MSF Ethics Review Board Officer 80% and Data Sharing Support 20%

Location: Brussels preferred - other MSF Operational Centers (OCs) may be considered

Duration: long term contract, 100%

Start date: September 2015

Applications date: 15 August 2015      



Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 21 sections, 24 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested.


An increased emphasis on research in MSF led to the creation of an ethics review board (ERB) in 2001. From the outset independence of the ERB from the organisation was perceived as essential. To avoid conflict of interest and ensure independence, ERB members cannot have a working relationship with MSF during their tenure. Over the past thirteen years, the ERB’s dialogue with MSF has enhanced sensitivities towards research ethics and lead to gradual improvements in developing ethically sound proposals. The consistent use of an ethics framework has helped in standardizing the review process and guiding field research teams in addressing ethical issues. The ERB strives to take a constructive approach to both research proposals and the field of research ethics itself. The ERB has encouraged innovation in both the review of proposals and the interaction between the ERB and the organization.

Additional information is available in the publications mentioned below and available on the MSF field research website. [1] [2]

Currently the ERB is composed of 12 members, and a chair; all external to MSF. A vice-chair will be appointed in the near future. The ERB reviews 50 to 70 protocols per year according to set procedures.

MSF has also a data sharing policy to share defined set of data with researchers requesting access to those data.

At the end of 2013, MSF launched an institutional data sharing policy, in a PLoS Medicine article [3]. Requests to share data are submitted to a central email address[4]. Applicant requests are passed to the relevant data sharing committee and if approved, applicants complete a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) before the data are shared.

Since the policy was launched, it has become increasingly relevant, with advances in the medical publishing world[5],[6] to push for the data underlying research studies to be deposited in central databases, or for authors to declare that their data are available under a data sharing policy.

Implementation of the policy is currently not optimal for several reasons, and there is a lack of clarity of implementation across all parts of the organisation. A consultancy is foreseen to propose solutions to improve this. The recommendations from the consultancy will need to be implemented after approval by the medical directors.


The ERB officer / data sharing support will be part of the IO medical team, coordinated by the international medical coordinator.

Reporting lines: to the chair of the ERB and to the medical director in charge of the data sharing project


For the ERB the ERB Officer will:

  • Be responsible for leading the ethics reviews in close collaboration with the ERB chair and vice chair
  • Maintain the ERB database and administer the MSF & ERB document repository systems
  • Provide input on content matters and administrative support to the ERB chair/vice-chair

For the Data Sharing support, based on the outcomes of the current consultation, the officer will

  • Support the implementation of the data sharing policy across the organisation,
  • Manage the data catalogue
  • Support the creation of a true open research data set and manage its implementation.


For the ERB, the ERB officer will:

  • Lead the review process in close collaboration with the ERB chair and vice chair
    • Organize the reviews of research protocols submitted
    • Prescreen all protocols submitted for reviews and prepare them for complete reviews or expedite review
    • Consolidate the reviews made by the ERB members
    • Follow the different steps till finalization
    • Ensure that reviews of new research proposals, and continuing review of all previously approved research proposals, are carried out promptly through follow-up with the chair and ERB members
  • Maintain the ERB database and administer the MSF & ERB document repository systems
    • Maintain a database on all MSF research projects involving human participants submitted to the ERB;
    • Follow up after ethical approval (request for amendments, extension of approval, interim reports, final report, publications and other relevant information);
    • The ERB database shall document the current status of all research proposals submitted to the ERB (e.g., whether exempt from review, approved, awaiting changes before action, or not approved)
    • Maintain the ERB documentations repositories: an updated list of ERB members with additional documents, ERB meeting reports, complete research protocols files, archives of the ERB, etc.
  • Provide input on content matters and administrative support to the ERB chair/vice-chair
    • Identify ethical issues that repeatedly appear in protocol review. Propose ways to address these issues.
    • Support the chair in organizing ERB meetings, including drafting of the meeting report
    • Prepare the annual activity report
    • Keep track of timelines, work load of each ERB member and active participation in the review process – propose a priority setting mechanisms in cases of specific needs (e.g. too many protocols in the same time)
    • Ensure any administrative assistance that may be needed by the Chair, vice-chair and Members in carrying out their ERB functions
    • Make readily available information to MSF staff about the ERB, including its standards, rules, procedures, activities and meeting reports

For the data sharing, the officer will

  • Support the implementation of the data sharing policy across the organization
    • Provide support and material to ensure that the data sharing policy is known and implemented in all level of the organization
    • Maintain the relevant folder in the MSF field research website
    • Review the requests and manage them accordingly ( supervise the transmission to the data sharing committee, or to the medical director concerned, follow up of the process up to the MTA signature and the transfer of the data)
    • Establish and maintain collaboration and modus operandi with the data sharing committees
    • Update a field guide on data sharing according to needs
  • Manage the data catalogue
    • Provide templates for the addition of new data sets
    • Manage the current catalogue and manage the addition of additional data set (including the necessary MOU with countries)
  • Support the creation of a true open research data set and manage its implementation.
    • Implement a systematic process to include research datasets in the catalogue and follow the minimum standards of data accessibility for researchers to adhere to.
  • Prepare regular reporting on the implementation of the data sharing policy for the medical directors


  • PhD (or Masters with strong research experience)
  • Research experience including knowledge of various research methods
  • Working experience in the humanitarian sector is an asset
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong technical writing skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively with different stakeholders
  • Excellent English speaking and writing skills
  • Ability to successfully manage multiple concurrent tasks
  • Flexibility and availability to travel


Location: Brussels preferred (another MSF OC considered)

Starting date: September 2015

Contract: long term 100%

Application closing date: 15 August 2015

Please submit all applications only by email to: stating "ERB & Data Sharing" in the title.

Please submit your CV and cover letter in ONE file and name the file with your LAST NAME.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.