Consultant Position: Scientific Writing Course Trainer

APHRC is looking for a consultant with demonstrated experience in health systems and policy research. The consultant will facilitate a course in scientific writing for implementing researchers in the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health (IMCHA) program. This will enable the researchers to produce quality publications on evidence generated from the IMCHA supported projects. This is with the aim of highlighting best practices learned so as to improve maternal, newborn and child health outcomes in Africa.

  1. Background

The Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) seeks to improve maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes by strengthening health systems to become more equitable, using primary health care as an entry point. Two inter-related components, Implementation Research Teams (IRTs) and Health Policy and Research Organizations (HPROs), have been designed to collaborate on improving the translation of research evidence and learning into policy and practice for effective MNCH interventions in ten countries across the continent.

A consortium of three institutions — African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), The East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) Health Community (ECSA-HC) and Partners in Population and Development’s Africa Regional Office (PPD-ARO) – have formed the Eastern Africa Health Policy and Research Organization (EA-HPRO). The EA-HPRO drives the MNCH research to policy process by working with 13 IRTs in six countries in the Eastern Africa region: Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The specific objectives of the IMCHA program are to:

  1. Identify and maximize opportunities for policy influence for MNCH issues.
  2. Influence policy and programmatic decisions and actions on MNCH in the target countries informed by evidence provided by IRTs.
  3. Build consensus for MNCH issues to drive policy outreach at national regional and global levels.
  4. Develop and agree on a regional MNCH agenda together with the legislative and economic bodies.
  5. Strengthen the capacity of IRTs for long-term and systematic engagement with decision makers in their respective countries for more effective uptake of the evidence they generate.

2. Consultancy details

APHRC will contract a consultant to conduct a scientific writing course for 30 participants from the Implementing Research Teams supported by the IMCHA program. The course will cover the following:

  • How to identify key findings issuing from data and focus of paper
  • Identification of appropriate journals, focusing on open source journals
  • Structuring a paper (broadly discussing key aspects like introduction, literature review etc.)
  • Writing your story and organizing the findings in a brief and coherent manner
  • Using verbatim excerpts (from qualitative interview transcripts) to illustrate the points
  • Appropriate citation using reference software preferably EndNote or Mendely
  • Discussions on authorship, plagiarism and other actions considered as scientific misconduct
  • Preparing manuscripts for final submission (including responding to journal reviews and keeping strict timelines)

At the end of the course, the participants should have learned the following:

  • About appropriate open source journals
  • How to structure papers according to the requirements of journals
  • How to present findings in a concise and coherent manner while writing
  • How to effectively use interview excerpts to validate findings
  • The use of EndNote referencing software
  • Awareness of intellectual property rights and key details on authorship
  • Preparation of manuscripts and the submission process to journals

Expected deliverables

  • An outline of the modules that will be covered and the time allocated for each session – an agenda and course outline within three days after being recruited.
  • Provide a list of course materials and notes handouts to be distributed to all participants. Upon review, the printed versions should be submitted three days before the course.
  • Conduct the course for five working days in November 2017.
  • Provision of the software (license purchase) to be used during the course
  • A course evaluation tool to be administered for each module of the course to be submitted one week to the course. A short training report (should include the evaluation) to be submitted within five working days after the course is completed.

3. Qualifications required

The consultant should have an advanced degree (Master’s or PhD) in social sciences, public health, and policy analysis with demonstrated experience in health systems and policy research. Familiarity with maternal, newborn and child health is desirable.

The consultant needs to have the following experience:

  • A minimum of five years professional experience in health systems and policy research
  • Substantive knowledge and experience in scientific writing
  • Excellent research skills with several publications
  • Preferably experience in teaching at a university
  • Excellent English writing skills

4. Application process

Interested experts are invited to apply by submitting the following application documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae (five pages maximum)
  • Letter of motivation outlining how your experience, skills, qualifications and professional networks fit with the required deliverables (one-page maximum)
  • Links to two of their publications or submission of PDF versions.
  • A quote with a breakdown of all the costs for the five days.

Please note our procurement policy does not allow for an advance payment. Payments will only be made once the consultancy has been completed. 

Please submit your detailed application documents in PDF format by email to [email protected] and copy [email protected] indicating the application title as the subject of the email. All communication and queries related to this call should be addressed to the same email addresses.


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