Luxembourg Operational Research Director At Médecins Sans Frontières


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organisation that provides aid in more than 70 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of race, religion, creed, or political affiliation.

MSF Luxembourg is a historical partner section of the MSF movement created in 1986. With 35 staff members, the section’s team works to raise awareness on humanitarian issues among Luxembourg’s population, raise funds needed to finance humanitarian interventions, supports MSF volunteers who go into the field and carry out operational research projects directly linked to health programs to help improve their efficiency and effectiveness.
Nine MSF partner sections (Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, South Africa and Sweden) and the Lebanon Branch Office, make up the Operational Center Brussels (OCB).
In 2019, MSF OCB ran 109 projects in 38 countries.

OCB Medical Department is a network of units, in Brussels, the Brussels Medical Unit (BRUMED), in Cape Town, the Southern African Medical Unit (SAMU), in Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR), in Beirut, the Middle East Medical Unit (MEMU) and positions based around the world (Nairobi, Rio, Rome and Toronto). The department is composed of members working in the operations department in a dual-matrix system (deputy cell coordinators & medical officers) and experts working in the medical department itself. The experts cover the following domains: anesthesia, antibiotic resistance, capacity building & mentoring for healthcare professionals, change management, chronic non-communicable diseases, critical care, data protection & data sharing, emergency medicine & toxicology, emergency preparedness, environmental health, epidemiology, general surgery & orthopaedics, health promotion & anthropology, hepatitis C, HIV, infection prevention & control, infectious diseases, knowledge management, laboratory, malaria & vector-borne diseases, medical data & health informatics, medical devices, mental health, microbiology, nursing care, nutrition, operational research and documentation, paediatrics & adolescents health, pharmacy, primary healthcare, public health, sexual & reproductive health, tuberculosis, vaccination, survivors of torture and viral haemorrhagic fever & emerging infectious diseases. The department is organized in resources deployed in thematic circles.

Since 2009, MSF Luxembourg has been putting its expertise at the service of the development of medical research in the field through the Luxembourg Operational Research unit (LuxOR) within OCB Medical Department. Operational Research helps MSF take an in-depth look at its programs and operations, evaluates what is working well, and shows what needs to be improved. LuxOR shares findings with the international MSF-movement and partner organizations, and advocates for evidence-based policy and practices changes with local and international stakeholders. Supported studies are published in renowned scientific journals, and openly available to researchers and the global humanitarian community. The unit is based in Luxembourg with detached staff in Brussels, Beirut, Toronto and London.
More information can be found on:


The main interactions will be with the MSF Luxembourg General Director (GD), OCB Medical Director, LuxOR Program Officer, the LuxOR team, and OCB Operational Research Coordinator.
He/she is a member of the Management Team of both MSF Luxembourg and the Medical Department.

The setup of the LuxOR team

  • The LuxOR Director is the reference person regarding guiding global policy and strategic aspects of operational research for the unit and provides strategic guidance to team members. He/she will report directly to the Luxembourg GD and the OCB Medical Director.
  • The Program Officer is responsible for team management, support to the pool of field epidemiologists and allocation of HR related to operational research. She is also responsible for linkage between LuxOR, Operations and the Medical Department in Brussels.
  • The Operational Research Advisors are based in Luxembourg, Brussels and Beirut and support the medical department and operations to define and prioritize the operational research and documentation agenda. Each advisor is responsible for domains most relevant to MSF operations such as sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, ABR, climate and environmental health, etc. They review and draft operational research study protocols and provide technical and editorial support to comply with MSF Ethics Review Board (ERB) requirements. In addition, advisors are available for technical support to field epidemiologists. Close interaction with the field is crucial and field trips can take up to 30 % of working time.
  • The Medical Editor is based in Canada and supports researchers and field teams in writing and editing of OR protocols, contact with the ERB and publications in open-access journals.
  • The Policy, Practice & Communication Advisor is based in Luxembourg and coordinates on evidence-informed policy and practice implementation, leads on LuxOR communications and outreach.

The post requires regular scheduled trips to Brussels to ensure coordination and anchoring of the OR portfolio within the medical department and the operations department. As well as potential and availability for traveling to the field.


