Website DataKind DataKind

Harnessing the power of data science in the service of humanity.

1. Objective

Nonprofit organization DataKind, Inc. is requesting proposals from Operations Research Scientists / Data Scientists (individuals or companies) to design and execute a route optimization project for COVID-19 response by the end of October 2020.

Please note: applicants must be authorized to work in the United States of America.

2. Context 

DataKind is a global nonprofit dedicated to harnessing the power of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) in the service of humanity. Named one of Fast Company’s 2017 top 10 innovative nonprofits, DataKind teams talented pro bono experts from academia and industry with visionary changemakers to collaboratively design innovative solutions to tough social challenges. We help social organizations apply their data to predictive analytics, machine learning algorithms, and AI needs in a way that both increases impact and prioritizes ethics.

See below for more information about our work and community. 

3. Project Description

DataKind will be joining forces with Riders for Health, an international nonprofit organization that has been a key health service delivery partner to Ministries of Health in five African countries for over 30 years. While Riders for Health has developed a unique system by expertly selecting appropriate vehicles and by training couriers to handle samples, optimizing logistics in such low-resource settings is made very difficult by long distances over difficult terrain, vehicle capacity restrictions, fuel availability, poor connectivity and data systems, and more. Manual scheduling systems that try to take all of these factors and more into account are often inefficient and result in the hardest-to-reach communities being underserved. 

The purpose of the partnership will be to produce an open-source, open-access route optimization tool to maximize the coverage and efficiency of Riders for Health’s frontline health service delivery for COVID-19 response and safeguard the remote communities from being underserved. This project will build on the work done in a previous DataKind project, and the route optimization tool will ultimately help Riders for Health and other organizations facing similar challenges in frontline service delivery.

DataKind is looking for an Operations Research Scientist / Data Scientist with expertise in optimization and routing to scope and execute this high-impact project by the end of October 2020. 

Responsibilities include: 

  • Get your hands dirty by reviewing and learning from the previous project and assess existing codebase (Python, C++, OR-Tools, OSM, OSRM) to develop an understanding of its capabilities and limitations
  • Use human centered design principles to define new requirements for our project partner’s deployments
  • Develop a project implementation plan, an audit of partner’s data, and a feasibility and risk assessment of proposed methodology/ies, with specific considerations for engineering scalable solutions
  • Apply your expertise by expanding the functionality of the previous code base to apply to Riders for Health’s specific use case as well as general use cases for capacitated vehicle routing problems more generally
  • This project can be completed exclusively by either you or in conjunction with a small support team of volunteers. If executed with volunteers you will also:
    • Assist in recruitment, interview, and selection process of expert volunteers
    • Lead team of expert volunteers to execute on implementation plan
  • Conduct general project management tasks such as leading day-to-day project operations, ensuring work is progressing as planned, and managing communication project partners
  • Ensure high quality work across the board

3. Proposal

By noon on Sunday, August 17, 2020, interested parties are requested to submit a proposal package to that includes: 

  1. Your resume
  2. A summary of what interests you about this opportunity
  3. General qualifications explaining your work and previous related experience that makes you an excellent candidate’ for this position
    • If you have experience working internationally, please describe that
  4. A skills matrix of your expertise in using Google OR Tools, Python, C++, geospatial analysis, and related tools (geopandas, shapely, QGIS, postgis, etc.)
  5. Based on public details available about DataKind’s previous project and its current partner, a description of the approach you might take to scope, design, and execute the project, including key milestones and estimated timeline
  6. An estimated range of hours and rate per hour, or alternatively a specific fee for service
  7. Two references of past clients, ideally for similar work, with contacts and context 

Please consider whether you have a nonprofit rate to offer, given DataKind’s 501(c)(3), tax exempt status. We particularly encourage women and people of color to apply.  

4. Selection

Strong proposals will be contacted for further discussion. These will be selected based on clarity of the proposed project plan/structure, alignment with DataKind’s goals and budget, and relevance of qualifications and past experience. 

To apply for this job email your details to