities poses particular challenges for major refugee hosting countries. While global policy responses have been developed, including through the Global Compact on Refugees affirmed by the UN General Assembly in December 2018, responses to specific refugee situations require highly localized and context-specific knowledge to support the development and implementation of context-specific responses.

Despite the need for such knowledge, and the concentration of refugees in the global South, the vast majority of research capacity on refugee and forced migration issues remains in research centres in the global North. Given this imbalance in research capacity and given the critical importance of research capacity in the global South to support effective responses, it is critical to develop and sustain localized research capacity on refugee issues in major refugee-hosting regions in the global South.


In response to this challenge, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), LERRN and Carleton University have launched a year-long initiative to build upon the existing knowledge infrastructure in the global South to identify how best to establish viable and sustainable ecosystems to: produce localized, policy-relevant research on solutions for refugees; foster dialogue among researchers, policy actors and practitioners; foster localized research capacity; and, promote South-South dialogue and amplify local perspectives into global arenas.

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 2019 to January 2020) will map research capacity in regions in the global South most affected by recurring and protracted instances of large-scale forced migration but lacking in influential and sustained knowledge ecosystems.

Phase two of the project (January to September 2020) will include field visits to priority regions identified in the mapping phase. These field visits will drill-down into local conditions, needs and capacities. Results from fieldwork will provide the basis for a proposal for regionally-appropriate knowledge ecosystems that build on existing capacity to generate localized, multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary knowledge, and support sustained, evidence-based discussions that link research, policy and practice in each region.


Based in the LERRN Secretariat at Carleton University and working under the supervision of the Project Director, the Research Officer will:

  • Prepare a literature review on the political economy of knowledge production in refugee and forced migration studies and similar areas of South-North research collaboration;
  • Prepare a mapping of research centres in the global South, including a list of activities and an index of sustainability and impact;
  • Conduct remote interviews of past and current directors of research centres in the global South to identify factors contributing to sustainability and impact;
  • Prepare an interim report on the determinacies of sustainability and impact of refugee and forced migration research centres in the global South;
  • Conduct a mapping exercise of existing research capacities in major refugee hosting regions that currently lack established knowledge hubs on refugee and forced migration issues;
  • Establish contact with partners in the regions to support field visits;
  • Undertake field visits to each region to consult with local actors and stakeholders to develop proposals on configurations, terms of reference and costed models for a knowledge hub;
  • Co-author (with Consultants and Project Director) a report on findings from the field visits and present findings to global stakeholders to obtain feedback and strategic direction;
  • Prepare (with Consultants and Project Director) a proposal for longer-term support for regions of the global South, including activities to be supported, the business plan, indicators of success and pathways to sustainability; and,
  • Co-author (with Project Director), and support to publication, a scholarly product to communicate the results of the project to the refugee and forced migration studies community.


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;
  • Experience collaborating with research centres in the global South;
  • 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 working in both English and one of the following languages: Arabic, French, or Spanish.

Preference will be given to candidates who have experience contributing to the administration and programming of a research centre.

Application process:

To apply, please send the following electronically to Dr. James Milner ( with the subject line “Research Officer Application” by 5 August 2019:

  • 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 9 August 2019 to arrange an interview by Skype.

Applicants selected for an interview are asked to contact Dr. James Milner 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

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.