Homebased Opportunity Alert! UN Futures Lab is recruiting a Programme Management Senior Officer (Foresight Officer): Apply!!

UN Futures Lab

Strategic foresight is part of a broader effort to transform and modernize the United Nations (UN); along with data, innovation, behavioural science, and digital transformation, strategic foresight is part of the UN 2.0 reform effort that focuses – not on structure – but on the people, resources, platforms, and culture of the institution. While different initiatives, networks, and products on futures thinking and strategic foresight exist in individual UN entities or fora, a coherent approach is needed to how we build foresight capabilities across, and within, UN family entities.

The UN Futures Lab Network supports the nurturing of capabilities at global, regional, country levels, within each UN entity and across the UN family, as well as in the international community and Member State institutions. The UN Futures Lab Network works with governments, academia, civil society, private sector, philanthropic and other actors. ​

The incumbent of this position will be personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Functional Responsibilities

Purpose and Scope of Assignment

To achieve its goals, the UN Futures Lab is recruiting a Programme Management Senior Officer (Foresight Officer). The role contributes to catalyzing transformation in the UN. It will do so by strengthening anticipatory capacities, supporting the understanding of emerging issues as well as their impacts on the UN’s mandates and priorities, collaborating closely with a diversity of internal and external partners. The incumbent will identify and apply foresight methodologies, tools, and processes to tackle challenges across the UN Family, connecting human rights, peace and security and development.

The incumbent will be supporting the developing the new foresight workstream including, but not limited to, the provision of substantive and technical expertise by identifying and implementing concepts, services, and processes. The incumbent will actively contribute to building a standing strategic foresight capacity and developing an experiment pipeline. S(he) will also ensure continuous alignment with the strategic priorities of the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General (EOSG), including on development of the foresight elements of the UN Global Risk Report. The position will also play a key role in supporting implementation of a pilot project to integrate foresight tools into planning processes at the country level through the UN Resident Coordinator Offices.

The role will collaborate with people within and outside of the UN Family. It will elicit research questions from a diversity of stakeholders and will plan and execute sensing and scanning activities. Using diverse data sets and working with a wide range of people and organizations, the role will identify trends and patterns within which it will be able to develop insights and products supporting decision-making.

The incumbent will need to drive cross-disciplinary approaches with, inter alia, data and behavioural scientists, and service design and policy experts. It will bridge forecasting and foresight, and quantitative and qualitative methods in a complementary manner, and provide guidelines and policy inputs that promote and incorporate ethical and safe practices.

The position is home based and may require international travel and field missions, as conditions allow.

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The incumbent will work under the supervision of the Programme Management Advisor (Deputy Head) of the Global Hub and will be responsible for the following duties:

  1. Team Coordination and Strategic Alignment
  2. Strategic Development and Research
  3. Knowledge Creation, Capacity Building and Reporting
  4. Communication and Partnerships

1. Team Coordination and Strategic Alignment

  • Coordinate and support the internal team and external contributors, including consultants, ensuring effective collaboration and adherence to project timelines and objectives.
  • Facilitate the strategic development and alignment of the foresight workstream with the overall vision and objectives of the UN Futures Lab Network & EOSG.

2. Strategic Development and Research

  • Assist in the development and management of a strategic foresight experiments portfolio, collaborating with internal and external partners to identify emerging needs and projects.
  • Provide technical expertise in data scanning, analysis, and sensemaking, contributing to the visualization of insights.
  • Support the integration of foresight into programmatic objectives and processes to facilitate organizational transformation.
  • Assist in the adaptation of tools and processes to specific contexts, ensuring inclusive, safe, and ethical approaches.
  • Manage budgets and procurement activities in collaboration with administrative staff.
  • Contribute to the development of foresight product roadmaps to facilitate sustainable adoption and continuous improvement.
  • Stay abreast of latest technologies, trends, developments, and approaches in futures and foresight.

3. Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Building

  • Create foresight capacity development initiatives for internal and external partners, including documenting best practices, developing tools, resources, and training materials.
  • Assist in monitoring and reporting tasks, contributing to the development of monitoring and evaluation frameworks and portfolio impact management approaches.

4. Communication and Partnerships

  • Create impactful visualizations, communications and engagements around emerging trends and issues catering for the senior UN decision-makers and agenda setters.
  • Support strategic communications, partnerships, resource mobilization, and expert ecosystem development in the substantive area.
  • Support the UN Futures Lab at events, workshops and conferences as required.
  • Facilitate the planning and execution of co-creation sessions with diverse groups of stakeholders.

3. Monitoring and Progress Controls

The role will report on progress and ensure the agreed outputs in coordination with the UN Futures Lab staff. The incumbent is expected to exercise flexibility and agility, including adapting to working arrangements to deliver outputs online/electronically.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


Education Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) preferably in International

  • Development, International Relations, Computational Social Sciences, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Economics, Interaction Design or another relevant discipline.
  • A first university degree (Bachelor’s degree) and an additional two years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


Required Experience:

  • A minimum of two (2) years of relevant experience is required in any combination of strategic planning/development/consulting and/or project or product management, strategic foresight, innovation, data, development, innovation or design research, digital development or other related fields.
  • A minimum of one (1) year of experience on futures and foresight work in organizational settings is required.
  • A minimum of one (1) year experience developing speculative scenarios, horizon scanning, or trend analysis is required.

Desired Experience: The following experience is optional. Candidates who do not have it are welcome to apply

  • Experience working in diverse country contexts and/or with multilateral organizations is desirable.
  • Proven ability to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders is desirable.
  • Experience in delivering high-quality research and analysis (preferably quantitative and qualitative approaches) and communicating the insights through accessible multimedia formats is desirable.

Language requirement:

  • Fluency in English, French and Spanish (oral and written) is required.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Individual Contractor Agreement (ICA)
Contract level: IICA 1 (ICS 9)
*Contract duration: Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.The contract for this position is set to last until 31 Dec 2024, with termination upon its conclusion. Any need for services beyond this initial period will be communicated to the incumbent accordingly.

How to apply

Click here to Apply

Application Closes on 19 June 2024

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