Project Coordinator

Project Summary:

The Centre for Social Research (CSR) is a research centre within the University of Malawi that works with government, non-governmental organisations, development partners, and local and international research institutions and universities to conduct research, promote scholarship and knowledge translation, and capacity building and training. The CSR’s work is organised in four thematic areas, namely (i) poverty and sustainable livelihoods; (ii) the socio-economic and cultural aspects of public health; (iii) democracy and governance; and (iv) gender, youth and disability. Within the health sector, the CSR contributes to evidence-based policy formulation and health programs implementation in Malawi and beyond.

In collaboration with the University of Wollongong in Australia, and CHEO Research Institute in Canada with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the CSR is implementing a study to determine the proportion of 3- and 4-year-old children who meet the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for physical activity, sedentary and sleep behaviour for the children under 5 years of age. In addition, the second aim is to determine if the proportion of children who meet the guidelines differ by sex, socioeconomic status, or urban/rural location. Finally, the third aim is to investigate if meeting the guidelines is associated with health and development outcomes.

The study is part of the SUNRISE International Study of Movement Behaviours in the Early Years (, and over 60 countries are currently participating in the SUNRISE Study. In Malawi, children will be recruited from Early Childhood Education and Care (ECDC) centres (e.g., nursery schools and child day-care centres, community-based childcare centres, etc) in both urban and rural areas of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzimba North (including Mzuzu city), and Zomba districts. The CSR is therefore seeking to recruit a highly motivated, competent, and enthusiastic person with passion for early childhood development, physical activity, and public health to join a vibrant team at the CSR in the following post.

Position Overview:

The successful candidate will be responsible for providing strong project administration support, supervising data collection in all study sites, and supporting knowledge translation efforts. The Study Coordinator will work under the leadership and guidance of the Principal Investigator (PI), ensuring the project is executed efficiently and effectively.


1. Project Administration:

  • Organize and maintain project-related documentation, including protocols, ethical approvals, recruitment materials, and consent forms.

  • Take responsibility for the secure storage of project equipment (e.g., devices and their accessories, anthropometry measurement tools, etc.) and maintain an updated inventory of the equipment.

  • Facilitate communication among team members, ensuring efficient collaboration and information sharing.

  • Assist with managing project timelines, milestones, and deliverables as required.

  • Coordinate logistics for research-related activities such as identification and recruitment of ECEC centres and study participants, data collection, and data management.

  • Prepare budget for research-related activities such as recruitment and data collection and monitor expenses.

  • Review activity budgets to ensure efficient and effective use of resources and submit monthly activity reports.

  • Manage and prioritise own workload within agreed objectives to ensure that all activities are completed to deadlines.

  • Attend monthly collaboration meetings and ensure that action points from meetings are summarised and shared with the PI and team members as required.

2. Supervision of Data Collection:

  • Develop fieldwork plan and ensure that it is regularly updated and distributed to the research team.

  • Participate in recruitment and training of data collection team members.

  • Supervise data collection team members, ensuring adherence to the protocol manual and ethical guidelines.

  • Conduct regular meetings and site visits to monitor progress, address challenges, and provide guidance and support as needed.

  • Oversee data quality control procedures and resolve any data collection issues that arise.

  • Ensure compliance with ethical standards and data protection regulations throughout the project.

  • Take responsibility for the secure storage and management of data including consent forms.

3. Knowledge Translation Support:

The aim is to ensure that study findings are effectively communicated, understood, and utilized by relevant stakeholders. Main duties include:

  • Organize knowledge translation events like workshops to share the study findings with relevant stakeholders, including educators and parents.

  • Utilize digital platforms (websites, social media, online newsletters) to disseminate research findings to a wider audience.

  • Collaborate with media outlets to promote research findings through press releases, interviews, or news articles.

  • Support the development of evidence-based guidelines or policies based on research findings.

  • Support development of peer-reviewed academic publications of international standing based on the analysis of data and literature with a clear and engaging writing style.

  • Participate in development and dissemination of research findings to academic audience, including the CSR in-house seminar as well as at local and international conferences.

Person Specification

Educational and/or Professional Qualifications (E=Essential, i.e. a candidate must meet all essential criteria to be considered for selection, D=Desirable)

  • E1 Bachelor’s degree in relevant field (i.e., Public Health, Education, Early Childhood Development and related fields).

  • D1 Masters degree or towards completing Masters degree in relevant field.

1. Experience

  • E2 At least two years’ experience coordinating research-related activities, including one year experience coordinating a research project involving young children.

  • E3 Experience of using actigraphy software such as ActiLife or PALconnect.

  • D2 Experience of collecting physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep data using accelerometers.

  • D3 Some experience of taking anthropometric measurements.

  • D4 Some experience of assessing gross motor skills in young children using supine-timed and go (STuG) and hand-grip dynamometer.

  • D5 Some experience of assessing cognitive function in children using Early Years Toolbox.

2. Job Related Skills and Achievements

  • E4 Knowledge of physical activity and public health research.

  • E5 Ability to plan and organise own workload effectively with general supervision from PI.

  • E6 Ability to work within a team environment.

  • E7 Ability to prepare and manage activity budgets.

  • D6 Ability to manage small research team.

  • D7 Experience of knowledge exchange related activities, including conference presentation and contributing to a peer-reviewed publication.

3. Personal Attributes

  • E8 Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to listen, engage and persuade, and to present complex information in an accessible way to a range of audiences.

  • E9 Excellent written and oral communication skills in English language and fluent in Chichewa language

How to apply

Candidates should email their application dossier that must include (1) a brief outline of why you would be a good fit for this post (300-500 words max); (2) your expertise in research methods (200 words max); and (3) attach a short CV with addresses of at least three traceable referees two of whom must be serving or served in reputable academic institutions (2 pages max). The applications should be sent to:

The Registrar

University of Malawi

P.O Box 280


Email: copying

The closing date for applications is 10th September 2023. Only shortlisted candidates shall be acknowledged.