Knowledge Management Specialist (Disability Research) P3 - Temporary Appointment 364 Days, Office Of Research Innocenti, Florence, Italy


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

Job organizational context

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does. The leave no one behind principle of the SDGs and UNICEF’s equity agenda translates this commitment on children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination.

The Office of Research-Innocenti (UNICEF-Innocenti) is the dedicated research office of UNICEF. It undertakes and commissions research on emerging or current issues of relevance for children to inform the strategic directions, policies and programs of UNICEF and its partners. The Office explores emerging issues, identifies research gaps, brings together existing researchers, and supports or undertakes research and data collection to address critical questions to inform global debates. The Research Facilitation & Knowledge Management unit within which this post is located plays a leading role in building a knowledge culture across UNICEF and partners by providing essential guidance, tools and facilitation to strengthen generation, communication and use of evidence in decision-making.

Purpose of the post

The number of children with disabilities globally is estimated at almost 240 million. The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS), launched by the UN Secretary General in June 2019, provides a common framework for UNICEF and other UN entities to measure progress towards the SDGs and UNICEF’s equity agenda. UNICEF is committed to mainstream disability in all areas of its work, strengthening policies, programmes and practices to be disability inclusive. Participation of children and youth with and without disabilities is critical to everything UNICEF does.

Both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Committees have pointed out the lack of disaggregated data and research and expressed concern over the lack of information on the situation of children with disabilities, thus calling for studies on their situation including access to services and support.

Working in close coordination with the Disability section of UNICEF’s Programme Group and UNICEF’s country and regional offices, UNICEF-Innocenti is building upon earlier stakeholder consultations with the disability research community, donors, organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) and development partners, to develop and coordinate a Global Research Agenda and Platform for Children with Disabilities. This will generate, communicate and use new research and evidence for better policies and to guide increased investment in effective interventions to support the social inclusion and rights of children with disabilities. It will be a catalyst for research co-creation and a hub to coordinate a global network of policymakers, donors, researchers and practitioners, including those with lived experience, and to amplify the voices of children and youth with disabilities.

The vision includes working with OPDs, leveraging partnerships and developing participatory research methodologies for ethical engagement of children with disabilities. It will aim to advocate for the alignment of research priorities on children with disabilities and for mainstreaming a disability, equity and inclusion lens in all research about children. UNICEF cannot do this alone, but is in a prime position to champion, advocate, and coordinate.

The role of the Agenda and Platform is to lead and coordinate a network of researchers, experts and practitioners in four areas of commitment: (i) advocacy and resource mobilization; (ii) capacity strengthening, learning and development; (iii) convening; and (iv) evidence synthesis & knowledge generation.

Key functions, accountabilities and related duties/tasks

Under the supervision of the Chief, Research Facilitation & Knowledge Management (RFKM), working closely with the Disability Manager (Research Facilitation) to coordinate responsibilities, the incumbent will be responsible for leading the following activities in support of the Global Research Agenda and Platform for Children with Disabilities:

Evidence Synthesis & Knowledge Generation.

• Manage the evidence and knowledge arising from UNICEF’s research, and draw upon external organisations’ research, to identify evidence and knowledge gaps and synthesize to build a stronger evidence base for inclusive policymaking and programming. • Build upon the Evidence Gap Map (EGM) on Children with Disabilities, produced with support from the Government of Norway and in collaboration with the International Disability Alliance in 2022, to identify need for additional evidence synthesis products, linked to potential resource mobilization priorities.• Work under the leadership of the Disability Research Facilitation Manager, linking with the PG Disability team and Regional Office disability focal points to undertake a UNICEF-wide stocktaking exercise of disability-related research and evidence products on children with disabilities, produced over the period of the last Strategic Plan 2018-2021, as well as planned products for the Strategic Plan (2022-2025). • Lead on production of UNICEF disability research retrospective publication (tracking impact of previous investments) and establish an impact monitoring system to capture current and future impacts of UNICEF disability research. • Build long-term relationships and engagement with research institutions at local, national, regional and global levels – especially in the Global South; to fund and use co-creation and co-production models including with national governments, OPDs and intended users of research. Update and populate the Evidence Partnerships Mapping tool with disability centres of excellence in the global south.• Generate new research, in collaboration with local and regional researchers, OPDs, INGOs, UN agencies and with children and youth with disabilities, to push for change in how organizations (including UNICEF) deliver interventions that include and promote the rights of children with disabilities. This will involve looking at what works and what does not, identifying barriers to achieve scale, and influencing research frameworks and methods to make research more responsive to and accessible to children with disabilities and OPDs.

