Information Management and Data Science Internship for Crisis Risk Analysis & Early Warning UNDP Crisis Bureau

  • United Nations Development Programme
  • New York, USA
  • Jul 01, 2019
Job - Full time Aerospace engineering Astronomy Biology Computer Science Chemical engineering Engineering Health Science Life Science Mathematics Medical Sciences Chemistry Civil engineering Physics Psychology Social Science Teaching/Academics Technology Veterinary medicine


Application Deadline: 26-Jul-19 (Midnight New York, USA

UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2018-2021) recognizes the importance of contextual analysis, crisis prevention and recovery, and the management of multidimensional risks as fundamental for development. The Crisis Bureau is responsible for UNDP's corporate crisis-related strategies, vision and priorities for crisis prevention, response, and recovery. The Bureau supports policy and programme development in keys areas including Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, Rule of Law and Human Rights, Migration and Displacement, Livelihoods and Economic Recovery, and Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery. 

One of the areas of responsibility of UNDP’s Crisis Bureau is to ensure that UNDP is well positioned to anticipate and to respond in the timeliest and most effective manner to crisis, primarily regarding sudden onset crises and complex protracted crises, triggered by natural disasters or armed conflicts alike. The Crisis and Fragility Policy and Engagement Team provides crisis risk and early warning support to HQ and to Country Offices (COs) to address their needs in contextual risk analysis, adaptation, early action and—acknowledging unique contextual circumstances as well as unique CO requirements—provide tailored support. 

To improve UNDP’s crisis risk analysis capabilities, the Crisis Bureau is exploring the targeted use of data science to harness new and emerging technologies such as machine learning / artificial intelligence and alternative data sources such as social media analytics and satellite imagery analysis, to support forecasting collective risks to human development (including risks of disasters, impact of climate change, risk of violent conflict and social unrest) in order to inform preventive action to mitigate the potential effects of crises on affected populations. 

In support of UNDP’s engagement on the use of data science for crisis risk analysis and early warning, the Crisis and Fragility Policy and Engagement Team is seeking an information management and data science intern to support the organization's early warning capacities, information gathering and management, and the development of machine learning tools and competencies.

Duties and Responsibilities

The intern will provide support to the early warning team in its information management and data science tools development activities, particularly related to the further development and operation of the Crisis Risk Dashboard (CRD), which is a data management and visualization platform to track crisis risks. 

Information management and tools development support may include:

  • Identifying additional data sources and manage data flows that support crisis risk analysis by engaging in data modeling and database development;
  • Supporting the collection, management, and publishing of documents, data, information, and digital content, using UNDP’s content management systems;
  • Developing customized applications and tools to strengthen CRD data collection, analysis and visualization capabilities;
  • Support the development of training material for the Global Crisis Risk Dashboard
  • Developing customized CRDs that offer country- or issue-based tracking and analysis by designing and developing visual interfaces, human-computer interaction modeling, and usability testing;
  • Researching innovative forms of acquiring data for early warning, particularly in context where data is scarce;
  • Contributing new ideas for improving the CRD in terms of the early warning data, and in terms of how the dashboard is used for effective crisis risk analysis;
  • Other related duties as may be assigned by the Early Warning Programme Specialist.

Machine learning / artificial intelligence tools development support may include:

  • Identifying new use cases for Machine Learning via Crisis Risk Dashboard applications
  • Supporting the development of machine learning models applying structured and unstructured learning including but not limited to regressions, random forest models, clustering models, sentiment analysis, NLP (natural language processing) and Topic Modelling

The intern is expected to participate as an active member of the team and openly contribute his/her perspectives throughout the internship.


Technical Competencies:

  • Data modeling, data mining, programming and database design, and data visualization
  • Statistics, Machine Learning, Deep Learning
  • Data science / machine learning applications development and operation
  • Design of interfaces, human-computer interaction modeling, and usability testing (UI/UX design basics)
  • Knowledge of Deep Learning, Neural Networks, Reinforcement Learning
  • Application of open source tools and technologies (Python or R)
  • Knowledge of one or more UNDP’s areas of work (sustainable development, democratic governance, peacebuilding, climate and disaster resilience)

Core Competencies:

  • Ethics & Values: Demonstrating / Safeguarding Ethics and Integrity. Is familiar with and acts in accordance with the standard of conduct for international civil servants, ethics and UN/UNDP values
  • Developing & Empowering People/Coaching and Mentoring: Self-development, initiative-taking. Takes initiative and seeks opportunities to initiate action
  • Working in Teams: Acting as a team player and facilitating team work. Works collaboratively with team members sharing information openly and displaying cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Communicating Information and Ideas: Facilitating and encouraging open communication in the team, communicating effectively. Uses tact and sensitivity when delivering sensitive information or resolving delicate issues
  • Self-management & Emotional Intelligence: Creating synergies through self-control Fosters a positive outlook and maintains focus during period of stress and heavy work load, inspiring and guiding others towards goal achievement
  • Knowledge Sharing & Continuous Learning: Learning and sharing knowledge and encourage the learning of others. Actively seeks learning opportunities, adopting best practices created by others
  • Appropriate and Transparent Decision-making: Informed and transparent decision making. Makes decisions within his/her own span of control, recognizes issues requiring more advanced judgment and refers them to the appropriate level.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Applicants must meet one of the following requirements: (a) be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher); (b) be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent, preferably Master’s level); or (c) have graduated with a university degree (as defined above) and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one year period of graduation;
  • Preferred field of study in a quantitative field such as Computer Science, Data Science, Statistics, Economics, Quantitative Social Sciences, etc.
  • Be computer literate in standard software applications, and with particular knowledge/expertise in data science, information management, information systems, geographic information systems (GIS), database development, web management, visualization, or other related areas;
  • Have a demonstrated keen interest in the work of the United Nations and have a personal commitment to the ideals of the Charter; and
  • Language: Fluency in spoken and written English is required for the internship.

Experience level of the applicant we want

Some work experience, Graduate