Enterprise development
Public revenue

Research Assistant for big data analytics (6 months)

Closing date: 26 May 2019 at 23:59 UTC+3

Station: National Treasury, Pretoria, South Africa

UNU-WIDER is looking for an outstanding individual with strong commitment and potential to contribute to the SA-TIED programme.

Research Assistant required to assist the Research Associate for the Southern Africa – Towards Inclusive Economic Development project.

About the work
The recent availability of tax administrative and other micro-data on enterprises and jobs in South Africa provides a valuable resource for policy-relevant academic research. This allows for a deeper understanding of the functioning of the private sector, the labour market and public revenue mobilization. The goal is to create well-documented longitudinal datasets with key variables that can be augmented with research topic-specific variables. This serves as a basis for not only tax research but also for other research strands that require micro-level administrative data. In this project, researchers from UNU-WIDER, the National Treasury of the Republic of South Africa (NT) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS), will build and expand the tax administrative and other micro-data available to researchers in South Africa. Policies that promote development need to be built on reliable facts, and administrative data offers an inexpensive way for this.

Duties and responsibilities

  • retrieve, clean, and process data in SQL and Stata
  • maintain the data and resolve errors in the extraction and data cleaning process
  • assist in drafting, reviewing and revising documentation related to the data
  • research assistance (analyse existing data, surveys, reports, technical journals and media)
  • actively participate in meetings related to the position
  • other duties as requested by the supervisor related to the research and administrative work.


  • BSc degree (economics, statistics, geoinformatics, data science or equivalent)
  • currently enrolled or clear intention to enrol for an MSc degree
  • excellent skills in statistical software STATA and SQL, knowledge of R and ArcGIS is an advantage
  • excellent analytical and drafting skills
  • fluent in oral and written English
  • knowledge about productivity growth, personal income tax curve and empirical economics is an asset
  • hold a valid work permit for South Africa. 

The Research Assistant will be issued a six-month consultancy contract with UNU-WIDER. The Research Assistant will receive a lump sum of US$1,000 per month to supplement living expenses while stationed in Pretoria, South Africa. No extra payments for housing or living expenses will be made. Project-related costs will, however, be covered by the project.

Application should include

  • short personal statement/description (max. 1 page)
  • curriculum vita (max. 2 pages)
  • diplomas.

The application must be submitted electronically. Deadline for applications is 26 May 2019 at 23:59 UTC+3. Interviews will be held as quickly as possible thereafter.

The position is open from 1 July 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Apply here.

Further questions should be addressed to dataassistant@wider.unu.edu.