Capacity Strengthening, Learning and Development • Define priorities for capacity development and learning (including face-to-face, remote and self-learning), guiding the global disability research community on participatory and ethical engagement of children with disabilities in co-creation of research and social inclusion interventions.• Lead on development and delivery of training, workshops, guidance and related products on qualitative participatory and ethical research /data collection with children with disabilities, drawing upon specialist support from colleagues as necessary. • Support UNICEF researchers to mainstream disability in their ongoing research and strengthen participation of OPD and children with disabilities in research in both development and humanitarian settings.• Oversee coordination of and support to potential short-term funded visiting research fellowships for researchers with disabilities, and associated recruitment and monitoring processes.• Support development of disability research led by the Global South, with a focus on applied research to overcome practical implementation and scaling challenges and barriers.

Communication and Convening• Work with the UNICEF Innocenti Convening team, the Disability Research Facilitation Manager, Programme Group and other key parts of UNICEF to lead and support youth engagement in UNICEF Innocenti convening events and research activities, particularly bringing in children and youth leaders with disabilities to amplify their voices, ideas and contributions.• Explore establishment of a sponsored global UNICEF Innocenti art competition for children with disabilities to amplify the potential of the creative industries to enhance social inclusion and enable more inclusive communication products.• Support and co-ordinate the preparation of an annual research symposium on the topic of children with disabilities, including contributing to associated blogs, social media campaigns and publication of proceedings• Co-ordinate and contribute to the preparation and writing of high-quality publications for peer-reviewed journals; working papers; policy reports and briefs; web stories, blogs and other relevant outputs as appropriate.


• Advanced university degree with a background in Social Sciences, Political Sciences, Disability, Research, Evaluation, Knowledge Management, Humanitarian, Ethics or Child Rights.


• A minimum of 5 years of progressively professional experience at the international level in research, knowledge management, evidence synthesis, research impact, ethics or another related area.• Good knowledge of the human rights-based approach and equity• Expertise in undertaking ethical qualitative research using participatory methods with vulnerable populations, ideally with children with disabilities.• Demonstrated background in research knowledge management, uptake and impact, including on the topic of children with disabilities in development contexts.• Experience in conducting evidence syntheses such as systematic reviews, rapid evidence assessments, rapid reviews and evidence gap maps. • Experience in running participatory consultations, including with children and/or young people.• Experience with qualitative analysis software (e.g. Atlas.Ti and NVivo).• Experience of using Systematic Review software (e.g. EPPI-Reviewer, RevMan, Covidence) and/or qualitative and qualitative analysis software.• Access to and experience of using Citation Management Software (e.g. Zotero, EndNote)• Good professional relationships and international networks across the research, knowledge management and evidence synthesis sectors, ideally including amongst relevant communities of practice working on children with disabilities.• Knowledge of UNICEF and of relevant parts of the organization working in the area of children with disabilities is considered an advantage, but not essential.

Language requirement:

Fluency in English language required. Knowledge of other UN working languages is considered an advantage (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish).

For every Child, you demonstrate UNICEF's values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA).

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are:

  • Excellent project management and time management skills, working within academic settings and the public sector.
  • Skills in simplifying complex scientific findings through written and oral communication and advocacy messaging to varied audiences, including both specialists and policymakers.
  • Strong research and analytical skills.
  • Strong planning and organisational skills.
  • Good attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and in a multi-cultural environment.

Core competencies for this post are:

  • Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (1)
  • Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (2)
  • Works Collaboratively with others (2)
  • Builds and Maintains Partnerships (2)
  • Innovates and Embraces Change (2)
  • Thinks and Acts Strategically (2)
  • Drive to achieve impactful results (2)
  • Manages ambiguity and complexity (2)

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.


Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station, which will be facilitated by UNICEF, is required for IP positions. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Government employees that are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason.