Recruitment of Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute

The Nordic Africa Institute (NAI), a Swedish public authority located in Uppsala, Sweden, is a center of excellence for knowledge on contemporary Africa. We are recruiting a Head of Research, who will drive and develop the Institute’s research and policy work, and contribute to strengthening our international reputation as a relevant and reputable independent research institute. The Institute has since its founding in 1962 been an important research, documentation and information center on modern Africa in the Nordic countries. It is jointly financed by the governments of Sweden, Finland and Iceland, and promotes research on and knowledge of contemporary Africa in the Nordic countries, as well as cooperation between mainly African and Nordic researchers. NAI also disseminates information on current African issues, through publications, seminars, conferences and various policy-related activities. The Institute operates based on government instructions, annual action plans and works towards long term strategic goals and Agenda 2030. Providing and supporting in-depth knowledge generation based on the voices of Africans, is fundamental to contribute to more resilient societies and achieving Agenda 2030 on the continent. We intend to develop our role further as the Nordic hub for Africanist research, documentation and policy advice and we are therefore looking for an experienced person who is enthusiastic about co-leading and developing NAI’s research and policy work in the coming years. We are a value-based organisation and believe that you are a person who inspires and includes people in your work, while translating vision into action. You have strong leadership and interpersonal skills, you believe in transparency and you are motivated by contributing to the development of people and building teams. You are an Africanist with an extensive experience from being an academic, from working with multiple disciplines and from translating knowledge and research into policy relevant messages and policy engagement. Strong communication skills and experience from working with stakeholders such as government, policy, academia, public authorities, think tanks, civil society, and inter-governmental organisations are highly valuable. As a senior manager at the Nordic Africa Institute, you join us in the belief that our research is a tool for positive change, and that we have the knowledge, the ability and the drive to inform decision-making at the highest level, thereby actively contributing to the fulfilment of the global development agenda. At NAI, we value everyone’s unique competence, and we see the benefits from having flexible crossorganisational teams that are multi-competent and intellectually agile. You will be a role model in the way you support and help innovate this synergetic work style.

Role of the position within the Institute 

The Head of Research is responsible for strategically and operationally leading the work of the Research Unit. The Research Unit consists of different categories of senior researchers including the core-funded researchers, externally funded researchers, guest researchers and research associates. The Head of Research is responsible for contributing to the goals of the Institute’s Strategy and for effectively managing human and financial resources within the Unit. She/he is a member of the Institute’s management team that advises and supports the Director of the Institute in the day-to-day running of the Institute. The Head of Research takes decisions according to delegation of authority.

The Head of Research reports to the Director of the Institute.

Overall responsibility

The Head of Research has the overall responsibility for developing and implementing the overall research activities of the Institute, including fund-raising, strengthening international research cooperation, developing strategic partnerships and collaborating with Africa experts and institutions in the Nordic and African countries.

She/he will guide and support the individual and team related work of the Research Unit, actively contribute to synergies within the Institute, develop systematic sharing of knowledge, while collaborating with other head of units to execute the mandate of the Institute.

She/he will develop and operationalize the structures needed to develop the team, the individual competences and contribute to meeting the goals of the Institute. The Head of Research will be responsible for the academic content of the research programmes and related activities, such as scholarships and exchange programmes, visiting fellowships, conferences, policy dialogues, seminars and lectures. She/he is visionary, keeping track of and steering the internal discussion on emerging trends and future research areas relevant for contributing to positive development in Africa.


As a member of the Institute’s management team, the Head of Research has a shared responsibility for the Institute’s development and achievement of its mission and the overall goals.

The Head of Research tasks are to:

  • Strategically and operationally, lead the execution of high quality and innovative research on modern Africa.
  • Actively promote and contribute to systematic knowledge production, exchange and policy engagement;
  • Contribute to defining and continuously nurture the research and policy identity of the Institute.
  • Collaborate with the Communication Unit to ensure high quality in NAI’s publications, media relations and policy engagement.
  • Actively align with and implement our values as a public authority and our internal core values.
  • Develop the annual action plan for the research unit and systematically follow up on progress;
  • Ensure mainstreaming of gender issues in the activities of the institute;
  • Contribute to the development of the annual reports of the Institute, and othercritical management instruments and tools ;
  • Overall responsibility for financial administration and management of the Unit including budget preparation, implementation and monitoring;
  • Overall responsibility for staff administration of the Unit including recruitment of researchers, follow up of the semi-annual reports and conduct salary discussions and evaluations;
  • Promote effective interaction and networking between NAI researchers and other experts/institutes on Africa within and outside the Nordic countries;
  • Facilitate collaboration between the library unit and the researchers to strengthen NAI´s library collection;
  • Increase and diversify our funding base;
  • Initiate and strengthen the international research cooperation of the Institute.



  • Title equivalent to Associate Professor in social sciences/humanities;
  • Extensive experience in academic research and policy advice on modern Africarelated issues;
  • Strong and proven leadership and team building skills, with a minimum of 5 years in research management positions;
  • Good listening, strong communication and interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary team;
  • Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English;
  • Strong writing ability and capacity to present complex issues in a readable and communicative form for both academic and non-academic audiences;
  • Proven interest in transferring knowledge to different audiences


  • A Professor in social sciences/humanities;
  • Proven experience from doing research and policy advice in Africa ;
  • Good knowledge of and networks, with Nordic and international research institutions and policymakers working on current African issues is a merit
  • Experience in fund-raising of research and/or policy advice projects;
  • Good knowledge of other relevant languages such as French and Portuguese.

Terms of employment

The position as Head of Research at the Nordic Africa Institute is offered as a full time (100%) employment based in Uppsala, Sweden. The employment contract

offered is a permanent position as senior researcher and with an appointment as Head of Research for a period of five years. A probationary period of six months will apply for the position.

The salary is negotiable within the Institute’s current salary levels and remuneration packages. The position includes attractive benefits and conditions offered for employees of Swedish Central Government.

The starting date of employment will be upon agreement.

Submission of application

Closing date for applications: 10 February 2020.

The application shall be submitted to: (Including publications to the extent possible or by indication of internet addresses where they might be available). Please write “Application Head of Research” in the subject field.

Please ensure that your application contains the following:

  • a cover letter;
  • a complete CV;
  • copies of relevant certificates;
  • brief account of experience of other employments of relevance;
  • brief account of experience of leadership, cooperation, and administration;
  • copies of selected scientific and policy related publications (up to three in each category); and
  • names and contact details of three references.

NAI is committed to an Equal Opportunities Policy in employment and since the Institute strives for a gender balanced staff composition, women are particularly encouraged to apply for the position.


For more information about the position please contact Therese Sjömander Magnusson (Director) on +46-18 471 52 40, or Tania Berger (Head of Administration)

on +46 18 471 52 43

Trade Union representatives: Johan Sävström (OFR/ST) and Henrik Alfredsson (Saco-S). They can both can be reached through +46 18 471 52 00.

More information about the Institute’s research focal areas and themes, on-going research activities, grants, library services and publications is available on the

Institute’s website: