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Associate Academic Officer – Interconnected Disaster Risk (PSA-6)

United Nations University


Posted over 30 days ago...

Join the United Nations University's mission to foster a sustainable and secure future through impactful research.


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No salary declared 😔

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Platz der Vereinten Nationen 1

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In-person- Berlin Germany

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Expires at anytime

The United Nations University (UNU) is at the forefront of critical global research, addressing the United Nations' key concerns and aiding in sustainable development and human security. With a history spanning over four decades and a vast network of experts and partnerships, UNU embodies a hub of innovation and knowledge across the Sustainable Development Goals. The Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) contributes significantly to this mission by focusing on environmental hazards and climate change.

Role Summary:

  • Lead and conduct in-depth research for the Interconnected Disaster Risk Report.
  • Author and review sections of the report, ensuring clarity and accessibility for a wide audience.
  • Develop innovative communication products, including infographics and other visual materials.
  • Engage in outreach and science communication, serving as a spokesperson for the report.
  • Collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to further the project and institute's goals.

Role Requirements:

  • A PhD in a relevant field such as Geography, Sustainability Science, or Environmental Sciences.
  • At least 1 year of research experience, preferably in an international context.
  • Expertise in systemic risk, disaster risk reduction, or climate change adaptation.
  • Excellent communication and writing skills for various audiences.
  • Ability to meet strict deadlines and work in a multicultural environment.
  • Proficient in English; proficiency in another UN language is a plus.

Application Process Details:

  • Submit the UNU P11 Form along with a motivation statement, cover letter, and a sample scientific publication.
  • Complete the application without the need for an account through the provided link.
  • The deadline for applications is April 2, 2024.

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.

United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS):

The UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. It contributes to the overall mandate of UNU, and the UN, by advancing human security and well-being through reducing current and future risks from environmental hazards and climate change. UNU-EHS’s research is clustered in two main areas: “Risk and Adaptation” and “Transformation”. “Risk and Adaptation” focuses on understanding and addressing interconnected risks and the adverse impacts of climate change in science and policy based on a variety of different, yet complementary work streams. “Transformation” creates positive visions of possible futures and catalyses new coalitions and actions for a sustainable and climate resilient world, human well-being, sustainability and equity. Along with its research mandate, UNU-EHS actively engages in education and capacity building, for example by offering a joint Master of Science degree programme “Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” with the University of Bonn, and by hosting a number of international PhD projects and capacity development courses on global issues of environmental risks and sustainable development.

Interconnected Disaster Risk report:

Interconnected Disaster Risks is an annual science-based report designed to be accessible for the general public. It is published by the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security, and was first released in 2021. The idea for the report was developed based on the recognition that disasters are occurring at an ever-faster rate and, despite progress being made in how we prepare and respond to them, we are continuously being caught out by new extremes and new emerging threats. The report is based on thorough scientific analysis and includes technical background reports for each of the cases. For more information, please visit


Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS and the direct supervision of the Deputy Director of UNU-EHS, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

1. Lead parts of the research for the Interconnected Disaster Risk (IDR) Report

Together with the author team,

  • research the annually changing theme of the report in the realm of interconnected disasters risks;
  • analyze impacts, root causes, and drivers of interconnected disasters risks;
  • identify and develop possible innovative interventions and ways of systemic change in the context of changing risks;
  • document research results and identify patterns across different cases;
  • engage with the science divisions of the institute and coordinate or support exchange processes;
  • liaise with the focal points of the scientific divisions as necessary;

2. Assume responsibility for drafting and finalizing parts of the report, review the report as a whole

  • write a subset of the technical background papers as first author;
  • contribute to other technical background papers as reviewer or co-author;
  • significantly contribute to the writing of the main report as one of the authors in an easily understandable, reader friendly language;
  • ensure timely finalization of the technical reports and the main report by delivering high quality inputs on time;
  • respond to editorial comments, revise the documents as needed.

3. Contribute to the visualization and the development of communication products

  • provide detailed inputs to the visualization of concepts, such as infographics and tables and figures;
  • support the development of communication materials related to the body of academic work by providing input, fact checking and liaising closely with the UNU-EHS communication section.

4. Contribute to Outreach and Science Communication

  • serve as one of the spokespersons for the Interconnected Disaster Risk report for general audience news media (e.g. newspapers, broadcast interviews);
  • participate in media training.

5. Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor

Key Performance Indicators

  • Timely and quality research of the report´s annually changing topic;
  • Timely and quality delivery of technical reports, parts of the main report and inputs for the communication products;
  • High quality engagement with project team and internal and external stakeholders;
  • Contribution to project, institute and UNU mission.



  • 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

Completed PhD degree with high academic standing in Geography, Sustainability Science, Anthropology, Behavioral Science, Environmental Sciences, or other relevant discipline

2) Required skills and experience

  • At least 1 year of progressively responsible experience in research, some of which preferably in an international setting is required;
  • Proven, strong scientific track record in the field of systemic, interconnected risk or disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation is required;
  • Strong methodological skillset for quantitative or qualitative empirical research is required;
  • Creativity and out of box thinking required;
  • Proven excellent communication and writing skills for both academic and non-academic texts are required;
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize complex information, and to translate into impactful communications and publications/reports/presentations is required;
  • Proven experience in delivering products by adhering to strict deadlines is required;
  • Strong interpersonal skills to work in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity is required;
  • Experience in coordination of small teams is an asset;
  • Demonstrated experience in working as a member of a science and communication project team, high awareness of the various needs of different target audiences is an asset;
  • Experience with media interviews is an asset.

3) Language Requirements:

  • Excellent spoken and written English is required;
  • Fluency in another UN official working language is an asset.


The successful candidate will be employed under a national PSA
contract. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an
annual net salary, 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.

This post is open to applicants from all countries and UNU will aid the successful applicant in securing a work visa for Germany, as necessary. It is, however, a locally recruited post and no relocation allowances apply. The duty station will be Bonn, Germany.

Starting date: As soon as possible 

How to Apply

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

  • 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);
  • provide a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  • provide a sample scientific publication;
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position; and

    You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

  • apply via the apply link.

Application Deadline: 2 April 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.

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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