1. Purpose of the Position
The consultant will work in close collaboration with the key project staff members and laboratory experts at WHO Country Office in Turkey, and collaborate with WHO Regional Office for Europe, and WHO Headquarters. Under the guidance of the Project coordinator and Laboratory experts, the incumbent will act as the subject matter expert for bioinformatics within the scope of the project. S/he will help manage the bioinformatics component of the project and provide technical support to the Ministry of Health (MOH), particularly the National Virology Reference Laboratory and Regional public health laboratories.
2. Organizational context
The mission of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme (The Programme) is to help countries, and to coordinate international action, to prevent, prepare for, detect, rapidly respond to, and recover from outbreaks and emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need all countries, to strengthen their health emergency preparedness, readiness, and response systems overall, both at national and sub-national levels.
The “Strengthening national capacities against COVID-19” project funded by EU and implemented by MoH with the technical collaboration of WHO Country Office Ankara, aims to further strengthen laboratory capacities for COVID-19 diagnosis and surveillance and other emerging and re-emerging pathogens of epidemic potential, reinforcing health security in Turkey. Within the framework of the project, The World Health Organization will provide technical guidance and operational support to the Ministry of Health in detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and timely diagnosis, surveillance and reporting of emerging and remerging pathogens, in compliance with the WHO recommended standards. To do this WHO are supporting the National Virology Reference Laboratory to strengthen their capacity and capability to conduct Whole genome sequencing and Bioinformatics analysis for SARS-CoV-2 and other priority pathogens.
3. Description of duties
Within the framework of the EU funded ‘Strengthening national capacities against COVID-19’ project and in alignment with the EU contribution agreement, the following deliverables are expected from the consultant:
1. Develop a comprehensive assessment questionnaire and evaluate the bioinformatic processes and systems currently in place at the National Reference Laboratory in Ankara, Turkey.
2. Provide an assessment report identifying strengths, weaknesses, gaps and defining areas of improvement.
3. Propose enhanced protocols and new technology and methods for NGS bioinformatics, data analysis, storage, and reporting for SARS-CoV-2 sequencing and other emerging and re-emerging pathogens
4. Develop comprehensive plans and training materials on NGS Bioinformatics pipelines and data analysis to enhance laboratory staff expertise on bioinformatics
5. Organize, coordinate and facilitate a series of interactive workshops (on site) on bioinformatic analysis of NGS data for SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging and re-emerging pathogens
4. Recruitment Profile
Functional Knowledge and Skills
– Advanced knowledge of bioinformatic analysis of NGS data
– Advanced knowledge in application of molecular techniques for genomic sequencing,
– Thorough knowledge of microbiological, clinical and laboratory surveillance.
– Knowledge of diagnosis of communicable diseases control and epidemiology and ability to work with national and international staff as member of the emergency preparedness and response team both in the laboratory setting, field laboratory setting as well as the international advisory and support levels.
– knowledge of software systems for bioinformatic analysis
Essential: Advanced University degree (Master’s level or above) in life science, biomedical science, medicine or medical virology from an accredited/ recognized institute. Certified training or qualification in molecular biology and bioinformatics.
Desirable: Training in molecular techniques. Training in Public Health or Public health laboratory practice.
Essential: At least seven years in public health laboratory science in infectious diseases with special focus on high threat pathogens in diagnosis and/or research including 5 years of international experience.
Desirable: Proven track record of successfully contributing as an international laboratory science specialist or consultant is an advantage.
Essential: English – fluent
Desirable: Turkish – intermediary
5. Contract duration
100 days over a period of 11 months, commencing January 2022
A mix of home based and travel to Turkey, predominantly Ankara
Some travel within the country may be necessary
8. Remuneration and budget (travel costs excluded)
Band B (USD 350-499)
9. Living expenses
Living expenses will be paid while travelling for this consultancy.
10. Work schedule / Duration of contract
100 days over 11 months – specific days to work can be negotiated.
11. Additional Information
• This vacancy notice may be used to identify candidates for other similar consultancies at the same level.
• Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
• A written test may be used as a form of screening.
• If your candidature is retained for interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: www.whed.net/. Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
• For information on WHO’s operations please visit: www.who.int.
• WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
• WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
• Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
• WHO’s workforce adheres to the WHO Values Charter and is committed to put the WHO Values into practice.
• Consultants shall perform the work as independent contractors in a personal capacity, and not as a representative of any entity or authority. The execution of the work under a consultant contract does not create an employer/employee relationship between WHO and the Consultant.
• WHO shall have no responsibility whatsoever for any taxes, duties, social security contributions or other contributions payable by the Consultant. The Consultant shall be solely responsible for withholding and paying any taxes, duties, social security contributions and any other contributions which are applicable to the Consultant in in each location/jurisdiction in which the work hereunder is performed, and the Consultant shall not be entitled to any reimbursement thereof by WHO.
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