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Job Description

The PDRA will collect and analyse ethnographic and mixed-method data that will help deliver the goals and objectives of a NIHR Global Health Research Group Shire-Vec within the Vector Biology department at LSTM and MLW in Malawi.

Under the supervision of the work package leader, the successful applicant will develop a research project that investigates the disruptions brought by the Lower Shire Valley irrigation scheme to local lifeways. While particular attention will be paid to the consequences the irrigation might bear on human-vector interaction in the context of malaria, this ethnographic project will further explore how the intervention shapes kinship, inheritance, relationships among the matrilineal and patrilineal communities affected by it.

The ethnography will be based on approximately 12 months of in-depth fieldwork in the Lower Shire Valley, Malawi.


Key responsibilities

  • To search, document and systematically analyse media reports, policy literature, web-based content and scientific scholarship relating to topics of irrigation and agriculture, climate change, resettlement in Malawi and comparative contexts, expanding the area of thematic interest as necessary.
  • To contribute to the project research objectives and methodology through the development of a detailed research proposal relating to this case study.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, identifying milestones and research resources, under the supervision of the work package leader and in collaboration with others.
  • To draft ethics research proposal in agreement with LSTM (UK) and KUHeS (MW) research ethics committees.
  • To identify and recruit research participants in accordance with disciplinary (Association of Social Anthropologists) and institutional (LSTM, KUHeS) ethics guidelines.
  • To document and manage research data and materials in accordance to Data Protection/GDPR regulations and in order to maintain them accessible to team members as appropriate and in line with the project data management plan.
  • To work with the work package leader and the Principal Investigator and other colleagues in the research group to identify further areas of research, develop new research methods, and extend the research portfolio.



QUALIFICATIONS: (i.e. Education, Training and Experience Requirements).

A    Education: The minimum level of education required to perform all the duties of the job to standard.

PhD in relevant discipline (anthropology, sociology, development studies, geography, social sciences etc) or equivalent

B    Experience:  The minimum number of years of experience required to perform all the duties of the job to standard.

At least 1 years’ relevant experience

C KEY COMPETENCIES/ATTRIBUTES AND SKILLS (e.g. IT Skills, Personality, Communication, Teamwork etc)


·         Experience of long-term, in-depth ethnographic fieldwork
·         Experience of conducting scholarly literature reviews
·         Experience of developing research guides for interviews, focus groups, and structured observations
·         Experience of conducting participant observation, interviews, focus groups, and structured observations
·         Active involvement in ethics applications and technical reporting to funders
·         Knowledge of safeguarding and experience in drafting safeguarding protocols
·         Previous experience of contributing to high quality publications and/or presentations
·         Experience of conducting ethnographic research in rural areas
·         Proven experience working in multi-partner and international projects
·         Experience of vector control related research
·         Experience in collecting and analysing mixed-method data
·         Working fluency (or above) in Chichewa highly desirable
·         Previous experience in working with NVivo or similar qualitative software


Remuneration and Benefits

MLW offers an attractive remuneration package that includes a competitive salary package commensurate with the position, a medical aid scheme, 24 hours insurance cover, a pension scheme, and gratuity benefits redeemable once every year, among others.


MLW also offers opportunities such as scholarships, upgrading, and training opportunities to employees. These are based on successful job performance and other set criteria.


MLW recognizes its responsibility in safeguarding and protecting communities, research participants, and patients. Please note that successful candidates will be requested to undergo a safeguarding check prior to appointment and at regular time points during employment.

Suitably qualified candidates should forward their applications with copies of relevant certificates, 3 contactable referees, and a detailed CV to this email


To arrive no later than the 31st of May, 2022, only short-listed candidates will be acknowledged.

Posted on Apr 20, 2022