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9 May 2017

Full-Time Data Scientist

One Acre Fund – Posted by OAF Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya

Job Description

Job Location

Capital city in East Africa- preferably Nairobi or Kigali


Minimum 2 years commitment, full-time job.

Job Description

One Acre Fund has a robust research program spanning all countries of operation including thousands of farmers and well over a hundred agronomic and socioeconomic trials each year. The Data Scientist will be on the Agriculture Research Team, which works directly with each in-country research team (Innovations Teams) to identify new research opportunities and provide technical support where needed. The Data Scientist will be responsible for the following:

  • Adapting agronomic elements of the program to heterogeneous conditions – The Data Scientist will be responsible for working with internal and external agricultural scientists to analyze field crop yield gap drivers and develop agronomic hypotheses to be tested through on-farm trials. This will involve aggregation of weather, soil, pest and disease, and agronomic data to analyze the magnitude of various sources of yield variation in different areas of program operation. It will also involve coordinating with field teams to collect the data we need and setting and executing analysis plans.
  • External collaborations and relationship management – We will be working with external partners to develop scalable, data-driven development tools for not only One Acre Fund clients but smallholders outside of our program as well. This may include development of a plant disease visual diagnosis app and using remote sensing to predict maize yields. It may also include working with our in-house MIR spectroscopy lab to improve soil chemical parameter prediction models and directly predict yields from soil spectra. The Data Scientist will be responsible for managing much of the external-facing work related to these initiatives including interfacing with donors and researchers.
  • Capacity building and advising  – We are looking for someone with experience and willingness to teach others and advise on organizational data and analytical decisions. A successful Data Scientist at One Acre Fund will enable and improve the analyses of other analysts both within the Agricultural Research Team and in other departments. This role will serve as a teacher of teachers by building the skills of other analysts who provide analytical support within the organization. Training topics may include questionnaire design and execution, efficient data cleaning, outlier management, model selection and interpretation, and predictive analyses. The Data Scientist will also be responsible for advising on organizational decisions about data systems management.
  • Exploration – The Agricultural Research Team is an inherently exploratory team; we are tasked with identifying new impact opportunities for in-country research teams (Innovation Teams) to assess and scale. We anticipate that the Data Scientist will take on exploratory analyses, propose new global research programs, change the way that we approach existing analyses, and identify new avenues by which One Acre Fund can deliver data-driven impact to smallholder farmers.

Career Growth and Development

One Acre Fund invests in building management and leadership skills. Your manager and a global support team will commit significant time in your career development. We provide constant, actionable feedback delivered through mentorship and through regular management consulting-style career reviews. We also have regular one-on-one meetings, where we listen to and discuss career goals, and work collaboratively to craft roles that each person can be passionate about. Because of our rapid growth, we constantly have new high-level roles opening up and opportunities in many functions.


We are seeking an exceptional professional with 5+ years of experience, a demonstrated passion for development work, and a very strong knowledge of analysis and data science. Candidates who fit the following criteria are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • MSc or PhD in a highly quantitative field such as data science, statistics, econometrics, or applied mathematics required. Experience with computer science a plus.
  • Very strong professional or research experience applying advanced analytical methods to answer practical questions.
  • Experience and comfort with geospatial analysis.
  • Experience with field experiments, experimental design, missing data, survey sampling, and/or panel data.
  • Experience with observational causal inference (e.g. regression adjustment, matching, propensity score stratification), or quasi-experimental methods (e.g., instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, interrupted time series). Knowledge of causal graphical models is a plus.
  • Experience managing data systems. A successful data scientist candidate can both create efficient data storage systems as well as use them for analyses.
  • Fluency with R mandatory. Familiarity with JavaScript, STATA, Python and other languages preferred.
  • A passion for impact and application of findings, not just research for the sake of research.
  • Professional or research experience in agriculture and/or development preferred.
  • Fluency in English required, Kiswahili and/or French encouraged.
  • A willingness to live and work in East Africa for at least two years.

Preferred Start Date

Early 2017


We offer a modest starting salary that affords a high quality of life in our areas of operation. This is a career-track role with performance-based raises and the ability to expand responsibilities over time.


Health insurance, immunizations, flights, housing.

Sponsor International Candidates


East Africans strongly encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

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Job Categories: Data Scientist / Statistician. Job Types: Full-Time.

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