Research Consultant for the Global Alliance on the Science of Learning for Education


Parent Sector : Education Sector (ED)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Education

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : 6 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 03-MAY-2024


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism




In October 2023, UNESCO organized a meeting of experts on the ‘Learning Sciences’ in Paris. The meeting was a follow-up to the International Science and Evidence-based Education Assessment (ISEEA) report released by the UNESCO MGIEP, as well as a response to the Call to Action from the 2022 Transforming Education Summit and the recommendations in the report of the International Commission on the Futures of Education, which are also reflected in the United Nations Secretary General’s Vision Statement on Transforming Education. The meeting explored the role that the intentional integration of scientific knowledge across the various disciplines that study learning could play to support inclusive, quality, and holistic learning and how the scientific knowledge of learning could inform the work of the SDG 4 High-Level Steering Committee (HLSC)’s Functional Area 1 on evidence-based policy formulation and implementation. By the end of the meeting, there was a consensus for the need to establish an international platform to facilitate the two-way dialogue among policymakers, educational practitioners, and scientists with the purpose of bringing into alignment and reinforcing the sharing of knowledge, networking and peer learning for improving the production and uptake of scientific knowledge for education policies and practices. UNESCO was called on to facilitate the work of such an international community of practice by acting as a knowledge broker among policymakers, educational practitioners, and scientists.

Long Description

The Global Alliance on the Science of Learning for Education was formally established on 26 October 2023, with UNESCO serving as the Secretariat. The Alliance functions as the scientific arm of the HLSC-FA1 Technical Committee on using data and evidence for policy design and implementation, specifically the translation of scientific knowledge for improving teaching-learning processes, and represents scientists’ voice at high-level political events. Alliance members meet annually at the end of the year to report on progress, share knowledge on new and emerging findings, and discuss strategic directions for future areas of work and partnership-building. The Alliance has a Steering Committee and two thematic Working Groups. The Working Groups synthesize insights and evidence to inform UNESCO priority areas on (1) Foundational Learning, which includes early learning and development of literacy, numeracy and social-emotional skills and (2) Digital Technologies for Learning which also includes AI and covers the use of technologies for improving teaching-learning processes. The outputs of the Working Groups inform the programming of the annual meetings and related global policy debates, as well as the education community more broadly as part of the Alliances’ knowledge translation function.

Long Description

With this background in mind, the research consultant will support UNESCO and the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance on the Science of Learning for Education with the implementation of the 2024 workplan, which includes the following areas of work:

1. Research, analysis and drafting:

  1. Conducting research and data analysis for the drafting of analytical reports, research-policy briefs, concept notes, project proposals, synthesis reports, and other types of documents relevant to the functions of the Global Alliance and Working Groups.
  2. Conducting research for the preparation of conceptual frameworks, surveys, questionnaires, or focus group instruments for the collection of new quantitative or qualitative data; preparing data collection protocols; maintaining databases; conducting data analyses and visualization of findings.
  3. Supporting the coordination and peer review of manuscripts for publication, the preparation of the annual progress report and annual meeting summary report.
  4. Supporting other research, analysis, and drafting activities as required.

Long Description

2. Communications & Outreach:

  1. Preparing communications and promotional materials (e.g., speeches, blog articles, press releases, brochures, web content, social media messaging, etc.).
  2. Organizing and supporting an internal Community of Practice for peer learning, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
  3. Preparing quarterly newsletters and maintaining an active mailing list.
  4. Contributing to expanding the membership base to relevant stakeholders (ministries of education, UN agencies, NGOs, researchers, universities, among others).

3. Coordination & Event Management:

  1. Supporting the organization of regular Steering Committee meetings, Working Group meetings, and their follow-up activities.
  2. Supporting the organization of the annual meeting, preparing invitations, organizing the programme and thematic panels, and preparing scripts.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or above) with a research stream in cognitive science, developmental psychology, behavioural science, educational psychology and related domains.

  • Minimum 5 years of relevant work experience (post-Master's degree) in an education policy field, such as early childhood care and education, curriculum, pedagogy, learning assessment, education policy design, planning and implementation, and related domains.

  • Strong analytical writing and communication skills in English.

  • Professional experience in coordinating and managing large-scale research projects and networks.

  • Demonstrated experience in producing a variety of reports and communications materials for various audiences (scientists, teachers, policymakers, media, funders).

  • Ability to design both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, data collection and analysis tools for applied contexts.

  • Experience in supporting the mobilization of Ministries of Education, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, NGOs, researchers, universities, and other relevant bodies.

  • Capacity to work in a fast-paced multi-cultural environment; ability to adapt to changing priorities under short notice; ability to work independently as part of a wider interconnected team; ability to work within tight timelines; a strong and professional work ethic is valued.


  • PhD in cognitive science, developmental psychology, or educational psychology with expertise in reading and/or mathematics learning.
  • Research publications in similar areas of work will be an asset.
  • Professional and academic networks in similar fields will be an asset.
  • Experience with analysis and visualization of large-scale international data (e.g., UIS, GEMR, UNICEF, World Bank, ILO, WHO, etc.).
  • Oral and written communication skills in French will be an asset.


When submitting your application, kindly replace the Employment History Form with the following required documents. Please ensure that all documents needed to be uploaded as a single PDF document:
· An updated curriculum vitae
· A list of publications
· A short motivation letter (500 words) responding to the question: "What makes you the ideal candidate for this position? Please be specific with relevant examples from your experience that illustrate your skills and expertise for the enumerated tasks of this assignment."

The position is ideally performed on-site, contingent upon possessing a valid working permit in France, with remote work being a potential option.



Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.