Consultant-Data Science Lead

Full-Time
India
Posted 8 months ago
Organization UNDP
Location :Remote, INDIA
Application Deadline :13-Dec-21 (Midnight New York, USA)

Job Description (Consultant-Data Science Lead)

Background
Agriculture plays a pivotal role in India’s economy as over 58% of rural households depend on it as the principal means of livelihood, 80% of whom are smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of farmland. More than a fifth of the smallholder farm households are below poverty. Climate change continues to be a real and potent threat to the agriculture sector, which will impact everything from productivity to livelihoods across food and farm systems. Productivity loss will not only impact food security but also impact livelihoods and real income of farmers. It is estimated that climate change causes loss of annual farm income by 15%-18% on an average in India. This calls for a revamp of the entire mechanism that brings food from farms to our plates. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly highlighted the massive disruption caused in food supply chains exposing the vulnerabilities of marginalized communities, small holder farmers and the importance of building resilient food systems. It has become even more important now that we develop and adopt innovative methodologies and technologies that can help bolster countries against food supply shocks and challenges in the era of climate crisis.

UNDP has partnered with the Government of Telangana to jointly initiate the NextGenGov ‘Data for Policy’ initiative on Food Systems. The aim is to incorporate anticipatory governance models for future-fit food systems in Telangana using data-driven policymaking tools and ecosystem-driven approaches to strengthen climate resilience in food systems. UNDP is keen on augmenting learning capabilities, increasing the predictive or anticipatory capacity to feed-in to evidence-driven policies for future-fit food systems in the state. 
In this context, the government of Telangana, UNDP, JADS (Netherlands), Zero Hunger Lab (Netherlands), Tilburg University, and partner organizations have come together to form a data collaborative to provide an innovative platform for Climate-Resilient Food Systems of Telangana. This platform is envisioned as a Digital Public Good that uses open innovation approach, open-source technologies, open data and open code. It is designed to strategically feed into data-driven decision making in the state on aspects of climate resilience. The platform will have the capability to visualize and analyse high resolution geospatial data relevant to climate resilient agriculture such as – changes in soil/ground water, crop diversity, crop burning, and other indicators at higher resolution. It applies pattern detection algorithms to analyze historical patterns on geographies and farms that are resilient to extreme weather conditions compared to others. Good practices from resilient farms and farmers that are evidenced by data are tapped using community-centric approach. Such a synthesis of data, analytics and indigenous knowledge helps provide rich insights on climate resilience at farm-level. The data insights emerging from this platform will be translated into policy insights through research, validation, knowledge, and advocacy efforts coupled with capacity building of senior policy makers in the agriculture ecosystem in order to create policy effects for enhancing climate resilience in the food systems of Telangana.
Given the above context, UNDP is seeking to engage the services of an individual consultant to provide regular technical support in data science, research coordination facilitation and implementation of a geospatial digital public good platform under the Data for policy initiative in Telangana.

UNDP is seeking to hire the services of an Individual Consultant for the above assignment. 

Duties and Responsibilities

The Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the Head, Inclusive Growth and with the Head of Experimentation, Accelerator Lab, UNDP to undertake the following tasks:

Coordinate with Technology Partners

  • Coordinate with Technology Partners for development of digital public good and work in close coordination with all stakeholders, translate the high-level requirements into use-cases and technical requirements.
  • Coordinate and manage data partnerships through data sharing agreements and data collaborative strategy as required by the digital public good.
  • Provide timely inputs for developing systems architecture, data pipeline, infrastructure requirements, and aspects of data quality
  • Ensure adherence to UN Principles on Personal data protection and privacy, data security, data confidentiality and access.
  • Ensure robust prediction model considering aspects model accuracy, bias-variance tradeoff, fairness, accountability, transparency, ethics.
  • Ensure certification of the digital public good by the Digital Public Goods Alliance.
  • Provide inputs to customize reports and analytics for different user-categories as per the requirement of the project.

Validate results on ground

  • Develop data collection and field validation protocols for collecting data from field
  • Analyze and provide deep insights into ground truthing experiments and independently validate predictive models as required by the project.

Downstream analytics

  • Foster research collaborations and facilitate downstream analytics to encourage user access and engagement of the digital public good.
  • Facilitate publication of data blogs and media articles by users of digital public good.

Documentation

  • Document best practices of designing digital public goods and open data policies
  • Administer and day to day management of Github account for ‘Data for Policy’ initiative to facilitate data collaboration and transparency across multiple stakeholders contributing to the platform.

