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Senior Ethics Specialist - Global Health Ethics

Geneva (Switzerland)


The Global Health Ethics (GHE) Team coordinates the WHO's work on bioethics, public health and research ethics. It houses the secretariat of the WHO Research Ethics Review Committee (ERC), the Secretariat of the Global Summit of National Bioethics Advisory Bodies and the Secretariat of the Public Health Ethics Consultative Group. The team develops and manages a database of WHO approved clinical research. The work of the Team aims to advance public health through development and application of global ethical frameworks; to strengthen national and international capacity in addressing and ensuring ethics of health care, public health and biomedical science. The emphasis is on supporting national authorities in countries where activities are occurring, as in-country authorities have prime responsibility and oversight for eg research ongoing in their countries.


1) Manage the global health ethics work of WHO so that programmes at all three levels of the Organization apply highest ethical standards in their work.


2) Support Member States in ethics oversight for clinical research occurring in their countries, with a focus on supporting the needs of low and middle income countries in particular. This includes developing consensus on global normative standards for research ethics committees, including criteria for reliance/deferral between ethics committees, ensuring primacy of functional in-country ethics oversight.


3) Develop authoritative advice and provide this to Member States and WHO Programmes on bioethics, public health ethics and research ethics.


4) Supervise the secretariat of the Ethics Review Committee.


5) Provide overall guidance to the Secretary of the Public Health Ethics Consultative Group which is a resource in WHO for programmes and units to consult on ethical issues related to the design and implementation of WHO projects.


6) Coordinate the secretariat of the Global Summit of National Ethics Committees.


7) Represent WHO in its work on global health ethics with other international organizations in the UN system.


8) Develop and maintain an active network of centres of excellence working in the area of research ethics and bioethics.


9) Participate in fundraising activities for the unit and department.


10) Support the objectives of the REK (Research, Ethics and Knowledge Management) unit, IER (Information, Evidence and Research) department and HIS (Health Systems and Innovation) cluster, including engaging as a member of REK unit.


11) Perform all other related duties as assigned.



Essential\: Advanced university degree in medicine or public health with a specialization in medical ethics or bioethics OR advanced degree in bioethics.


Essential\: At least 10 years' experience at the national and international level in research ethics or bioethics or public health ethics. At least 5 years' experience linking ethics with the public health policy perspective.
Desirable\: Experience engaging with the UN and other international entities with an ethics mandate on issues in the area of ethics. Experience linking legal and ethics perspectives in policy work. Track record in fundraising to support ethics activities. Experience living and working in developing countries.


Excellent knowledge of public health and bioethics; excellent knowledge on research development that may have an impact on population health and have a bioethical dimension; excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills; proven track record of working in culturally diverse contexts preferably within UN system; proven track record of having facilitated consensus in complex public health topics including input from all WHO regions.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
Ensuring the effective use of resources
Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

Essential\: Expert knowledge of English.
Desirable\: Intermediate knowledge of French. Intermediate knowledge of Spanish.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 84,721 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 6022 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link\: http\:// Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link\: http\:// Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Social Affairs
    • Ombudsman and Ethics
  • Closing Date: 2017-12-01

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