Skip to content
Leading science for better health

View Vacancy -- Senior Scientist- Maternal and Neonatal Health - GAM - 509

Open Date
23/03/2017 16:00
Close Date
28/04/2017 23:55
MRC Unit The Gambia

The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia (MRCG) has an international reputation for ground-breaking research into some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the tropics. Achievements include a large trial showing the efficacy of Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine in The Gambia and the subsequent near elimination of the disease, pioneering studies of the impact of insecticide-treated bed nets as a preventive measure against malaria leading up to their worldwide use, studies demonstrating the impact of conjugate pneumococcal vaccines on pneumonia and child mortality, and the demonstration of a dramatic reduction in the carriage of Hepatitis B in The Gambia due to the effects of vaccination.

To reflect changes in national and global health priorities and new international funding opportunities, a new research portfolio has been organized under three themes, namely Nutrition; Disease Control & Elimination; and Vaccines & Immunity. These themes have been selected to target public health needs in sub-Saharan Africa, to reinforce sub-regional and international collaborations and to address some of the major current priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals.

As a major thrust of its future strategy, The MRC Unit The Gambia (MRCG) is seeking to strengthen the Unit’s engagement in West Africa to ensure that its research outputs have the greatest possible impact on health policies and practices. It has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) and the “Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formations (IRESSEF), in Dakar, Senegal, for a regional alliance (West Africa Global Health Alliance, WAGHA) on global health research, with particular attention to regional priorities in West Africa. The unacceptable high burden of maternal and neonatal mortality has been identified as one of these priorities, and research in this field will be a major component of WAGHA.

The alliance will tackle health priorities in the West African region. Research will build on current partners’ strengths and will focus on infectious diseases of public health importance such as malaria, HIV and TB, and on maternal and neonatal health.

The alliance will establish

  • Complementary and/or expanded infrastructures, laboratory capabilities, technologies and skills;
  • Study /field sites with specific characteristics, e.g. high malaria transmission, including well defined populations, allowing unique comparative or additive research, creating the conditions to carry out research whose results would have a large public health impact in the Region;
  • Improved regional capacity for research, by enabling the circulation of researchers at all levels, from PhD students to established investigators.

Such an alliance between different research institutions with complementary expertise and skill sets will lead to scientific synergies and greater competitive advantage for international research funding and should have a major regional impact.

The MRCG is seeking to recruit a Senior Scientist with a proven track record of world-class research in the field of maternal and neonatal health with emphasis on the field of implementation research; S/he will develop an outstanding research program in both Senegal and The Gambia, dealing with issues of public health importance related to maternal and neonatal health in West Africa. Such program will be formulated and implemented in full collaboration with the 3 institutions involved in the WAGHA and their relevant components/research themes.

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at

MRC - 3
from £37,395- £43,956 per annum basic (plus additional tax free allowances of c£12k for displaced staff)
Generous tax free overseas allowances provided, depending on displaced status
Fixed Term
Full Time
3 years fixed term contract

List of Duties / Work Programme / Responsibilities

(i)            Research:

  • Build up the MRCG maternal and neonatal health team based in Dakar and have the overall responsibility for its management.
  • Set up an innovative and relevant research strategy addressing one or more of the most pressing needs for the improvement of maternal and neonatal health in West Africa and beyond.
  • Successfully compete for research funding, direct their own research programs and have supervisory responsibility for all related research activities.
  • Play a key role in the development of the strategic planning of the WAGHA, anticipating internal and external future demands, opportunities and constraints.
  • Work in liaison with senior members of the three institutions involved in the WAGHA to achieve the above objectives.
  • Work in close collaboration with the three MRCG research themes to exploit inter-theme synergies.
  • Disseminate the results of research at local, national and international level at meetings and conferences and through peer-reviewed publications.
  • Exploit the opportunities to extend collaborative research to other institutions within the West African sub-region.

(i)            Management:

  • Be a member of the MRCG Scientific Coordinating Committee.
  • Be responsible for the coordination of all projects under his/her jurisdiction.
  • Represent the MRCG in stakeholder meetings in Senegal and in other relevant international meetings.
  • Contribute to the training and supervision of scientists and research students, including PhD students.
  • Undertake all work following the relevant safety rules and regulations as laid down in the MRCG Safety Manual.



PhD or equivalent in a relevant area.  


FRCOG or FRCPCH or equivalent 

Bilingual (In addition to spoken English, an ability to averagely or fluently understand spoken and written French)

Knowledge and Experience


Significant post-doctoral experience in the area of maternal and neonatal health

Outstanding publication record, including senior authorship

Good track record of attracting external funding in different funding agencies in the area of maternal and neonatal health

Experience of training and supervising students at level of MSc and PhD students to graduation

Experience in supervising other staff

Experience in leading a team

Personal skills/qualities


Excellent oral and written communication skills

Ability to multitask and deliver quality outcomes on time

Ability to work independently and as a member of a multidisciplinary team
Excellent organizational and managerial skills

Ability to work co-operatively with key stakeholders

Excellent inter-personal skills and a willingness to work with others to overcome problems as and when they arise

The successful candidate will be based full time at the IRESSEF, in Dakar, Senegal.

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.

The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.

Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.

Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

Final appointments will be subject to pre-employment screening.

This opportunity is closed to applications.