Collaboration Opportunity: HRMI Pacific Data Lead

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) is a global collaborative project that tracks the human rights performance of countries.


We are looking for an academic collaborator to lead a workstream of human rights measurement specific to the Pacific region. Currently our main Pacific-specific product is the Pacific Module of our survey, and you can read about how it came about here.

About the Role

The HRMI Pacific Data Lead will be responsible for working with the Pacific human rights community to:

  • Further develop the Pacific Module, and
  • Ensure all HRMI’s work is as valuable as possible to Pacific countries and territories.

The HRMI Pacific Data Lead will most likely be an academic based at a university or other research institution. They will likely be from a Pacific country, but could be based anywhere in the world.

The role can be as small or large as the Pacific Data Lead chooses, from 5-10 days per year of regional consultation and survey design, to a day or more per week.

The HRMI team plans to apply for dedicated funding to support work on the Pacific Module. If you have any interest in this role please let us know as soon as possible, as funding may be more likely to be approved if the potential Pacific Data Lead is known.

Background information about the work

Each year HRMI runs a human rights survey in countries around the world, including 23 Pacific nations and territories.

Following a co-design workshop in August 2019, human rights workers from around the region, together with HRMI team members, designed an initial ‘Pacific Module’ to add on to the main survey, with a set of questions to be answered only by people in the Pacific.

The 2020 Pacific Module can be viewed by visiting this preview of the 2020 survey.  To view the Pacific Module:

  • Make sure you select one of the Pacific countries (note: this does not include South Korea or Vietnam). The Pacific Module will be the first set of human rights questions you come to.
  • Note that this is just a preview of the survey. It is not live, and any responses you enter will not be collected.
  • If you want to scroll through the survey without having to answer all questions, you can select ‘ignore validation’ from the settings menu at the top (click on the wheel icon). Some parts of the survey are conditional on earlier answers, so by doing this you may not receive the full set of questions.

The 2020 Pacific Module was developed very quickly as a trial module, based on human rights issues of concern raised by Pacific participants at the HRMI co-design workshop in Auckland in August 2019.

The HRMI Pacific Data Lead will be responsible for further developing the Pacific Module to satisfy the data needs of the human rights community around the Pacific. While the time commitment is flexible, there are some deadlines for this work. Most importantly, if there is demand for a revised Pacific Module to be incorporated into the HRMI 2021 survey, then the Pacific Lead would need make any required changes to the Module, in consultation with Pacific communities, by mid-September 2020.

This role could form the core of an academic’s main research, leading to publications and other outputs.

Key Skills Needed

The Pacific Data Lead will likely be a high achiever, with a strong academic background. It is expected that the Pacific Data Lead will co-author one or more peer-reviewed journal articles on the research.

Specific skills will include:

  • Knowledge of human rights challenges in the Pacific.
  • Sufficient quantitative skills to design and oversee a robust set of survey questions, and analyse and publish the data produced.
  • The ability to build strong relational links throughout the Pacific, including with civil society, indigenous leaders, journalists and lawyers.
  • Strong written and interpersonal English-language communication skills.
  • The ability to build a team of research and other assistants as the project grows.

The rest of the HRMI team will be available to collaborate and provide support.

Languages: While English is the working language of HRMI, knowledge of other languages in the Pacific would be an advantage.

To apply

If you would like to express interest in this role, please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter addressing your strengths in relation to the position. This position will remain open until filled. We encourage early applications.

Other background information about HRMI

HRMI is an independent, non-profit, global collaboration of academics and practitioners working to produce comprehensive, free, easy-to-access metrics tracking the human rights performance of countries around the world.

We are working to improve the lives of people, by bringing more transparency to the performance of states and inspiring more ethical behaviour.

HRMI is hosted by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, based in Wellington. A not-for-profit and charitable trust, Motu is in both the top ten economic think tanks and top ten climate think tanks in the world.

HRMI’s guiding values shape our work to be: collaborative, useful, rigorously innovative, transparent and independent.

We work in a non-hierarchical way. Leads are responsible for their workstream, and free to move them forward at their own pace, with support from the wider HRMI team. As a global and non-hierarchical team, we prioritise the need to communicate clearly and warmly with one another, with frequent video calls and emails.

HRMI is headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, with another base of operations at the University of Georgia, USA. We are used to being a globally distributed team.

The working language among the team is English.

HRMI is doing exciting, cutting-edge work to improve people’s lives. We would love to welcome a new team member! Email Thalia Kehoe Rowden to start a conversation: thalia.kehoerowden [at]

Further background reading:

HRMI research credentials

Exploring new workstreams

Pacific Specific: a new human rights module

‘By the Pacific, For the Pacific, With the Pacific’: reporting on our first Pacific co-design workshop