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Deputy Director (P-5)

Bonn (Germany)

  • Organization: UNU - United Nations University
  • Location: Bonn (Germany)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-28

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United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations and for the last four decades has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 SDGs, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research.

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

UNU-EHS, established in December 2003, is part of the UNU system, a worldwide network of Research and Training Institutes. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit

Deputy Director

UNU-EHS is looking for an outstanding individual with strong commitment and policy relevant research to act as Deputy-Director of the institute primarily responsible for managing and expanding its research programme while working closely with the Institute Director.

The ideal candidate is a mid- to late-career academic in the field of environmental studies, geography, agriculture, sustainability studies, or related fields.


Reporting directly to the Institute Director, the Deputy-Director will be responsible for the management and further development of innovative programming areas for UNU-EHS. The Deputy-Director will play a central role in shaping the strategic direction of the institute, deepening relations with donors, and positioning UNU-EHS amongst the broader UN community.

More specifically the Deputy-Director will:

  • oversee the design and implementation of the current research programme of the institute, as well as identify innovative topics to further enhance the institute’s research programmes, supervise the monitoring and budgetary control of programme activities, and lead efforts on reporting on programme performance
  • design, undertake, and coordinate research in one or more areas of the institute’s research programme, including publishing in international academic journals
  • provide guidance to Heads of Sections and Programmes on strategic programme development and project-based fundraising; ensure the quality of project outputs and adherence to internal policies and guidelines, and supervise Heads of Sections and Programmes on project implementation to achieve on-time and on-budget delivery
  • facilitate knowledge-sharing across the sections and programmes to build capacity and promote the adoption of best practices in the areas of research, fundraising and stakeholder engagement
  • promote diversity, inclusivity, gender equality, and gender mainstreaming throughout the institute’s work and research programmes
  • share with the Director responsibility for overall management of the institute including:
    a) formulating and implementing the institute’s strategy
    b) budgeting, financial planning, and implementation
    c) human resource management
    d) management and development of academic sections and programmes
  • support the Director in donor relations including fund-raising activities for the institute’s programmes; preparation of proposals; and engagement with donors and other stakeholders
  • work with the Director in the implementation of the institutes Master’s course including contributing to teaching and supervision. Supervise PhD candidates as required
  • contribute to dissemination of the institute’s research results
  • act as officer-in-charge when appointed by the Director
  • assist the institute Director and UNU Vice-Rector in Europe as needed
  • perform any other tasks as may be assigned by the Director

Required qualifications and competencies

Required qualifications and competencies include:

  • a doctoral qualification in a relevant scientific or social academic discipline, such as environmental studies, geography, agriculture, sociology, or sustainability studies
  • at least ten (10) years of progressively relevant work experience, including the management of research and training programmes
  • a strong research background and a proven track record of high-quality academic and policy publications in areas related to addressing risks and societal change
  • good knowledge of the international research and policy agenda in areas related to the Institute’s research programme
  • considerable research supervision and teaching experience
  • demonstrated experience of administration (including finance and human resources management)
  • successful influencing of policy forums, and strong contributions to knowledge sharing communities
  • strong international fundraising skills and past success in securing support from multiple funders
  • proven sensitivity to gender factors (in administration and in research)
  • demonstrated strong leadership skills allied to inclusive management
  • the ability to interact with colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds in both industrialised and developing countries
  • excellent drafting and communication skills, including with diverse stakeholders (such as donors, academics, students from a range of countries and cultures)
  • proven commitment to human development and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda supporting sustainable development
  • fluency in English is required; fluency in German and/or official languages of the United Nations is desirable

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.

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.


We offer competitive net salary (tax-exempted) at P-5 level commensurate to the level of experience and allowances including post adjustment. Post adjustment is subject to change.

The post carries the standard set of United Nations benefits and entitlements for international positions in the UN Common System, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant for eligible children, removal expenses and home leave.

For more information about United Nations salary and entitlement/benefits, please visit;

UNU Rector reserves the right to appoint a suitable candidate at a lower level than advertised.

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment and an internationally recruited post. The initial appointment will be for a period of one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a rolling fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of fixed-term appointments shall not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years old.

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the authority of the Rector and may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University.

Starting date

As soon as possible.

Interested applicants should submit their applications by e-mail to (, and must include the following:

  • a cover letter setting out (1) the motivations for applying for the post and (2) how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
  • full curriculum vitae (with publications list)
  • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
  • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2020/UNU/EHS/FTA/DD/159565)

Vacancy Announcement: UNU-EHS Deputy Director (218.9 KB PDF)

By email:

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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