Apply Now! UNU is hiring a Research Fellow and Academic Associate, Strategic Programme (GEOC) (PSA)

Job description

United Nations University (UNU)

UNU is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals’ full breadth, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

About Office/Institute

UNU-IAS is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. UNU-IAS is a UNU institute based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy-relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions. Through its postgraduate education programmes UNU-IAS develops future international leaders with interdisciplinary understanding and skills needed to advance creative solutions to problems of sustainability. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia.

The Strategic Programme (SP) is a flagship programme implemented by the Strategy and Management Office (SMO) in collaboration with Units of Thematic Programmes of the Institute and UNU-IAS partners under the Strategic Period 2020-2024. The Strategic Programme implements a research project on the Governance for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, focusing on synergies between climate change and sustainable development, budgeting, and monitoring & evaluation system for SDGs.

The SP, in collaboration with other units and partners of the UNU-IAS, is developing and implementing policy-oriented capacity building and educational programmes such as Diploma Programme for Specialisation on the Paris Agreement. The SP also promotes outreach activities on the knowledge of UNU-IAS through the channel of Global Environment Outreach Centre (GEOC). The GEOC was jointly established by the Ministry of Environment of Japan and UNU; its mission is to foster partnership between various stakeholders, such as international agencies, national governments, local governments, companies, nonprofit organizations and citizens, to create a sustainable society. GEOC’s main activities include: (i) international partnership building, (ii) partnership building in Japan, and (iii) information sharing and communication.


Under the general supervision of the UNU-IAS Director and direct supervision of Head of Programme and Administration, the

Consultant will perform the following duties:

1. Design and implement research activities for the UNU-IAS Strategic Programme (SP) focusing on the following areas:

  • Conduct research activities of the SP focusing on climate change and sustainable development that will contribute to transformation of socio-economic systems and governance for sustainable development including monitoring and evaluation systems on SDGs at the international, national and local scales;
  • Monitor the funded research progress and assist in drafting donor reports in a timely manner;
  • Provide substantial support in developing grant proposals and resource mobilisations for research activities; and
  • Identify opportunities and build strategic partnerships and networks in line with UNU-IAS Strategic Plan for expanding research impacts.

2. Contribute to capacity building and educational activities for the UNU-IAS SP focusing on the following areas:

  • Support operationalization of Diploma Programme for Specialisation on the Paris Agreement including development of course design and detailed syllabus of each course;
  • Serve as an institute focal point for implementing the Asia Pacific Mayor’s Academy;
  • Prepare presentation, tools and other materials as necessary for conducting capacity building activities; and
  • Monitor and report progress of capacity building and educational activities.

3. Conduct knowledge management and outreach activities for the SP focusing on the following areas:

  • Develop UNU-IAS policy reports, journal articles and other UNU-IAS and UNU publications, which will contribute to policy needs of donors and UNU partners as well as to international-debate and processes related to advancing sustainable development;
  • Prepare background briefing documents;
  • Co-develop the communication materials related to the research, capacity building and educational activities of the SP liaising closely with the UNU-IAS communication team;
  • Participate in international conferences and events and present the knowledge acquired from the research, capacity building and educational activities of UNU-IAS;
  • Assist in providing talking points for the management of the UNU-IAS; and
  • Assist in preparing meeting summaries for key conferences and events.

4. Assist in development and implementation of UNU-IAS Postgraduate Degree and Training (PDT) Programme focusing on the following areas:

  • Develop detailed curricula of the designated lectures to be provided by SP under UNU-IAS PDT Programme;
  • Provide lectures for the courses provided under UNU-IAS PDT Programme which are relevant to the research, capacity building and educational activities of the SP;
  • Serve as a Principal Academic Advisor for students enrolled in the PDT Programme; and
  • Provide assistance in new students’ selection process including screening and interviews and other support as required.

5. Perform other duties requested by the Head of Programme and Administration.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Quality and quantity of conducted research and prepared academic papers, policy briefs and/or reports related to the assigned research project topics.
  • Smooth implementation of capacity-building activities under the SP, including Asia Pacific Mayor’s Academy and the Specialisation on the Paris Agreement.
  • Quality assistance provided in mobilising funds based on requests from the management of UNU-IAS.
  • Quality and quantity of outreach activities and project outcomes in conferences and events.
  • Contributions provided for preparing talking points for the management of UNU-IAS and meeting summaries of key conferences and events.
  • Quality of delivered lectures and supervision of students.



  • Inclusion – Take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin or any other aspect of identity.
  • Integrity – Act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards.
  • Humility – Demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others.
  • Humanity – Act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.


  • Connect and Collaborate – Build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  • Analyse and Plan – Seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions and plan action
  • Deliver Results with Positive Impact – Hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
  • Learn and Develop – Pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • Adapt and Innovate – Demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


1) Education and certification

  • PhD in Urban Planning, Sustainable Science or other relevant fields

2) Required skills and experience

  • At least 3 years’ experience in climate change and sustainable development research;
  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience in teaching and supervising students in climate change and sustainable development field;
  • Substantive experience and network in implementing capacity building activities for local stakeholders in Asia and Pacific region;
  • Proven record of publications, including academic papers and policy briefs related to climate change and SDGs;
  • Experience in involvement in multidisciplinary research teams or projects; and
  • Experience in reporting, presenting research findings at the UN and other international conferences or symposiums.
  • Work experience in an international organization is an asset.

3) Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required
  • Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset.


The successful candidate will be employed under an national PSA contract. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary of the range of JPY 614,417 – JPY 678,917, commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 30 days annual leave and a health insurance scheme.

UNU is not liable for any taxes that may be levied on the remuneration you receive under this contract. Payment of any such taxes remains the sole responsibility of PSA holders.

Duration of contract

The duration of the initial contract is 1 year. This is Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU, with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration on a PSA contract with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA holders is 65 years.

Starting date

As soon as possible

How to Apply

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  • Apply via the apply link;
  • fill out the UNU P11 Form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form); and
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position.You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

For more opportunities such as this please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, What’s App, TwitterLinkedIn and Telegram

Application Deadline

30 May 2024


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks, and references.

Special Notice

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector’s authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised. UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are also encouraged to apply. UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

If you have supervisory function you need to have awareness on gender related issues.
Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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