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Senior Research Associate

Dresden (Germany)

  • Organization: UNU - United Nations University
  • Location: Dresden (Germany)
  • Grade: PSA - Personnel Service Agreement - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Economics
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-01

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About United Nations University

The United Nations University (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. For more information, please visit

United Nations University for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)

UNU-FLORES develops strategies to resolve pressing issues in the sustainable use and integrated management of environmental resources such as water, soil, waste, energy, and other geo-resources that are of concern to the United Nations and its Member States – particularly in developing and emerging economies. Based in Dresden, Germany, the Institute engages in research, capacity development, postgraduate teaching, advanced training, and knowledge dissemination to advance the Resource Nexus.

Transition in Mining

Germany has a long history of coal mining. With the German Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment, the country investigated ways to phase out this energy source.
UNU-FLORES aims to develop and implement a monitoring system for assessing the sustainability of transformation processes in mining regions along with the Agenda 2030 towards a largely climate-neutral society. By applying the Nexus Approach, the Institute can contribute to the transition of the Lusatian mining district by acting as a link between science and politics. Within an iterative process, best practices from other regions will be used to make recommendations for optimising processes looking to transfer this knowledge to other mining areas in Europe and globally in the future. The successful candidate will work mainly in the Weißwasser region of Saxony in order to carry out the objectives of the role. 


Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-FLORES and direct supervision of the Head of Research Programme – Resource Nexus for Regions in Transformation, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:
  • Contribute effectively to the Institute's research programme by designing, implementing, and managing research proposals related to transition in coal and other mining regions;
  • Design, implement, and conduct research in the field of integrated resources management with the focus on coal and other mining regions in transition;
  • Publish research outcomes in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and policy briefs; actively represent the Institute by presenting papers where appropriate;
  • Co-supervise staff,  master and/or doctoral researchers, and interns;
  • Assist in fundraising activities on behalf of the Institute;
  • In close collaboration with the Partnerships and Liaison Officer, foster collaboration and work with current and potential research partners and local authorities in the Lusatian mining district;
  • Participate in local and international research, policy, and outreach activities;
  • Participate in the development of workshops, seminars, and presentations;
  • Prepare research studies and management reports;
  • Contribute to the Institute's teaching activities, especially e-learning and capacity development;
  •  Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor and the Director.

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • A PhD with one year of work experience, or a master's degree with three years of work experience related to integrated and sustainable management of environmental resources in one or more of the following fields: Economics, Natural Sciences,  Social Sciences, or Political Sciences;
  • Experience of publishing research articles in peer-reviewed journals;
  • Experience with inter-and transdisciplinary research;
  • Recent experience in drafting project proposals and ideally a successful track record in acquiring funding;
  • Sensitivity to the challenges between urban and rural regions, distinct demographic situations, and specific Lusatian trends;
  • Demonstrated ability in bridging the science-policy divide in environmental governance;
  • Experience in supervision of graduate students and interns is desirable;
  • Proficiency in oral and written English and German is required. Knowledge of another UN language would be an asset;
  • Prior work experience in a Non-Governmental Organisation or a UN entity would be an asset;
  • Experience with academic tutoring in fields of relevance to nexus governance would be an asset;
  • Strong planning, organisation, and time management skills, with the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently;
  • Must be flexible with the ability to establish priorities and work within prescribed timeframes;
  • An excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills, as demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

Duration of contract

The duration of the initial contract is one year. This is a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU-FLORES, 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 a PSA is 65 years. 


The successful candidate will be employed under a local PSA contract, and no relocation allowances apply. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including a competitive (tax-exempt in Germany) net salary at the PSA 4 level with a monthly remuneration of EUR 3,330 (subject to deductions for health insurance). 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.

Starting Date

As soon as possible

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should submit their applications online using Impactpool and must upload the following:
  1. A cover letter setting out how your qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  2. A completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form downloadable from the UNU website. Please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations;  
  3. A full CV with a list of publications;
  4. Digital copies of your degree certificate(s)/diploma(s);
  5. Please include your author metrics (Papers, citations, h-index) from Scopus and Google Scholar and link to the respective websites. 
Candidates who do not provide all required documents will not be considered. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references. 

Special notice

PSA holders do not hold international civil servant status, nor are they considered a "staff member" as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.
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 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.
Please note that due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and the travel restrictions imposed by national authorities, the selected candidate may be required to start the appointment remotely and until further notice.

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.


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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