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Sr. Researcher on Artificial Intelligence - Team Lead (P3 -Macau Based)

United Nations University


Posted over 30 days ago...

Join the United Nations University in Macau as a Senior Researcher and contribute to global policy-relevant research at the intersection of digital technology and sustainable development.


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No salary declared 😔

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Estrada do Enginheiro Trigo

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In-person- Macao

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Expires at anytime

Organisation summary

The United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank committed to providing impactful research and knowledge to tackle the world's most pressing issues, aligned with the UN's principles. With a network of researchers across 12 countries, the UNU influences policy across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, the UNU Institute in Macau specializes in digital technology's role in sustainable development and seeks to foster innovation and evidence-based policy for the UN 2030 Agenda. Located in the vibrant Macau SAR, within the Greater Bay Area, the Institute benefits from a dynamic tech ecosystem and strategic partnerships.

Role Summary

  • Develop and lead research programs in line with the Institute's strategic vision.
  • Manage and mentor a multidisciplinary team of researchers.
  • Secure funding and establish key partnerships for research initiatives.
  • Uphold high ethical standards and produce quality research outputs.
  • Present findings at international venues and contribute to academic discourse.
  • Lead educational activities and participate actively in Institute events.

Role Requirements

  • PhD in a relevant field such as computer science, artificial intelligence, or public policy.
  • Minimum of five years' post-doctoral work experience, including team management.
  • Demonstrated success in academic publishing and securing research grants.
  • Commitment to the UN's mission and the SDGs.
  • Fluency in English; knowledge of another UN language is an asset.
  • Willingness to reside full-time in Macau.

Application Process Details

  • Submit CV, completed UNU P11 Form, motivation statement, and answer tailored questions via the provided apply link.
  • Application deadline: 31 March 2024 (11:59pm, Macau time zone GMT +8).

About UN 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 UNU Institute in Macau (UNU Macau)

UNU Institute in Macau (UNU Macau) is one of 13 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. UNU Macau is a research institute at the intersections of digital technology and sustainable development. The Institute conducts policy-relevant research and generates solutions, addressing pressing challenges expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through high-impact innovations and the latest technologies. Through its research, the UNU Institute in Macau encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

One of the Institute’s missions is to nurture the next generation of interdisciplinary computing, information and social scientists, and engineers to be leaders in the field of ICT for development. To this end, the institute seeks to build a team of experts to help deliver the institute’s mission and work plan. The Institute’s research tends to be more applied, and strives for policy impact in the UN system, at international, regional and national levels.

The UNU Institute in Macau is situated in the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, and it is the only UN entity in the city. Macau is one of the most dynamic regions in Asia, where technological innovations have become an integral part in driving social and economic change. Macau is part of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), that hosts many private sector companies and technological giants that are just a short distance away. Its proximity to China, Hong Kong SAR and other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, provides an exciting opportunity for researchers and experts to maximize the impact of their work.


The UNU Institute in Macau’s research team consists of a dynamic and highly professional group of multi-disciplinary researchers from across the world. The research team works collaboratively to seek big-sized research grants and conduct research projects together for policy impact. The team also collaborates on training and education programmes. The Institute has recently developed its Strategic Plan (2021-2025), where systems thinking, and participatory approaches are the two major pillars of the research portfolio (see for details). Senior Researchers (Team Lead) are expected to work with the Institute’s Head of Research and the Director to drive these two pillars and thereby help the Institute reach the vision set out in its Strategic Plan:

Under the guidance and direct supervision of the Head of Research, and the overall guidance of the Director of the Institute, successful candidates will be entrusted with the following tasks:

1. Lead research focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Develop research programmes aligned to their expertise with their team, and carry out research relevant to the vision and strategy of UNU-Macau at an international level;
  • Manage a team of inter-disciplinary researchers while overseeing multiple projects carried out within the team;
  • Oversee the budget and finance of projects delivered by the researcher’s team;
  • Manage, mentor and coach junior researchers and student researchers/interns, when applicable;
  • Demonstrate professionalism, flexibility, and ability to work with realistic deadlines, creative thinking, results driven, foreseeing risks and allowing for contingencies when planning.

