World Food Programme
WFP seeks candidates of the highest integrity and professionalism who share our humanitarian principles
Selection of staff is made on a competitive basis, and we are committed to promoting diversity and gender balance
Job Title: Optimization Consultant
Type of Contract: International Consultant
Division: NUT - Nutrition Division
Duty Station (City, Country): Home-based
Duration: 8 months, with possible extension to 11 months
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF THE ASSIGNMENT:
Ensuring a diverse and healthy diet for our growing world population through sustainable food systems is one of the greatest challenges of our times. This is particularly true in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where undernutrition remains a major problem due to diets that are often not diverse enough, lack adequate protein quality and micronutrients, and may also be insufficient to meet energy needs. Furthermore, climate change and shocks also affect food systems, affecting diets and requiring diverse adaptations. Food supply and demand challenges encompass the linkages between health, food, purchasing power, and the environment. Food and diets have a direct impact on human health and environmental sustainability.
Providing an increasing population with diets that address multiple urgent priorities—nutrition, affordability, adaptation to climate change as well as the need to mitigate agriculture’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe), biodiversity loss, soil erosion, freshwater depletion, zoonosis, antimicrobial resistance, and other areas of public health and ecological concern—will require the development of long-term and context-appropriate strategies for the different components of the entire food system. It is essential to acknowledge that transitioning to sustainable healthy diets might lead to an increase in GHG emissions in LMICs, making it crucial to balance environmental and nutritional objectives.
The ENHANCE project envisions the use of analytics to address the challenge of achieving an affordable healthy diet whilst limiting the environmental impacts. ENHANCE aspires to be an open-access platform for data-analysts and policymakers that brings together data from different domains to compare dietary scenarios for their different impacts. Multi-objective linear optimization will allow users to explore synergies and trade-offs between cost, environmental impact, dietary preferences, and nutrient adequacy of dietary scenarios, generating evidence to inform actions and policies for food systems transformation.
The four partners currently involved in the project are Capgemini, Johns Hopkins University, the Zero Hunger Lab of Tilburg University (ZHL), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Each partner brings a combination of specific subject matter knowledge, data science and/or end-user expertise and platforms, as well as specific capacity to work on the solution.
A first prototype of the tool was developed in 2022 and new iterations are currently under development. To support this exciting project, ENHANCE is looking for a consultant to join the product development team and support the development and integration of the solution’s optimization algorithm in collaboration with WFP, ZHL and Capgemini. The consultant will be expected to take part in the sprint process which take place in the mornings in Western Europe, where the ENHANCE team is located, and evolve with limited supervision. Therefore, the consultant should ensure adequate overlap of work hours between Western Europe and their location.
- Support the development and rollout of the ENHANCE optimization algorithm, including:
- Incorporating new features to the web application and its mathematical optimization algorithm based on WFP and additional external use cases;
- Testing and validating new features to ensure quality, consistency, and the alignment with best practices on agile development;
- Develop and maintain the data pipeline for the tool;
- Supporting WFP teams during analyses to ensure the outputs are correct, and to diagnose and resolve issues that may arise;
- Improving the user experience and interaction with the algorithm, particularly through the definition and inclusion of tailored error and warning messages when optimization fails or is incomplete;
- Contributing to deep dives on WFP business requirements to evaluate further optimization improvements and opportunities. To the extent possible, recommend system and/or process enhancements to further improve ENHANCE tool performance;
- Producing documentation and guidance materials as it relates to the optimization algorithm and its uses, such as manuals on the developed tool.
DELIVERABLES AT THE END OF THE CONTRACT:
- Updated ENHANCE optimization algorithm
- Documentation and guidance on algorithm development for users and developers
QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:
Master in the field of Operations Research, Management Science, Business Analytics, or Data Science.
- At least 3 years of work experience in the area of data science is required.
- Work experience related to linear programming.
- Previous experience with consultancy-type activities (e.g., business analysis, process mapping, data extraction and analysis, presenting to senior management, etc.)
- Prior experience with the development of data pipelines (e.g. ETL, APIs, etc.)
- Previous experience with research and/or academic work
- Prior experience working with governments, UN agencies, and/or NGOs desirable.
Knowledge and Skills:
- Prior knowledge and understanding of mathematical optimization methods such as linear programming
- Strong and proven coding proficiency in Python.
- Ability to work in a team with Agile SCRUM methodologies.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to perform in a multi-functional and multi-cultural team.
- Strong analytical abilities (quantitative and qualitative), with the ability to think outside the box.
- Ability to evolve fairly independently and take initiatives where relevant.
- Committed and motivated to achieve the objectives of WFP.
- Prior experience with the use of PuLP, Git and AWS is a plus.
- Verbal and written fluency in English
Terms and Conditions
WFP offers a competitive compensation package which will be determined by the contract type and selected candidate’s qualifications and experience.
Please visit the following websites for detailed information on working with WFP.
http://www.wfp.org Click on: “Our work” and “Countries” to learn more about WFP’s operations.
Deadline for applications: 01 June 2023
Ref.: VA No. 827212
Qualified female applicants and qualified applicants from developing countries are especially encouraged to apply
WFP has zero tolerance for discrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of HIV/AIDS status
No appointment under any kind of contract will be offered to members of the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), International Civil Service
Commission (ICSC), FAO Finance Committee, WFP External Auditor, WFP Audit Committee, Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and other similar bodies within the United Nations system with
oversight responsibilities over WFP, both during their service and within three years of ceasing that service.
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