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Innovation Specialist – UNICEF

Job Details

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, Care…

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does — in programmes, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund has been specifically designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify “clusters” or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology – so that UNICEF can both shape markets and also learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children.

How can you make a difference?

Under the leadership of the Programme Funding Manager, the Innovation Specialist (Fund Programme) will support day to day coordination of the Venture Fund’s activities. This includes building and maintaining relationships with donors, exploring new prototypes to support the Fund itself, overall coordination of the team and oversight and strategic guidance on the cryptofund.

We are looking for an experienced Innovation Specialist to join our Venture Fund team and lead day to day coordination and oversight of the Fund’s work. Ideally you know UNICEF processes well, how to make them work to support innovative projects and can work well across teams. You have managed a portfolio of projects or investments before and can help a dynamic and agile team work at its best. Previous experience working with start-ups and on technology is a plus. Expertise in cryptocurrency a huge bonus.

Summary of key functions/accountabilities:

Oversee the Fund’s sourcing and selection strategy

  • Manage the sourcing strategy, including establishment of relevant collaborations a country and global levels, including the cryptofund
  • Ensure selection strategy is in line with UNICEF’s rules and regulation in collaboration with Supply Division and Innovation Operations team

Facilitate innovative prototypes using new models or technology to support the Fund

  • Identify opportunities by facilitating collaboration between various parts of the Ventures team and supporting the team through these explorations
  • Monitoring pilots and finding alignment between these initiatives and the DPG Alliance’s objectives
  • Coordinate procurement processes for vendors that allow UNICEF to find new ways for the Fund team to use emerging technology within its own team, or leverage new models to achieve its goals
  • Oversee small scale prototypes that test out new concepts

Coordinate and oversee contracts and agreements with start-ups and country offices

  • Provide day to day oversight of contracts, including coordination of reporting, payments and monitoring, in close collaboration with Innovation Operations team
  • Coordinate team involved in ongoing portfolio management and related operational processes
  • Develop contracting modalities and systems to expand the Venture Fund’s practices (e.g. growth funding, crypto-denominated funding)

Coordinate and oversee the crypto-denominated fund and advise on related strategic considerations

  • Engage in conversations with leadership from various divisions on the topic of cryptocurrency and document the evolution of the prototype fund , including relevant strategic recommendations
  • Provide research and recommendations on evolving areas of cryptocurrency and make the link to the relevance to UNICEF’s work
  • Facilitate the on-going logistics related to the CryptoFund, in creating SOPs, helping follow operational steps for contracting and supporting Fund team members in contracting and sharing the impact of such investments

Oversee data collection systems and use data to inform sourcing and technical assistance

  • Establish and update data collection systems for the Fund to ensure that technical assistance, financial and operational decisions are evidence- and data-based
  • Consolidate and summarise data into recommendations for strategy and partnerships

Provide inputs for and management of partnerships for the sustainability of the Fund and technical engagements for its portfolio

  • Develop and maintain up-to-date partnerships asks (financial (fiat and crypto) and non-financial) for the Venture Fund
  • Input into partnerships materials, including key messages and propositions, to support related development efforts
  • Assess technical assistance needs and facilitate models to meet these, including through scalable models
  • Develop engagement models and related partnerships based on clear priorities and value propositions
  • Lead regular reporting for existing partners
  • Represent the Venture Fund externally for partnership development efforts, as required

Providing operational support for the Fund team, including coordination of consultants, tracking of budgets and external communications materials

  • Maintain tracking systems for financial expenditures and consultant contracting
  • Put in place teamwide project management platforms
  • Coordinate team meetings and check-ins with members and consultants
  • Input into resource plans and determine funding and staffing needs, based on priorities
  • Oversee inputs and creation of external communications materials to share results of the Fund

To quality as an advocate for every child, you will have…


  • An Advanced University Degree in technology, social sciences, development sciences, public relations, business administration and management or related field is required.*
    *A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree


  • A minimum of 5 years progressively responsible and relevant professional work experience in project management and coordination of funding decisions, some of which should be in an international setting, is required.
  • Experience in coordinating investments/ funding decisions is required.
  • Demonstrated technical expertise and practical experience with cryptocurrencies, including technical requirements for the acceptance, disbursement and monitoring, market trends and potential donors is desired.
  • Experience in managing projects and partnerships focused on open source frontier technology is required.
  • Experience in coordinating activities within and across teams, including project teams for specific initiatives and use of current project management and tracking platforms and tools is required.
  • Experience in establishing and using data systems to inform decision making and identification of needs is desired.
  • Experience in financial decision making and management, including tracking budgets and financial expenditures is required.
  • Proven experience in translating and clearly presenting complex ideas from various fields into unified, clear messages, including for successful partnership development is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop strategies that reflect priorities and support achievement of larger goals is required.
  • Strong writing and communication skills and the aptitude to handle competing messages and priorities with multiple audiences is desired.
  • Experience in facilitating engagements with UNICEF Country Offices and UNICEF Divisions is required.
  • A strong understanding of UNICEF programmes, policy and principles, and experience in a UNICF programme country is desired.
    Experience working in complex, resource poor contexts is a plus.

Language Requirements

  • Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results. Get acquainted with our Values Charter.

UNICEF competencies required for this post are Drive for Results (3), Working with People (2), Communication (2), Relating & Networking (2), Planning and Organizing (3), Deciding and Initiating Action (2)

To view our competency framework, please visit here.


UNICEF’s active commitment towards diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. Female candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination. UNICEF also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Apply Now

Job Status: Closed

Job Sectors: Innovation Specialist

Job Type: Contract

Regions: Sweden

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