Research Officer (Sanitation Learning Hub)

Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
Brighton, United Kingdom
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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Who We Are

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change.

Our Vision

Our vision is of equal and sustainable societies, locally and globally, where everyone can live secure, fulfilling lives free from poverty and injustice.

What We Do

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is a global research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change. 

In partnership with the University of Sussex, IDS is ranked first in the world for development studies by the QS University Rankings.

We believe passionately that cutting-edge research, knowledge and mutual learning are crucial in shaping the transformations needed to reduce inequalities, accelerate sustainability and build more inclusive and secure societies. In line with our engaged excellence approach, we are committed to collaborating closely with local civil society, governments, international NGOs, citizens, donors and many others to realise this positive change.

IDS has been working with partners to tackle complex development challenges in this way since 1966.  Our partnership with the University of Sussex supports and accredits our master’s degrees and PhD research programmes.  We also offer a range of thematically and approach-focused professional development courses, learning journeys and online and blended learning.  Through our learning offer we aim to strengthen the skills and capabilities of those already working within the development sector, as well as nurture a new generation of development thought, policy and practice leaders.  

IDS publishes a wide range of high quality and high impact outputs, including our flagship publication, the IDS Bulletin, an open access, peer-reviewed journal exploring emerging international development challenges.  

The Institute is home to over 200 staff and 200 students at any one time. But the IDS community extends far beyond, encompassing an extensive global network of over 360 partners, 3,000 alumni and hundreds of former staff.

For more information go to:

Job Description

The Sanitation Learning Hub

The overarching aim of the SLH is firstly to support the sanitation and hygiene (S&H) sector in tackling the complex challenges it faces in delivering universal safely managed sanitation by 2030 ensuring the human right to S&H for all.


The SHL does this by identifying, developing and disseminating promising ways forward that lead to equitable and sustainable outcomes. Central to the work of the SHL is adaptive learning and action research; using, testing, evolving and spreading approaches and methods which generate timely, relevant and actionable insights to keep policy-makers and practitioners equipped with ways to keep in touch and up-to-date with grounded realities. 


Our activities are designed to support the co-creation of learning and innovation for stronger policy and improved practice. We undertake a mix of face-to-face, hands on activities (e.g. workshops, immersions and networking); writing of practical guidance and toolkits and evidence based, concise publications (e.g. Frontiers of CLTS and Learning Briefs); and online activities and formats (e.g. website, webinars, e-newsletter, audio-visual). These activities cut across different thematic concerns such as sustainability, equity and inclusion, menstrual hygiene management, disability, handwashing, support for the poorest and most marginalised.


The programme’s main components include:

  • The innovation, testing and spread of rapid action learning approaches
  • Action-orientated research, publications and tools which distill learning from field level realities and are targeted at policy-makers and practitioners
  • Communication, dissemination of learning, and networking.


Learning, monitoring, feedback and reflection on results is essential to the development and adaptation of all our approaches and methods.


The SLH is funded until September 2022 however ongoing fundraising is required.  


Overall purpose of the role:

To support the SLH at IDS through undertaking desk and field based research, undertaking data collection and analysis as directed, contributing to publications and other communication methods, and working effectively with project and cluster colleagues, including partners.


The work will be under the direction and line management of the SLH Research and Learning Manager.  The line manager is responsible for income generation, induction, appraisal, support and ongoing management to support excellent performance, though these activities can be designated to other senior colleagues by agreement.


The Research Officer will also be a member of the Participation, Inclusion and Social Change cluster whose leader and members can be expected to provide broader intellectual and professional support, but who are not responsible for fundraising. All Research Officers are additionally welcome to take advantage of the Institute’s mentoring scheme. 


Activities will be taken from the following broad categories:


Research and Action Learning

  • Undertake a range of desk-based research on S&H, including carrying out literature reviews and other background research activities, in a timely fashion to the agreed standard.
  • Undertake field-based research and action learning activities in collaboration with research partners as appropriate gathering, analysing and digesting information, data and research on sanitation and hygiene from different countries and organisations.  
  • Contribute to other research activities and project publications as appropriate. Including the authoring/co-authoring and editing of SLH publications. 
  • Maintain knowledge and keep abreast of relevant debates and trends noting emerging key issues related to sanitation, hygiene and other relevant topics.
  • Lead and support the facilitation of participatory workshops. 


Liaison & Networking

  • Participate in and develop external networks, for example to identify sources of funding, build relationships for current and future activities, and enhance research impact.
  • Develop relationships and maintain effective communications with practitioners and policy makers in the S&H sector. 
  • Develop links with external contacts to foster collaboration and partnerships.
  • Promote the work of the SLH and the Institute both internationally and nationally.
  • Work with the  SLH team to plan and organise a range of activities and events in conjunction with overseas partners and others, including workshops, report launches, debates, and high-level policy meetings.


  • Contribute to the production of rapid action learning outputs (including desk-based topic explorations, field visit reports, workshop reports and immersive studies), academic publications, and research reports, include the SLH flagship publication series Frontiers of CLTS (
  • Coordinate publication processes, including books with external publishers, other printed material with external designers and printers, and internal IDS publications.
  • Contribute to the SLH and IDS blogs, and social media, produce opinion pieces, and participate in media interviews where appropriate.

Workshops, conferences and events

  • Extensive travel to represent the SLH at conferences, workshops and events internationally and in the UK
  • With the wider SLH team plan, organise and facilitate workshops, conference sessions and learning events, including participatory workshops. 


  • Participate in cluster, project and Institute activities as required.
  • Liaise with colleagues and students
  • Build internal contacts and participate in internal networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future collaboration
  • Act as a responsible group member and develop productive working relationships with others


  • Contribute to the process of securing funding as requested by project manager and/or cluster leader


  • Ensure that all research activities comply with the IDS safeguarding policy