Entry Level UNDP Jobs – Speech Technology Specialist at United Nations Development Programme

Organization: United Nations Development Programme
Duty Station: Kampala, Uganda
Reports to: Data Scientist
About UNDP:
The United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) is the United Nations’ global development network.  UNDP advocates for change and connects
countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better
life. The UNDP provides expert advice, training, grant support to developing
countries including Uganda with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least
developed countries.
Global Pulse is an innovation initiative
of the United Nations Secretary-General on Big Data. Its vision is a future in
which big data is harnessed safely and responsibly as a public good. Its
mission is to accelerate discovery, development and scaled adoption of big data
innovation for sustainable development and humanitarian action. Global Pulse is
building a catalytic network of in-country innovation centers, which will test
new tools, data and analysis, share what lessons with the global community,
mainstream successful approaches for real-time impact monitoring into
policymaking. The first Lab has been established in New York (Pulse Lab New
York) followed by Jakarta, Indonesia and Kampala, Uganda. 
About United Nations Pulse Lab:
Pulse Lab Kampala is an inter-agency
initiative of the United Nations under the Office of the Resident Coordinator
in Uganda. The first of its kind in Africa, it brings together researchers from
Government, the UN, non-governmental organizations and private sector to
explore the utility of new sources of digital “Big Data” (such as social media,
mobile data, online information) and real-time analysis techniques for social
development monitoring and program planning. A data revolution is underway in
Uganda and in Africa. There is more data now than ever. New technologies are
leading to an exponential increase in the volume and types of data available,
creating unprecedented possibilities for informing and transforming society and
protecting the environment. There is more data produced in the last 2 years
than in all of human history. There is a tremendous potential in new
technology; indeed, this is the forefront of the data revolution already well
underway in in the private sector.  The
new SDGs agenda will have increased demands – and opportunities- for the use of
data. Pulse Lab Kampala supports the UN Country team to tap into the revolution
obtaining more and better data to support development work and humanitarian
action supporting:
Enhance Early Warning: Detection of anomalous trends and
patterns of events enables early warning of emerging crises and earlier
responses to prevent long-term harm;
Real-Time Awareness: 
An up-to-date picture of trends, hotspots and dynamic changes in
population behaviour enhances programme planning and monitoring of
implementation and;
Rapid Impact Monitoring and Evaluation: Timely feedback on the impact of
programmes and policies allows for adaptive course correction and accelerated
achievement of results.
Radio is a vibrant medium for public
discussion in Uganda. Variety shows and phone-ins hosted by community radio
stations are popular ways for Ugandans to voice their needs, concerns and
opinions, particularly in rural areas. By using technology to capture audio and
transcribe the content into text, radio can become a digital big data source.
Pulse Lab Kampala is working closely with Stellenbosh and Makerere Universities
to develop the technology to conduct radio mining in Uganda. The project will
capture radio audio in Ugandan English, Acholi and Luganda and transcribe the
content into text. Pulse Lab Kampala is currently analysing around 40 stations
in Kampala and will soon expand to other locations in Uganda. Speech
recognition pronunciation dictionaries, and language and acoustic models are
under development. Details on the project are available at: http://pulselabkampala.ug/radiomining.
Job Summary:   The UNDP Speech Technology Specialist will
support the Pulse Lab Kampala through the provision of technical support in the
development and advisory of the radio mining toolkit.
Key Duties and Responsibilities:  
Transcription Setup
transcription format and provide sample transcription (i.e. text files
containing a representation of the words spoken in the audio recordings) for a
set of reference recordings from Ugandan radio provided by Pulse Lab Kampala;
Word spotter setup;
The incumbent
will be tasked with setting up a word spotter using South African language
models, applied to Ugandan English radio broadcasts;
English adaptation;
the adaptation of South African language models to Ugandan English, using
training data provided by Makerere University of Uganda;
to vernacular languages;
for the development of basic models for word spotting with a limited vocabulary
in Luganda and Acholi;
System Evaluation;
a fundamental role in the evaluation of the performance of the speech
recognition technology developed.
Qualifications, Skills and Experience:  
The ideal
candidate for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Speech Technology
Specialist should hold an MSc in Computer Science, Software Engineering or
related field; Ph.D will be an asset; Possession of Postgraduate studies in
Speech and Language Processing.
A minimum
of two years’ professional experience of speech recognition technology,
including knowledge of the tools and concepts needed to develop new speech
experience of software engineering practices for prototyping, testing and
refining new systems;
The incumbent
must have advanced knowledge of speech recognition software (HTX).
the ability to conceptualize, plan and execute innovative ideas.
command of English.
Personal Competencies:
and produces quality results to meet established goals;
innovative, practical solutions to challenging situations;
substantive and technical knowledge to meet responsibilities and post
requirements with excellence;
openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
positively to critical feedback and differing points of view.
to conceptualize, plan and execute innovative ideas;
open, co-operative behavior with other team members;
calm and in control, and good humoured even under pressure;
positively to critical feedback and differing points of view;
priorities, produces quality outputs,
deadlines and manages time efficiently.
How to Apply:  
All candidates who wish to join the United
Nations UNDP should upload their electronic application in one single PDF at
the web link below. The application should include the following documents/information:
accomplished Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability using the
template provided by UNDP (see Annex II); Download
Personal CV highlighting past experience in similar assignments and with 3
professional references with contact details (email and telephone);        
proposal (1/2 page maximum);
proposal (in template provided in Annex II) stating an all-inclusive fixed lump
sum fee for this assignment in USD, supported by a breakdown of costs. Such
total lump sum price must include professional fee, and costs necessary to
conduct the assignment such as communication costs, etc. The consultant will be
paid against the completion of specific, measurable deliverables as identified
in this TOR. Download
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Deadline: 13th July, 2015

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