Director of Research & Innovation

Nairobi Kenya

About Shamiri Institute:

Shamiri" means "to thrive." We are a vibrant team shaping the future of youth mental health in Africa and beyond. We envision a world where young people can flourish and realize their full potential. Located in Nairobi, Kenya, the Shamiri Institute is the largest provider of youth mental health services in Africa, serving over 100,000 clients annually. We have pioneered innovative models and interventions in the field of youth mental health. Our work is supported by extensive research and a commitment to disseminating knowledge through articles, data, and resources.

About the Shamiri Lab

One of the most productive research labs in the Global South, the Shamiri Research and Innovation team (known as the Shamiri Lab) is founded on the principle that achieving our vision requires continuous innovation at three fundamental levels: 1) Therapeutic/intervention innovation, where we continuously develop, adapt, and refine mental health interventions and solutions; 2) Process innovation, focusing on building and refining processes and infrastructure for scaled mental health care delivery; and 3) Behavior change innovation, influencing how people perceive, relate to, and interact with mental health solutions. In just three years, our lab has secured over $4 million in research grants, published more than 50 articles in leading journals, including JAMA, JAACAP, The Lancet, and World Psychiatry, and completed more than 5 Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs). The Lab is supported by a Scientific Advisory Board and enjoys partnerships and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with leading institutions, including Harvard University, Duke University, Child Mind Institute, Aga Khan University, Strathmore University, and others.

About this role:

We are seeking a full-time team member to join the Shamiri Institute as Head of Research and Innovation (i.e., the Director of the Shamiri Lab). This individual will lead our Research & Innovations Team, whose mission is to foster research excellence both in-house and through collaboration. This role is central to our mission and presents an exceptional opportunity for an applied social scientist aiming to make a significant impact on the world. Working directly with our CEO, Tom Osborn, and in partnership with the Shamiri leadership team, the scientific advisory board, academic institutions, and policy partners, you will spearhead the execution of Shamiri’s research agenda. This staff position is ideal for an accomplished early-career researcher who is committed to dedicating their career to policy and practice. The position is offered on a 2–3-year contract basis, with the expectation that the Director of Research and Innovation will raise funds for a sustainable model.

What you’ll do:

As the Director of the Research Lab at Shamiri Institute, you will be instrumental in guiding and executing a diverse range of tasks that are crucial to the advancement of our research objectives. Your responsibilities will include:

  • Drive Cutting-Edge, High-Impact Research: You will lead groundbreaking research in the fields of mental health, livelihoods, education, and social sustainability. By partnering with world-leading academics, you'll develop a forward-thinking research agenda aimed at publishing in top-tier journals.
  • Shape Research Strategy: Develop and refine the research strategy to align with Shamiri Institute's broader goals, setting clear objectives and defining the scope of research initiatives.
  • Lead and Mentor the Research Team: Oversee recruitment, training, and professional development, fostering an environment conducive to innovation and collaboration.
  • Secure Funding and Manage Resources: Actively pursue funding opportunities, write grant proposals, and ensure the judicious management of research budgets.
  • Ensure Research Integrity and Quality: Oversee all research processes to maintain high standards of scientific rigor and ethical compliance.
  • Foster Collaborations and Partnerships: Establish and nurture relationships with academic, clinical, and community partners to enhance the Institute's research capacity and impact.
  • Communicate Research Findings: Effectively disseminate research outcomes to various stakeholders, including the academic community, policy makers, and the public.
  • Translate Research into Practice and Operational Insight: Integrate research insights into practical applications and policy recommendations, particularly focusing on mental health in the African context.
  • Incorporate Innovation and Technology: Stay abreast of and incorporate the latest technological advancements in research methodologies and practices.
  • Engage in Advocacy and Public Engagement: Advocate for mental health issues, raise awareness, and engage with the public to promote mental health initiatives.

This role is a unique opportunity to lead a dynamic team at the forefront of mental health research, significantly contributing to the well-being of Africa's youth and beyond.

What We're Looking For

  • PhD in Behavioral Science, Economics, Public Health, Public Policy, Social / Cognitive / Clinical Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, or other relevant field.
  • Deep expertise in the psychology of human wellbeing, as relates to information processing and belief revision; meaning-making and construal; mental models and representations; identity (e.g., stereotype, stigma); motivation (e.g., self-efficacy, executive function); social cognition (e.g., cultural learning, narratives); and psychological well-being (e.g., happiness, mental health).
  • Demonstrated track record in the design and evaluation of psychological interventions through randomized controlled trials and A/B tests.
  • Strong commitment to open science.
  • Self-starter with strong program management skills; able to thrive in a start-up environment with minimal hierarchy.
  • Team player with an abundance mindset.
  • Preferably, significant work experience in the nonprofit sector and/or public policy.
  • Preferably, significant life experience in low- and middle-income countries.

How to apply:

Please submit your application here. You will be asked to upload: a Cover Letter detailing your interest in the position, your research interests and how they align with the goals of this role, your career goals, and why you believe you are a good fit for the position. Please also outline your past research achievements and future research plans, and 2) your Curriculum Vitae (CV) detailing your educational background, research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, and any other relevant professional experiences.For more information on this role please reach out to Tom Osborn (CEO; or Rahim Daya (Chief of Staff;

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