Research Assistant, Designing Urban Observatory Governance and Data Analytics in Iskandar Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme

Country: Malaysia

City: Kuala Lumpur

Office: UNDP, Kuala Lumpur

Closing date: Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Education & Work Experience: G-Bachelor's Level Degree - 2 year(s) experience, I-Master's Level Degree - 1 year(s) experience


Vacancy Type: Service Contract (SC)

Posting Type: External

Bureau: Asia & the Pacific

Contract Duration: One year, renewable based on funds availability

Open to Malaysian nationals only


In line with the 11th Malaysia Plan strategy to ensure geographical balance in regional growth to enhance inclusion for the bottom 40% (B40) income and other vulnerable groups, the Iskandar Malaysia Urban Observatory (IMUO) project is a 4-year collaboration between Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) in developing strategic and targeted outputs to support a larger, ongoing initiative to establish the IMUO at the subnational level.

This project contributes towards realising Iskandar Malaysia's vision to become a sustainable, inclusive and smart regional corridor through evidence-based spatial planning and policy making. This project focuses on the development of the IMUO business plan through a robust process of stakeholder consultation and dialogue. The outputs from this project serve as building blocks to empower IRDA to better plan and implement subnational programmes that are more tailored to the needs of the B40 and vulnerable groups, with links to the SDGs, as well as guide IRDA in the operational establishment of the IMUO.

The IMUO functions lead to outcomes that closely ties back to the SDG agenda, of which Malaysia pledges to adopt. It serves as a facility where urban-related data can be comprehensively analysed and made meaningful for application in regional planning. An informed urban and regional development plan in turn can address poverty, improve health care services and quality of education, provide opportunities for decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequalities through strategic industry and infrastructure planning, development and management.

The key outcome of the Iskandar Malaysia Urban Observatory is to have an effective policies and initiatives that promote socioeconomic inclusion, equity and resilience, especially for the bottom 40 per cent, are in place and implementation monitored.

In this regard, UNDP Malaysia is looking for a Research Assistant to support the Main Consultants in developing and finalizing the IMUO Business Plan document as well as developing and finalizing the IMUO Data Landscape Review as well as the IMUO Data Management Policy. This endeavour has a potential linkage to facilitate the regional and local implementation and attainment of Post-2015 Development Agenda, which consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and targets. The Post-2015 Development Agenda was officially adopted by the member states at the United Nations Summit in September 2015.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Research Assistant will report directly to and work under the guidance of UNDP Programme Manager and works in collaboration with the IMUO Project Manager. The day-to-day assignment of work will be guided by the Main Consultants and the programme team for the project. He/She is responsible for background research, data collection and analysis, preparation and maintenance of knowledge products, and relevant support pertaining to the project.

The Research Assistant works in close collaboration with the Country Office Programme and Operations Units, project team members, staff in other UN Agencies, Government Officials, technical advisers and experts, and civil society as required to support programme delivery.

The Research Assistant will be based in IRDA Office, Kuala Lumpur.

Summary of key functions

  • Technical Support (60%): Conduct background research and provide technical support to the Country Programme;
  • Knowledge Management (20%): Provide support to knowledge documentation, knowledge building and sharing.
  • Programme Support (20%): Provide administrative and logistics support to programme and project implementation.

1. Technical Support (60%): Perform background research and technical support to the Country Programme.

  • Conduct background research and/or supporting studies for the project;
  • Compile research materials in a systematic way and prepare background briefs/briefing notes as and when required;
  • Collect and analyse socio-economic and environmental data, and synthesize information;
  • Generate quantitative data charts/tables/graphs, and consolidate and update references list to policy briefs/papers/reports when required;
  • Provide research support to the programme team;
  • Liaise with research institutions, NGOs and think tanks to gather data/information and inputs for relevant and timely research to guide the delivery of outputs/reports.

2. Knowledge Management (20%): Provide support to knowledge documentation, knowledge building and sharing.

  • Synthesize and document lessons learnt and best practices;
  • Support the development of knowledge products;
  • Assist in preparing inputs to UNDP website, knowledge networks and communities of practice.

3. Project Support (20%): Provide administrative and logistics support to project implementation.

  • Assist with the planning and organization of consultations/conference/seminar/workshop;
  • Prepare progress reports, meeting minutes, conference/seminar/workshop reports and maintain documentation and records;
  • Any other duties assigned by UNDP Programme Manager, IMUO Project Manager and consultants that have direct relevance to the project.

Impact of Results

The key results of the post assist in strengthening UNDP's contributions to the national and sub-national agenda on inclusive growth, sustainable and resilient development. The key results also have an impact on the design of programmes and projects under the Country Programme 2016 – 2020, in particular, urban planning and localization of SDG.


Corporate Competencies

  • Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN's values and ethical standards (human rights, peace, understanding between peoples and nations, tolerance, integrity, respect, results orientation (UNDP core ethics) impartiality;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
  • Facilitating and encouraging open communication in the team, communicating effectively;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favouritism.

Functional Competencies

  • Highly developed research assistance skills;
  • Strong analytical skills, and ability to rapidly analyse and integrate diverse information from varied sources
  • Computer literate; must be able to use the Internet and other research effectively.
  • Identifies priority activities and assignments;
  • Teamwork - excellent interpersonal, organizational and management skills and ability to work within multi-disciplinary teams.

Development and Operational Effectiveness

  • Able to manage complex problems proactively and effectively;
  • Ability to operate effectively in a changing and complex environment, and to produce results under stress;
  • Consistently approach work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrate openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • Strong analytical capabilities;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Required Skills and Experience


  • A first-level university degree in Economics, Statistics, Business Administration, Environmental Management, Social Science, Urban Planning/Development, Urban/Regional Studies, or related discipline.
  • Master's degree in Economics, Statistics, Business Administration, Environmental Management, Social Science, Urban Planning/Development, Urban/Regional Studies, or related discipline, with at least 1 year of relevant work experience in research, is an advantage.


  • 2 years of experience in similar position at the national and/or international level;
  • Proven experience in conducting research, analysis and generating reports;
  • Experience in working with public or private research institutions or think tanks;
  • Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) and advance knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages;
  • Working knowledge in GIS (Geographical Information System) an added advantage;
  • Knowledge in project management an asset;
  • Previous experience in UNDP would be an advantage.

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in written and spoken English and Bahasa Malaysia is required.

Important applicant information

All posts in the SC categories are subject to local recruitment.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Workforce diversity

UNDP is committed to achieving diversity within its workforce, and encourages all qualified applicants, irrespective of gender, nationality, disabilities, sexual orientation, culture, religious and ethnic backgrounds to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Scam warning

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Languages - Essential: English, Malay

Languages - Desirable:

Source: UN Jobs

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.

Deadline/closing date: 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017