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Research Fellow, Operating Unit Ishikawa Kanazawa (PSA)

United Nations University


Posted 2 weeks ago

Join the UN's mission to foster a sustainable world as a Research Associate at UNU-IAS OUIK in Japan.


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No salary declared 😔

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Kanazawa, JP

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Expires at anytime

United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) is looking for a Research Associate to contribute to its vital research on sustainability and biocultural diversity. Located in Tokyo, UNU-IAS is a respected member of the UNU system, promoting knowledge across sustainability's social, economic, and environmental dimensions. The institute collaborates globally to address urgent global issues in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Lead groundbreaking research on urban sustainability and biocultural diversity.
  • Disseminate research findings and impact policy through strategic outreach.
  • Enhance UNU-IAS's postgraduate education and capacity development programs.
  • Contribute to institutional development and UN System synergies.
  • PhD in relevant fields such as biodiversity, environmental studies, or public policy.
  • Minimum three years of experience in research program management.
  • Fluency in English and Japanese, with strong academic publication records.

To apply, submit your application via the provided link, complete the UNU P11 Form, and provide a motivation statement. The application deadline is June 16, 2024. UNU fosters an inclusive work environment and encourages diverse candidates, including those from developing countries and women, to apply.

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 develop 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. For more information, please visit

The United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies Operating Unit Ishikawa/Kanazawa (OUIK) was established in April 2008 with strong support by local governments of Ishikawa Prefecture and Kanazawa City in Japan. OUIK has provided local and regional input into UNU’s sustainable development and international cooperation efforts in collaboration with other organizations, including UN agencies, academic institutes and local partners by implementing research on sustainable utilization of biodiversity and ecosystem services. OUIK also aims at developing communication and networks with local stakeholders through public outreach and capacity building while sharing information about international trends. UNU-IAS OUIK is seeking a Research Associate who will engage in the coordination of research activities and policy development with local and international stakeholders involved in sustainable tourism and biocultural diversity.


Under the overall supervision of the UNU-IAS Director and direct guidance and supervision of the Director of UNU-IAS OUIK, and in close collaboration with the UNU-IAS staff, the Research Associate shall be responsible for the following duties:

1. Conduct and Lead Research on Urban Sustainability and Biocultural Diversity in Kanazawa City:

  • Collaboratewith local, national, and international partners to conduct innovativeresearch on urban sustainability and biocultural diversity.
  • Lead and manage the SustainableUrban Nature Project, overseeing all aspects from project planning toimplementation and dissemination.
  • Conduct comprehensive biodiversitysurveys in urban areas to assess and document species diversity andecological patterns.
  • Investigate carbon sequestrationmethods and strategies to understand and mitigate the impact of carbonemissions in urban environments.
  • Research the conservation andrestoration of green infrastructure, including the transformation ofabandoned grey infrastructure to promote the integration of naturalelements in urban landscapes.
  • Establish and lead a dynamicresearch group and green community platform to facilitate collaboration,knowledge exchange, and engagement with diverse stakeholders.
  • Conduct a community-drivenParticipatory Action Research (PAR) in Kanazawa City to empower citizensand promote wellbeing.

2. Disseminate Research Findings and Provide Policy Recommendations;

  • Engage in outreach activities through various media channels, events, and community programs to raise awareness about urban biodiversity conservation and monitoring.
  • Contribute to the implementation of Kanazawa's biodiversity strategy and promote urban biological diversity conservation and restoration through participatory action research initiatives.
  • Support the Imagine Kanazawa SDGs project and Kanazawa SDGs Future City initiative, leveraging the city's environmental resources and cultural heritage to develop sustainable tourism initiatives.
  • Support Kanazawa city on Generation Restoration Urban Nature Restoration Role Model City Porject to contribute to its initiatives to restore and conserve the urban nature of Kanazawa City.
  • Disseminate research outcomes through presentations at local, national, and international conferences, publication in peer-reviewed academic journals, and collaboration with the IAS Communication team to reach diverse audiences.

3. Contribute to UNU-IAS Postgraduate Degrees and Capacity Development Programme;

  • Support the delivery of IAS Postgraduate Degrees by providing lectures, supervising, and coordinating student assistantships.
  • Supervise and mentor M.Sc. and Ph.D. students, providing guidance on research projects and academic development.
  • Serve as a member of the IAS Research Ethics Committee and contribute to ensuring ethical standards in research activities.
  • Screen and assess applications for M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs in the field of biodiversity and sustainable development.
  • Support the advancement of the Institute’s capacity development programmes such as Global Seminar and PDT training courses.

4. Contribute to the Institutional Development

  • Support the Director of UNU-IAS OUIK and the Director of UNU-IAS with the shaping and implementation of the Institute’s strategic and implementation plans, especially in relation to biodiversity and climate change related project.
  • Actively contribute to an inclusive and diverse international work environment.

5. Contribute to strengthening synergies between UN System and beyond;

  • Forge connections between local research initiatives and the global sustainable agenda, including Climate Action, Biological Diversity, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Engage with UN bodies, UNU institutes, and academic institutions worldwide to foster collaboration and conduct joint research on topics related to well-being in a sustainable world.
  • Collaborate with external organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governmental agencies, and industry partners, to synergize the significance of research findings and promote impactful actions towards sustainable urban development and biodiversity conservation.

6. Perform other duties as may be assigned:

Key Performance Indicators
• Quality of scientific and policy-oriented research produced.
• Timely and quality development and implementation of OUIK projects.
• Quality and level of communication with partners related to the project operation.



  • 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 relevant fields of biodiversity, landscape management, landscape architecture, environmental studies, or public policy.

2) Required skills and experience

  • At least three (3) years ofprogressively responsible work experience including managing researchprogrammes in academia, research, or related institutions.

  • Experience in supervisory functionsin an international setting would be highly advantageous.

  • Familiarity with and experience incurrent issues on SEPLS, Satoyama and Satoumi, urban sustainability,ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation.

  • Participation in internationalacademic society(ies), or involvement in international research project(s)is desirable.

  • A proven track record of academicand policy publications.

  • A good team player with stronginter-personal skills, demonstrated by the ability to work in amulti-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect fordiversity.

  • Strong planning, organization, and time management skills, with the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently.

3) Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in both English and Japanese, with strong writing and communication skills in both languages, is required.
  • Knowledge of another UN official 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 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.

Application Deadline

16 June 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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