Strategic guidance on operational research

  1. Support the creation and development of an Operational Research vision and strategy for the LuxOR Unit, in collaboration (and coordinating) with the relevant stakeholders, including the OR advisors as specialists of technical competencies, topics or domains.
  2. Play a key role in providing strategic advice on medical and operational issues to the GD of MSF Luxembourg. In particular on how to advance the “Mission statement” on Operational Research, linking the medical department and the Luxembourg executive structure to ensure overall cohesion between the two bodies.
  3. Support the Luxembourg section in taking decisions, specifically to assure the leading role of LuxOR and importance of research uptake within the section and movement. This includes close collaboration with the other departments such as Fundraising and Communication.
  4. Along with the program officer, link up with other MSF sections and international partners to boost synergies and collaboration on operational research (with involvement of the GD of MSF-Luxembourg).
  5. Contribute to the development of the OCB OR policy strategy and vision.
  6. Coordinate together with the program officer and OR advisors the setting of an OR agenda and its implementation in line with the yearly/multi yearly plan(s) of OCB departments.
  7. Contribute to the design, elaboration and implementation of OR projects
  8. Promote and embedded OR culture among MSF-OCB missions
  9. Be directly involved with the structural and functional development of OR in OCB and MSF-Luxembourg in terms of package of activities, functional modalities and resources needed.
  10. Provide effective leadership and direct management of the LuxOR unit and team
  11. Guide LuxOR policy and strategic direction and coordinate the relationship between the different OR units and/or activities.
  12. Conduct support field visits to projects to boost “innovative” operational research projects.
  13. Contribute to information sharing, dissemination and communication of OR activities for LuxOR, OCB and the wider MSF movement.
  14. Play a leading role in the OR-scientific day in Brussels.
  15. Coordinate LuxOR activities and timely completion for yearly documents such as the “OCB medical activity report”.
  16. Coordinate the communication with MSF Ethics Review Board in what concerns LuxOR research studies
  17. Liaise with scientific journals for peer reviews

OR capacity building and training activities

  1. Coordinate SORT IT training courses and ensure its continued support by MSF Luxembourg and its network of partners and Alumni. Use SORT IT to teach the practical skills of conducting and publishing research and enhancing evidence-informed decision making in operations.
  2. Boost useful external collaborative partnerships with institutions (WHO/TDR, Luxembourg foundation, etc.) that are involved with innovation, operational research and medical data in low and middle-income countries and that are of social benefit to MSF.
  3. Use the existing external and internal networks to progressively make MSF-Luxembourg recognized as a hub for OR training and capacity building within the MSF movement.


  • Experience leading and managing diverse teams and balancing priorities of multiple stakeholders.
  • Excellent communication, representation, diplomatic and networking skills.
  • Experience in building and maintaining strategic partnerships.
  • High level of analytical skills
  • Qualification as a medical doctor, a nurse or a midwife.
  • Background in Tropical/Humanitarian Medicine and/or Public Health.
  • Knowledge of MSF political and international environment and internal functioning is essential.
  • Field experience with MSF or another humanitarian organization.
  • Very high level of spoken English and strong English writing skills are an essential pre-requisite. A reasonable working knowledge of French is necessary.
  • Adherence to MSF’s Principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity Accountability, Trust, Empowerment.
  • Adherence to the MSF Behavioural Commitments


  • Qualification as a medical doctor, a nurse or a midwife
  • Knowledge of Epidemiology/Medical Statistics
  • Practical experience in study design.
  • Publications in humanitarian operational research

Other criteria

  • The position is Luxembourg based.
  • Willingness to travel and work between Luxembourg and Brussels and with different field teams, with overnight stays necessary at times
  • Working erratic hours may be necessary


  • Full time contract.
  • Director level in the MSF Luxembourg salary grid.

How to apply

Application deadline: April 5th, 2021
Candidate application must include an updated CV and cover letter.
Please apply through e-mail at the following address: [email protected]
with position reference: LuxOR Director

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At MSF, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our employees. We welcome applications from individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, ability status, and all other diversity characteristics.

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June 2023
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