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Position Title: Risk Assessment Expert (m/f/d)
Form of Employment: Home-based Consultant
Starting Date: May 2020
Duration: 15 days
Location: Remote Deskwork

Background:
While the role of social media during elections is widely discussed, the evidence basis of the debate remains thin. Much of it is based on valuable journalistic research and occasionally on academic insights, however these are often published long after the events, in a fragmented, experimental or ad-hoc manner. For the last year, DRI has been working with MEMO 98 to significantly step up real-time understanding of social media dynamics by providing an online toolkit for social media monitoring in elections and training 6 civil society organisations across Europe on to apply the toolkit in their own environment.

As part of this online toolkit DRI is developing a ‘Digital Democracy Risk Index’, a comparative tool to understand potential threats online to online democratic discourse in countries across Europe. The index will provide countries’ risk of online disinformation and manipulation ahead of elections, by identifying various vulnerability factors and quantifying these with both quantitative and qualitative indicators to create a risk assessment for each country. Factors include social media consumption and trust in (all) media; public attitudes and trust in institutions; the electoral context (e.g. political party stability, electoral system, electoral administration); and political context (e.g. geographical relevance of elections and polarising campaign issues). Indicators for each of these factors will include both quantitative and qualitative ones, for example (quantitative): population internet penetration and social media use, election voter turnout, trust in government and political parties. Qualitative indicators will include type of electoral system, the tightness of election campaigns, electoral administration, and emotive campaign issues.

The tool will be visualised as 1) a heat map of Europe with the option to 2) click onto country for further detail – a country risk profile narrative regarding its susceptibility to online manipulation of democratic discourse, including an analysis of the vulnerability factors and indicators.
We are looking for a home-based consultant to develop the “Digital Democracy Risk Index” for European countries. The assignment will start in April 2020 and will be completed by June 2020. The tasks require a background in both political and data science.
Given the current estimations, the freelancer would provide around 15 expert days per year for the different projects of DRI, subject to funding.

Your Tasks:
The consultant will work directly with DRI HQ Social Media and Democracy team under the overall guidance of DRI’s Director of Programmes. The consultant will perform the following tasks to support our project:
• Test and provide expert feedback on the proposed conceptual framework and methodology of the index
• Build the Digital Democracy Risk Index based on quantitative indicators from open source data, from quantitative and qualitative databases (topics may include
social media consumption and trust, public attitudes, electoral processes, legal frameworks, as mentioned above). This includes the quantitative validation of the conceptual and statistical coherence of the index and its indicators
• Perform data collection based on determined indicators, coding and analysis at an expert level
• Design, test and build an interactive map as well as other forms of data visualization as required (using R or Python)
• Attend calls and video meetings as required and maintain effective communication with the DRI Social Media Team
• Deliver the Digital Democracy Risk Index in a timely manner
• Provide recommendations for further steps in improving the index, such as providing suggestions on designs of country pilots, etc.

Deliverables:
• D1. Feedback on an initial conceptual framework provided by DRI on the Digital Democracy Risk Index for Europe
• D2. A clear, step-by-step methodology of the Digital Democracy Risk Index, including
o the final conceptual framework and
o a measurement framework of the selected indicators
• D3. Full dataset built for download in .csv, .xlsx and .sav
• D4. Codebook (including information of data sources)
• D5. Code (in preferably R or in Python) for the Index, including an interactive map of countries covered

Your Skills and Experience:
• University degree in political science, international relations, computer science, social sciences, statistics or related field. A degree or background in both technical and science fields would be considered an asset.
• Working knowledge of R, Python and other statistical software. Previous experience in collecting data via APIs is an asset.
• Experience in complementary database research, working with policy-orientated indicators and/or building indicators from qualitative indicators.
• Previous experience in the field of election, democracy, social media research and election monitoring is an asset.
• Fluency in English is required, additional languages will be considered an asset.

How to Apply:
If you are interested in this position, please send your application (cover letter and CV) to tender@democracy-reporting.org. Please include “Risk Assessment Expert DRI” in the subject line and refer to the source where you have found this opportunity. This position is subject to funding. Applying for this position by post mail is possible, please find our address details below.

Closing date for applications: 27 April 2020. The position may be filled before the deadline has been reached, so early applications are encouraged.

DRI is committed to diversity and does not discriminate in employment based upon gender (including pregnancy), race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, age, ability, socio-economic status, or any other status protected by the laws in the locations where we operate.

Organisation responsible for this vacancy:

Democracy Reporting International gGmbH
Prinzessinnenstraße 30
10969 Berlin, Germany
Tel +49 30 27877300
Fax +49 30 27877300-10

Data processing of personal data in third countries will not take place. We process your data in accordance with the provisions of § 26 German Federal Data Protection Act. More information about processing your personal data: privacy policy .