Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Officer

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We are looking for a MEL Officer to join the ODI team and help develop our new Data Institutions Programme

Location: London (currently home based, due to COVID-19)

Salary: Up to £50,000 per annum (dependent on experience) plus benefits

Fixed term contract until 30 June 2021

We are looking for a MEL Officer to join the ODI team and help develop our new Data Institutions Programme.

Access to the right data can help us to tackle the economic, societal and environmental challenges of our time. But data also needs to be protected and governed responsibly, to limit the harms that it might cause to people and communities.

At the ODI, we’re exploring data institutions – organisations whose purpose involves stewarding data on behalf of others, often towards public, educational or charitable aims – as a way of balancing these needs and providing trustworthy, sustainable access to data.

This year, we set up the Data Institutions Programme to advance the theory and practice of data institutions. Reporting to the Head of Research & Development and working closely with the Programme Lead for Data Institutions, the MEL Officer will play an integral role in developing this programme in its early stages.

We want to monitor and share the impact of the work of our Data Institutions Programme so that we can make better decisions about the things it should prioritise. The Senior Research will be responsible for developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the programme and later on, commissioning external partners to assess the programme’s initial impacts. This work will need to generate actionable evidence and insight, and support the Programme Lead and senior members of the ODI team in strategic programme planning and decision-making.

The MEL Officer will also design and deliver projects related to the topic of data institutions. Some of this research will explore issues such as their approaches to sustainability or their parallels with institutions from the past. Other research will be more focused on the programme itself – for example, by furthering our understanding of the role of data institutions in different sectors or regions, or developing ‘explainers’ that combine our existing research with new insights in an accessible, engaging way.

At the ODI there are several researchers across multiple internal teams, and we have a growing community of practice that connects them together so they can learn from and with each other. This community uses a range of approaches across the spectrum from basic to applied research. The MEL Officer will need to work with a wide cross-section of the ODI team, as well as external partners, to deliver their research.

The MEL Officer will also need to take part in other activities in support of the Data Institutions Programme’s objectives, such as engaging with new international audiences and networks to amplify its work, and proactively identifying opportunities to apply and test data institutions in different sectors.

This is an exciting opportunity to help establish a programme that we hope will have a huge impact in advancing the cause of responsible data stewardship.

Key responsibilities

  • Lead the development of a monitoring and evaluation framework for the programme, and commission external partners to work with us on this.
  • Develop reports, presentations and other outputs to share evidence, insights and lessons related to data institutions with our core stakeholders.
  • Work with multidisciplinary teams to lead and manage projects related to data institutions, taking them from design to delivery and evaluation.
  • Expand the international reach and impact of the programme, by identifying and engaging with new international stakeholders and networks, and deepening our relationship with others.
  • Identify opportunities to apply and test data institutions in different sectors, including working with our Business Development team to help bring new work and funds into the programme.
  • Help us to develop clearer positions and messaging related to data institutions, such as by raising the profile of particular topics or issues and helping other organisations understand how to support them in their own strategies, policies and investments.
  • Represent and advocate for the data institutions programme, including at external events and meetings.

About you

You will have the following skills and experience:


  • Experience in and knowledge of data sharing, governance and/or stewardship.
  • Experience in a senior research role.
  • Experience in developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks, and using them to generate insights that inform planning and strategic decisions.
  • Comfortable planning, scoping, conducting, analysing and communicating research.
  • Experience of working with and developing theories of change, logic models or hypotheses.
  • Experience of working with multiple projects and teams in an agile environment.
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure and to short deadlines within a collaborative, flexible, and emergent environment.
  • Experience of working with the public and private sectors.
  • Strong people skills and a positive attitude to working with non-research specialists and appreciation of the contribution others can make.
  • Interest in the broader mission and goals of the ODI.


  • Experience in establishing new programmes, projects or organisations.
  • Experience setting KPIs, collecting and reporting data.
  • Experience in commissioning research and/or assessments from, and working with, external partners.
  • Experience in supporting and constructively challenging others to plan critically.

About the ODI team


We are good at what we do. We use our expertise to achieve our mission. We are open and generous with our expertise and experience, and share it outside and inside the ODI.

We can get better at what we do. We recognise the limits of our expertise and respect that of others. We are open to and seek advice, opinions and support to develop our expertise, within and outside ODI. We reflect on what works and what doesn’t to consciously learn, improve and grow.


We succeed when others flourish. We support and challenge others to do their best work. We open up opportunities for other people and organisations, and empower them to take them. We are as open as possible about what we are doing and what we have learnt. We encourage others to refine and build on our work.

We empathise with others so we can help them. We find out what people and organisations really need. We have empathy with their motivations and the constraints they operate under. We communicate in terms they understand.


We are trusted because we are honest and responsible. We are open with our opinion, open to hearing what others say, open to being wrong and open to changing our mind. We are not afraid to speak our mind when it is useful or important, and take responsibility for the results of doing so. We actively and curiously listen to others, and take responsibility for our responses to them.

We can do more than we might think. We are bold, creative and open to failure. We know what we do won’t be perfect at first but that doesn’t stop us. We start small and quickly, and iterate to improve.


  • 5% contributory pension
  • 30 days’ annual holiday plus bank holidays
  • Life assurance cover
  • Long-term disability cover
  • Critical illness cover
  • Flexible working
  • Coaching and mentoring for skills and personal development
  • £750 annual professional development budget

How to apply

Please upload a CV and cover letter here, explaining why you are the right candidate for the role by 17:00 on Friday 25 September 2020.

Applying to work with us

The ODI would welcome and encourage job applications from a diverse range of backgrounds to promote an inclusive culture and a diverse working environment.

If you’ve got any queries, please email [email protected]

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