South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
Building a healthy nation through research and innovation

Job opportunities

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) strives to improve the nation’s health and quality of life by funding and conducting relevant and leading health research.  It further aims to promote equity, career development and progression.  The organisation prides itself on three core values: being pioneering, striving for excellence and working collaboratively.

Individuals are invited to submit applications in response to the following position:

Project Coordinator

Health Systems Research Unit
Cape Town Office

24 month full time contract

The SAMRC’s Health Systems Unit seeks to appoint an experienced person to coordinate a project that is focused on investigating the acceptability and feasibility of Safe South Africa, an integrated intervention to prevent adolescent HIV behavioral risk and perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) among male adolescents 15-17 years of age.

The project coordinator will be required to work with an international team of investigators, and coordinate the day-to-day study activities in the Western Cape.  The project coordinator will be based at the SAMRC office in Tygerberg and will travel to, and work in surrounding areas including schools for intervention implementation and communities for outreach and trial evaluation. The study has three phases: (1) a qualitative component consisting of focus groups with adolescent males that will guide the development of a draft intervention; (2) a cross-sectional quantitative survey male and female adolescents in the high school setting to gather data on perceptions and behaviors relating to HIV and IPV that will inform the intervention; (3) and a pilot of the intervention – SAFE South Africa – that will test the draft intervention among a small group of male adolescents 15-17 years of age to inform final adjustments to the intervention, followed by a pilot randomized controlled trial with 60  male adolescents 15-17 years of age. Component (3) will involve supervision of an intervention team as well as an outcomes team who will evaluate trial outcomes at baseline, 1- and 6-months.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Oversee all aspects of day-to-day implementation of the study, coordinating and taking guidance from investigators. This includes overseeing the scientific integrity of the study including the team’s adherence to study and ethics protocols; management of international data systems implementation and transfer; project progress reports including drafting of reports for funders; and drafting ethics (IRB) applications and reports to remain compliant with ethical regulations at all sites; and ensuring timely project implementation.
  • Assist with preparations for data collection from study participants including stakeholder buy-in and maintenance of these relationships in a professional manner. This process could include telephone calls and/or emails to staff of study facilities, and/or setting up meetings with staff of study facilities, as required.
  • Co-ordinate and supervise daily activities of the team. This includes directing the professional implementation of the qualitative, survey, and trial aims of the study. This also includes ensure the screening of eligibility, enrolment, consent, randomization and data collection (by the outcomes team) from study participants during the trial including timely follow-up for the randomized controlled pilot trial. This also includes ensuring that the intervention is implemented with high fidelity and that data is gathered on acceptability and satisfaction (by the intervention team) and that blinding is maintained. 
  • Take responsibility for fieldwork equipment and data integrity. Data will be collected on using an electronic data collection tool (phones or tablets) to be regularly charged, secured, and data uploaded to the project database following the procedures defined in the project protocol. Data must be regularly transferred and checked for integrity and quality.
  • Clearly and regularly communicate and report to the investigative team with regard to on-going progress and any problems that may arise at the field. This includes staff training, supervision, and management.
  • Ensure that the project stays on schedule.

Core Requirements:

  • A four-year accredited degree/diploma/certificate in Health Systems Research or another Public Health related field
  • At least three to four years’ working experience post qualification including ideally experience in HIV, IPV, and project coordination/management on a randomized controlled trial; qualitative experience collecting focus group data and/or in-depth interview data is also highly desired
  • Ability to communicate verbally and written in English and isiXhosa
  • Must be willing to travel to study sites and work irregular hours since work during after-school hours, evenings, and weekends are needed to implement this study with adolescents
  • Valid unendorsed code 8 driver’s license
  • No criminal record

This position will suit a person with:

  • Work experience in public health-related environment with experience collecting qualitative data, survey data, and randomized trial implementation and data
  • Comfort in working with adolescents and key people in their lives (educators, parents, families).
  • Work experience in implementing data collection (for qualitative, survey, and a behavioral intervention) that involves highly sensitive discussions on topics including HIV, sex, violence, and more. Must be able to implement all study activities with adolescents without judgment of adolescents.
  • Good interpersonal, supervisory, organisational, communication, facilitation and report-writing skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team. Must be responsive and be able to troubleshoot high pressure environments and be adaptive. Must be able to develop and implement strategies to ensure that the randomized trial component remains on schedule with tracking, tracing, and follow-up on participants on a tight timeline.
  • Strong computer skills in MS Office packages. Experience in NVIVO also desired by not required.

A salary in the region of R304 000 per annum, cost-to-company will be negotiated in consideration of experience and qualifications.

Fieldwork will commence immediately following the training and the completion of the selection and recruitment processes for fieldwork staff

In accordance with the SAMRC’s Employment Equity Plan, preference will be given to suitably qualified candidates from the designated groups. For this reason, we require race, gender and disability status to be specified. Disabled persons are encouraged to apply.


The SAMRC retains the right not to make an appointment.

Closing date: 22 January 2018

Should no feedback be received within 30 days of the closing date,
kindly consider your application as unsuccessful.

Please go to the following Web Site to complete an online application.

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Last updated:
15 January, 2018
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