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Unit Head (Product Design & Impact)

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Design (digital, product, graphics or visual design)
    • Managerial positions
    • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Closing Date: 2020-09-22

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The QNS Department sits within the Science Division. The overall mission of the Science Division is to harness the power of science and innovation in a systematic way, by ensuring the excellence, relevance and efficiency of WHO's core technical functions, including norms and standards and research. Within this Division, the specific purpose of QNS is to provide support to the Technical Departments in close consultation with Regional Offices,by ensuring norms and standards are produced to a consistently high standard, in a timely way, driven by what Member States need, and designed and delivered to have a real impact on the health of people. Its mandate is structured around three key roles:

1. Ensure that all N&S products meet WHO highest quality standards by providing tailored, state of the art methodological support and guidance.

2. Support project teams developing N&S products by ensuring the utmost efficiency of the N&S process.

3. Secure maximum country impact by helping to develop fit for purpose N&S products.

4. Advance and ensure timely, peer-reviewed, and accessible scientific evidence and information, through the WHO Library and Digital Information Outreach, and the WHO Press.

The Norms & Standards Department is made up of 6 teams: Methods Quality, Process Efficiency, Product Impact, Library and Digital Information, the Office of the Publisher, and Governance and Review Services.Within the QNS Department, the Product Design & Impact team is specifically dedicated to:

1. Monitoring the process efficiency (data collection & analysis - dedicated KPIs to be defined) and propose continuous improvement plans.

2. Supporting Technical Departments, in consultation with regions, for setting outreach, uptake and impact targets of their N&S products via the impact monitoring plan developed in collaboration with Technical teams.

3. Providing support to Technical Departments, in consultation with regions, to develop N&S products to optimize the clarity and relevance of WHO content by managing rosters (e.g.; editors, proof readers, indexers…), coaching on product narratives and impactful formats, designing content & format templates, and ensuring multilingual production through publishing partners.

4. Supporting Technical Departments by helping them develop the most fit for purpose digitized products to support the dissemination of their core N&S product.


- Provides technical leadership and managerial support within the Department/Programme, in the Unit of Product Design & Impact, ensuring that activities in this area are carried out efficiently and effectively.

- Develops and proposes technical health policies and strategies for implementation through collaboration with Regional and Country Offices and provides advice in developing further the design, delivery, and monitoring & evaluation of norms & standards products for strengthening and improving technical capacity of target clienteles.

- Oversees a unit specialized in various domains within their area of expertise and facilitates the efficient flow of team synergies.Manages the programme area in delivering its objectives through efficient managing a small team of technical staff, financial resources and effective work planning to optimize the programme's deliverables in line with the mandate of the Organization.

- Leads and conducts research on best practices in implementing programmes and activities and dissemination of information for capacity building in the respective area of work.

- Manages the monitoring and evaluation and reporting of the subject area of work of key performance indicators and reporting requirements and mechanisms to optimize performance of Programme deliverables.

- Serves as the technical reference among the peer community, UN Agencies and other stakeholders at the technical levels in the respective area of expertise.

- Liaises with and utilizes partnerships in other UN Agencies, Donor, or research institutions in the design, delivery, and monitoring & evaluation of norms & standards products to position the technical area of work and implementation into Global and/or National policies.

- Represents the programme area of work at various meetings to advocate for design, delivery and monitoring & evaluation of norms & standards products.

- Performs all other related duties as assigned.

Specific duties:

- Together with the QNS Director, assessing and prioritizing the work of the unit, and leading the Product Design and Impact team, including planning, directing, monitoring the work and its human and financial resources in relation to the objectives of the program.

- Collaborating effectively with the Unit Heads of the other teams in the Department, including Methods & Standards, Process Efficiency, Office of the Publisher, and Library & Digital Information Networks, as well as other departmental leads, to ensure that all project teams developing a N&S product receive the most relevant and appropriate support in terms of product dissemination, content development & design, translation, and product digitalization.

- Developping and advancing a practical monitoring & evaluation framework and approach with related mechanisms and processes to assess and report on product outreach and use.

- Contributing, as appropriate and in consultation with QNS Director and the Chief Scientist, as requested, to support additional duties including, but not limited to resource mobilization, communication, reporting, and advocacy.



Essential: An advanced university degree in communications, design, public health, health sciences, or another area related to the functions of the position.
Desirable: A PhD in one of the above-mentioned fields, with experience in health sciences. Training in content design, production, management, behavioral insights, human centered design, and/or communications.


Essential: A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in managing/guiding the development and monitoring and evaluation of impactful norms and standards products, including experience in the area of health policies and strategies. Demonstrated experience managing human and financial resources. Demonstrated experience at the international level. Experience in content design, production, management, and/or communications
Desirable: Experience in applying cross-cutting areas, e.g. gender or equity, to normative and standard setting products. Experience within UN or other international or multinational organizations. Experience working in a variety of country contexts.Advanced experience in behavioral insights and/or human centered design.


- Concrete skills in the planning and coordination of multidisciplinary public health programmes, which may include the implementation of a public health/disease control programmes.

- Strong skills in the area of developing and establishing polices and strategies.

- Excellent skills and ability in managing diverse teams and financial resources.

- Good skills in mobilizing resources.

- Ability to engage and communicate effectively and diplomatically with external partners including Ministries of Health, Donor institutions, Civil Society, and other stakeholders.

- Commitment to collaborate effectively with other key partners in the Health Subject area.Proven team leadership and management skills, including deep experience in developing guides and processes to ensure use/adaptation of technical content in high and lower resources environments.

- Proven experience devising and implementing process improvement, key performance indicators (KPI), or related monitoring and evaluation approaches for product lines and/or capacity building programs.

- Expert skills in negotiating relationships with professionals across all areas of health care, managing complex collaboration and activities within and outside the Organization.

- Experience in a functional role mentoring other peers on the production of their work, as a consultant, coach, and/or mentor.

- Skills in communication, management, and human relations.

- Knowledge of WHO's policies and programmes is an advantage.

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Building and promoting partnerships across the organization and beyond
Moving forward in a changing environment
Creating an empowering and motivating environment

Use of Language Skills

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


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 88,162 (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 6105 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: 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.
  • Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
  • 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: 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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