Call for Experts - Food Security Research and Evaluation Specialists

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 2 May 2019

Job Description


Abt Associates focuses on improving the lives and economic well-being of people worldwide. We command technical expertise in health, agriculture, climate change, food security and governance—as well as in international research and evaluation. In partnership with government clients and local experts, our high-quality programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East are known for impact and innovation.

The International Evaluation and Research Group at Abt implements research and evaluation projects with the vision to increase the impact of policies and programs by applying the most rigorous methods to measure effectiveness, answer key development questions, and make recommendations for more strategic implementation efforts both throughout the program cycle and in the future.

Abt Associates is seeking senior- and mid-level food security researchers/evaluators for applied research work under the anticipated USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) project, and other agriculture and food security research and evaluation projects. Rockville, MD is the preferred location for this position, however other Abt office locations or remote options can be discussed. We are seeking research expertise in the following topics as they relate to the dynamics and causes of food insecurity:

  • Agriculture: Research to understand how agricultural production impacts food and nutritional insecurity
  • Livelihoods: Research to understand how rural and urban livelihoods assure, lose or re-gain their food and nutritional security
  • Intra-Household Dynamics: Research to understand how intra-household resource allocations affect different household members and its influence on intra-household food and nutritional security outcomes
  • Drivers of Malnutrition: Research on integrating nutritional analysis into food security analysis
  • Livestock: Research to understand the role of livestock in maintenance of food insecurity among agriculturalists agropastoralists and pastoralists
  • Conflict: Research to understand the dynamics between conflict and food security recognizing that conflict can be both a cause and consequence of food insecurity
  • Markets and Trade Dynamics: Research to deepen the knowledge base on the complex drivers of market and trade behavior, and the interplay between the demand and supply dynamics of food markets
  • Food Security Dynamics (Urban and Chronic): Research that expands the analytical framework to understand urban food insecurity and measure chronic food insecurity
  • Resilience: Research to measure resilience, and policy levers that can increase resilience
  • Risk: Research to deepen the understanding of hazards and vulnerability to food insecurity, and its measurement and forecasting
  • Nutrition: Collecting nutrition and health data relevant for early warning and food security analysis and providing recommendations for key indicators and information that should be assessed as part of food security and nutrition assessments
  • Climate Change and Water Security: Research focused on applying scientific advances developed by NOAA, USGS, NASA to better predict climate and water insecurity impacts on food insecurity
  • Human, Animal and Crop Disease: Research to better understand the role of diseases in food insecurity

Ideal candidates will have expertise in more than one topic listed above as they relate to food insecurity.

Preferred Skills / Prerequisites


  • Master’s degree in agricultural economics, economics, sociology, anthropology, public policy, international development, program evaluation, or a related field. A PhD in one of these fields is preferred
  • Experience conducting research and analysis in developing country settings in one or more topics listed above as they relate to food insecurity
  • Strong economic, statistics and econometrics skills including design, and implementation of quantitative household surveys in developing country contexts. Expertise in statistical packages such as Stata. Experience with qualitative data analysis packages such as NVivo or Atlas.ti is preferred
  • Experience managing research and/or evaluation teams, deliverables, and budgets
  • Technical experience leading or serving as a key technical team member for multiple applied research and/or evaluation projects
  • Experience leading and/or managing business development proposals
  • Proven ability to work effectively and meet deadlines in high-pressure settings
  • Excellent verbal communication and writing skills in English


  • Professional proficiency in French, Spanish, and/or other languages spoken in FEWS NET focus countries (French preferred)
  • Prior direct or indirect experience with FEWS NET

Minimum Qualifications


  • At least 5 years’ experience in food security and one or more of the topic areas listed above


  • At least 10 years’ experience in food security and one or more of the topic areas listed above

About the Organization

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1965, Abt Associates was built on the concept that sound information and empirical analysis are the best foundations for effective decision making. The firm blends the subject matter expertise of our staff with technical capabilities in applied research, program implementation, and data collection to shape policy, strengthen systems, measure performance, and deliver other solutions to our public and private sector clients. Examples of Abt Associates’ work include nationally recognized research, evaluation, and technical assistance to improve the efficiency of healthcare systems, the effectiveness of government housing programs, the production of food, and the measurement of public opinion. Abt’s staff of more than 2000 includes national and international experts who are known for their understanding of communities and governments worldwide, innovative research techniques, and insightful—and often groundbreaking—analyses and recommendations. Approximately 51 percent of our staff has graduate degrees; one in six has a doctorate. Our staff’s educational and professional disciplines include economics, engineering, environmental analysis, epidemiology, food security, health, housing, international development, psychology, social science, statistics, and survey methodology. Abt’s research staff is experienced with prominent statistical software packages, including SPSS, SAS, and STATA, along with qualitative software such as NVIVO and Atlas. In 2011, Abt Associates was ranked among the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 development innovators. Abt has offices in Atlanta, Ga.; Rockville, Md.; Cambridge, Mass.; Chicago, Ill.; Durham, N.C.; and New York City and program offices in nearly 40 countries in Africa, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa.

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