Scaling up

  • Provide support in organizing national conference on ‘Data for Policy’ climate resilient agriculture in India
  • Map potential sources of funds for scaling-up Data for Policy initiative for climate resilient agriculture in India
  • Prepare a blueprint for scaling up the digital platform to other states of India

Expected Deliverables:

MonthDeliverablesAmount
JanuaryEnsure standardization of the data pipeline and data sets for the digital public goodEnsure publication of atleast 10 datasets on digital public good platformProvide support in formulating policy brief on climate resilient agriculture20%
FebruaryEnsure 10 downstream analytics or case studiesProvide capacity building support to policy makers on digital public good15%
MarchEnsure certification of digital platform by digital public goods allianceDocument good practices of designing digital public goods and open data policies15%
AprilEnsure 10 data blogs published on the platformIntegrate field data collection with the platformEnsure atleast 100 collaborators on Data for Policy Platform20%
MayMap potential sources of funds for scaling-up Data for Policy initiative for climate resilient agriculturePrepare a blueprint for scaling up the digital platform to other states of India15%
JuneProvide support in resource mobilizationProvide support in organizing national conference on climate resilient agriculture15%

Competencies

Duration of Assignment: 
The duration of assignment will be from January 2022 till June 2022 (with expectation of renewal for a further duration of 6 months subject to availability of funds) 

Required Skills and Experience

Qualification Requirements:

Required Experiences, Competencies and Skills

• Master of Science or Master of Technology or related post graduate degree with a specialization in Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial intelligence or closely related field;

• Minimum of five years work experience in data-driven research projects involving application of Geospatial analytics, Remote Sensing, Data mining, and Machine learning is essential. Experience in data engineering is desirable;

• At least three years of experience working with government departments and multilaterals is essential. Prior work experience in United Nations is desirable;

• Previous work experience in open innovation, managing data and research partnerships, design and development of open data platforms will be a critical asset; 

• Previous working relation with the government (national/state level) especially in Telangana state will be a critical asset;

• Proficiency in programming languages and open-source application softwares like Python, QGIS or SAGA, PostGIS/PostGRESQL etc., as demonstrated by publications on personal GitHub account is essential; 

• Previous experience in developing and implementing full stack applications using Python frameworks like Flask and Django is essential;

• Substantive knowledge on digital transformation and emerging technologies is desirable.

• Strong analytical skills and ability to analyze and visualize data in easy to grasp ways  

• Strongly detail oriented, with demonstrated organizational skills and ability to work under stringent deadlines; 

• Ability to work directly or remotely with the varied teams;

• Excellent communication and networking skills; 

• Fluency in English which is the working language of the duty station is essential.

Technical Evaluation:

The award of the contract shall be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as Responsive to the requirement. Having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70% of the total technical points) would be considered for the Financial Evaluation;

•     Technical Criteria weight – 70%;

•     Financial Criteria weight – 30 %

Technical Criteria (70% of total evaluation)

  1. Minimum of five years work experience in data-driven research projects involving application of Geospatial analytics, Remote Sensing, Data mining, and Machine learning – 15%
  2. Min 3 years of experience in International Non-Profit Organisations, handling or coordinating Government Projects departments -15%
  3. Proficiency in programming languages and open-source application software like Python, QGIS or SAGA, PostGIS/PostGRESQL etc., as demonstrated by publications on personal GitHub account – 20%
  4. Previous experience in developing full stack applications using Python frameworks like Flask and Django  – 10%
  5. Previous work experience in open innovation, managing data and research partnerships, design and development of open data platforms –  10%

Financial Criteria: (30% of the total evaluation) based on the total all-inclusive lump sum amount for professional fee for tasks specified in this announcement

Submission of Proposal

Financial Proposal:

Technically qualified consultants will be requested to submit their daily fee rate i.e. consultants who score more than 70% i.e. 49 marks with respect to the above-mentioned evaluation criteria. Consultant should not specify their consultancy fee on their CV or with the submission. The CV will not be evaluated further in case the consultant submits the same.

Documents to be submitted by Consultants

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Document on relevant Work Experience including the URLs of the projects undertaken in data science and related disciplines and, Github Account showcasing coding proficiency.
  3. Letter to UNDP Confirming Interest and Availability for the Individual Contractor Assignment

Note:

  1. Any kind of miscellaneous charges i.e. internet, phone, relocation charges etc. will not be reimbursed;
  2. Travel, lodging and boarding as per UNDP rules subject to prior approval
  3. Individuals working with institutions may also apply, contract would be issued in the name of institution for the specific services of individual
  4. Please note proposals without financial proposal will not be considered.

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