ILRI PhD Graduate Fellowships - Development of Data Management and Analysis Pipeline for Integrated Surveillance of Endemic and Emerging Zoonoses in Kenya

ILRI PhD Graduate Fellowships - Development of Data Management and Analysis Pipeline for Integrated Surveillance of Endemic and Emerging Zoonoses in Kenya

  • The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a PhD student to undertake research on Development of data management & analysis pipeline for integrated surveillance of endemic and emerging zoonoses in Kenya.

  • ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centers dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices in East, South and Southern Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

  • The One Health Research, Education and Outreach Centre in Africa (OHRECA) at ILRI, seeks to improve the health of humans, animals and ecosystems through capacity development, strengthening of local, regional and global networks and provision of evidence-based policy advice on One Health in sub-Saharan Africa. The centre has four thematic areas: control of neglected tropical zoonotic diseases, emerging infectious diseases, food safety and informal markets, and prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance.

    About the position:

  • Global awareness of zoonotic disease emergence and the risks these pose both to human health and our global economy has been growing steadily over the last two decades and has been thrown into sharp relief by the COVID-19 pandemic. The concept of ‘One Health’, by which collaborative structures are formed across the human, animal and ecosystem health sectors, has been widely adopted by the international community and is integral to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

  • Technical agencies of the United Nations, most notably the WHO and FAO together with the OIE (the ‘tripartite’) are working together to strengthen One Health working at the international level, such as through the Global Early Warning & Response System (GLEWS) and through support for the development of national networks.

  • Kenya has been proactive in adopting the concepts of One Health, with the establishment in 2011 of one of the first dedicated national offices, the Zoonotic Disease Unit (ZDU). This unit, which sits between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture & Irrigation, was created with the mission to establish and maintain collaboration at the animal, human, ecosystem interface for the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases.

  • In line with the GHSA, Kenya has undertaken a prioritisation exercise for zoonoses, has developed a national action plan (NAP) for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and a national strategy for elimination of dog-mediated human rabies.

  • The ZDU provides epidemiological support and outbreak response for zoonotic diseases although surveillance of human and animal health are as yet, still the purview of the two separate ‘parent’ ministries of Health and Agriculture with no formal, inter-operable structure for sharing data on zoonotic diseases between ministries.

  • Decentralisation through the formation of 47 semi-autonomous counties in 2013 added a further layer of complexity to matters of disease surveillance and streamlining data collection, analysis and feedback to partners is needed to improve the surveillance performance across the country.

  • The Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (CEMA)
    at the University of Nairobi brings together a multidisciplinary consortium including epidemiologists, mathematical modellers, statisticians, clinicians and data scientists using data-driven approaches to control infectious diseases in humans and animals to protect and improve health in Kenya and the region.

  • CEMA supports the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) in better predicting, detecting and responding to disease events.

    Project title: Development of data management & analysis pipeline for integrated surveillance of endemic and emerging zoonoses in Kenya.

    Key responsibilities:

    This graduate fellowship involves;

  • Creating a data pipeline for simultaneous analysis of human and animal health and population data with ‘real-time’ feedback to MoH, DVS, ZDU and county partners.

  • Utilising epidemiological modelling techniques to identify ‘hot spots’ for potential zoonotic disease emergence/re-emergence
    Undertaking participatory research with surveillance stakeholders across different sectors and at national and county level to determine barriers to participation with an integrated data pipeline and design interventions to improve data submission and response.

  • Utilising guidelines and protocols from the WHO, FAO & OIE to evaluate the impact of the data pipeline on the performance of surveillance in the country.

  • Utilising data streams to integrate with the ‘Global Burden of Animal Diseases’ programme (BMGF funded) to create disaggregated ‘animal health loss envelopes’ for Kenya

    Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree (MSc, MPH, MMED, or equivalent).

  • Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree.

  • Ability to write and speak English.

    Experience & Skills:

  • Previous experience of undertaking research.

  • Experience of public health, surveillance, epidemiology, economics.

  • Good understanding of national and county level legislation guiding the operation of surveillance systems.

  • Ability to work for weeks/months in developing countries.

  • Experience working with the Kenya Directorate of Veterinary Services surveillance, diagnostics and epidemiology departments or the Ministry of Health Disease Surveillance and Response Unit.

    Personal Attributes:

  • Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully.

  • Able to work in transdisciplinary project.

  • African nationals are encouraged to apply.
    Location: Nairobi, Kenya.

    Duration: 3 years.

    Terms of appointment and stipend:

  • This is an appointment for 3 years. Start date will be agreed with the selected candidate, but ideally from April, 2021.


  • ILRI will offer a monthly stipend to cover living expenses in the project location, medical insurance, and cover research expenses. The successful applicant will be registered for their PhD at the University of Nairobi and will receive a scholarship to cover PhD tuition fee from Washington State University (WSU).

  • The successful candidate will also receive mentorship from scientists and faculty at ILRI, WSU the University of Liverpool, the University of Edinburgh.

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; ILRI PhD Graduate Fellowships - Development of Data Management and Analysis Pipeline for Integrated Surveillance of Endemic and Emerging Zoonoses in Kenya

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