2. Partnerships and Resource Mobilization focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Lead the development of resource mobilization strategies for policy-relevant topics in the assigned portfolio; implement the resource mobilization strategies on behalf of the Institute and with the multidisciplinary team;
  • Establish and maintain partnerships with government, UN entities, private sector, NGOs and other key, stakeholders and donors to collaborate actively, and achieve fundraising results;
  • Oversee MoU signing with partners, and negotiate deliverables and grant funding with donors;
  • Establish reporting accountability framework to ensure that donors are duly informed on a timely basis. Plan financial and human resources needed for grant projects;
  • Execute grant and project funds with full compliance to donor agreements; and
  • Engage policy consumers from research conceptualization and collaborate closely along the way.

3. Exercise the highest professional and ethical standards when conducting research, and ensure high quality research outputs are delivered focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Ensure that all relevant research projects undertaken in her/his team have met requirement of the Ethical Review Board (ERB)’s reviews before data collection;
  • Monitor and evaluate research activities, including supervising project leaders in drafting and submitting periodic reports;
  • Prepare presentations and reports on programme activities for various audiences;
  • Publish in high quality academic journals;
  • Create diverse written products related to the research projects or areas of expertise, such as academic papers in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals, blogs, op-eds, policy briefs, and UN reports; and
  • Collaborate with the Communications team on outputs for social media and platforms.

4. Communicate research accomplishments at academic conferences, and especially high-impact international venues (e.g. UN conferences) focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Explore and suggest academic conferences and events to present research results; participate if approved;
  • Contribute to the Institute’s publication/social media platforms to release academic achievements, such as to supply blog posts, journal articles, tweets, etc.

5. Lead and oversee training or educational activities in the research areas of their team; participate in Institute events focusing on the achievement of the following results:

  • Ensure capacity development of UNU personnel in the application of research, fundraising and reporting tools and practices;
  • Execute teaching and training responsibilities on behalf of UNU Macau; and
  • Be an active participant in organizing the Institute events and conferences.

6. Perform other tasks as assigned by the Head of Research and/or Director.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Timely and quality implementation of the Institute’s strategy, research programmes, projects and workplans
  • Timely and quality delivery on operational goals
  • Timely and quality delivery of inputs to curated fundraising opportunities
  • Timely and quality research publications
  • Quality and level of engagement with partners, related networks and working groups
  • UNU Macau is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society
  • Performance of research team personnel; produces quality knowledge products.



  • 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

Education and certifications:

Doctoral degree (PhD) in computer science, artificial intelligence, computational social science, human-computer interaction, data science, digital technology and ethics, public policy or a related field is required.

We are looking for a researcher working on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The selected candidate is expected to have a multi-disciplinary perspective on Artificial Intelligence, expertise in utilizing AI tools and techniques, and a focus on research application to meet diverse global challenges and policy-relevant issues.

Areas of expertise may includes but are not limited to:

  • Impacts of AI on the SDGs;
  • AI and sustainability;
  • AI for Good;
  • Agent-based modelling, distributed AI or social simulation;
  • Multicultural, cross-cultural, or cross-national aspects of AI;
  • AI governance and regulation;
  • AI and International Relations;
  • Ethics of AI and public policy, regulatory frameworks and guidelines; ethics operationalization and contextualization;
  • AI and data ethics: algorithmics biases and discrimination, accountability and transparency, synthetic data;
  • AI as related to peace and security issues;
  • Gender perspectives on AI.

Experience and other requirements:


  • At least FIVE (5) years of work experience post completion of doctoral dissertation;
  • At least FIVE (5) years of full-time, continuous experience in managing successful academic research programs, some of which should include managing teams of three (3) or more staff;
  • A track record of excellent academic publications and/or policy briefs commensurate with the stage of the researcher’s career;
  • Experience managing research operations including human resources, finance and budgeting of research teams;
  • Strong people management skills and experience in supervision and mentoring;
  • Good team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity;
  • Passion for the mission of the United Nations and enthusiasm to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs;
  • This position is Macau-based. Selected candidates are required to reside full-time in Macau. This is NOT a remote position.


  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders including public, private, non-profit and intergovernmental organizations;
  • Experience in managing a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Experience working with United Nations system ;
  • Knowledge of an official UN languages other than English.

Language requirements:

  • Strong communication and presentation skills, along with excellent drafting skills, and fluency in English
  • Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset


UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy. For more information please see:

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment, with full-time residence in Macau. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance. 

For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

Expected 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;
  • provide a curriculum vitae (including publications and grant-funding); please upload it in the screening questions section.
  • 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.

Application Deadline:

31 March 2024 (11:59pm, Macau time zone GMT +8)

** Application page no longer operational beyond application deadline.


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.

Scam Warning

UNU does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.


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