By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Research Associate (PSA3) & Senior Research Assistant (PSA2) (Part-time 50%, 2 positions)

Dresden (Germany)

  • Organization: UNU - United Nations University
  • Location: Dresden (Germany)
  • Grade: PSA - Personnel Service Agreement - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Legal - International Law
  • Closing Date: 2021-08-04

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

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, post-graduate teaching, advanced training, and knowledge dissemination to advance the Resource Nexus. 

Guidelines on Tax Regulation for Plastics

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest threats to life on Earth. Eight million tons of plastic find its way into our oceans annually. Data estimates that at this pace, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. Alarmingly, this warning has not slowed the rapid production of plastics, which increases faster than world population growth. While many of the impacts of plastic pollution, particularly pertaining to human health, are still unknown, research indicates that we are eating, drinking, and even breathing plastics, not to mention the devastating impact on our natural environment. This project, instigated by the Korea Environment Corporation (K-eco), is intended to learn from European taxes on plastic to design similar legislation in South Korea.   


These part-time positions are funded by the project entitled "Plastic Pollution in the Environment and Nexus Governance Solutions for Regulating the Single Use of Plastic", in cooperation with K-eco. All work conducted shall be for the advancement of this project. UNU-FLORES is seeking two Researchers to work on this project. 

Senior Research Assistant (PSA 2) 

Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-FLORES and direct supervision of the Associate Programme Officer, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following tasks: 
  • Assist with researching, extracting, and compiling information and data related to plastic pollution in the environment and Nexus solution for sustainable plastic management; 
  • Analyse scientific research on plastic packaging (taxes, laws, policies, etc.) in EU countries and South Korea; 
  • Distribute and analyse project questionnaires related to the effect of COVID-19 (pandemic) and plastic waste management to stakeholders in South Korea; 
  • Perform literature reviews and assist in the evaluation and examination of research; 
  • Sort, consolidate, process, and enter data into relevant databases; 
  • Support the preparation and submission of progress reports, project reviews, financial reports, audit reports, final reports for external stakeholders, and any other required project reports;
  • Prepare presentations, infographics, tables, diagrams, and mid-term reporting; 
  • Handle communication with external stakeholders; 
  • Prepare abstracts/bibliographic descriptions for inclusion in publications; 
  • Assist with proofreading of written materials for accuracy before publication (English and Korean); 
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor and the Director. 

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • A Bachelor's degree in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management, Environmental Policy, Environmental Health, or a related field;  
  • A minimum of one year of experience in environment-related research;  
  • Documented background knowledge and work experience related to the following: (1) waste management or governance; Plastic Waste Management in Asia or EU countries, (2) Post COVID-19 challenges in the context of Plastic Pollution, or (3) Environmental Law and Policies;  
  • Experience at the science-policy interface of plastic waste management, or medical plastic waste management is required; experience designing and distributing questionnaires would be highly advantageous; 
  • Proficiency with MS Office software is mandatory; 
  • Proficiency in both oral and written communication in English and Korean is compulsory (for non-native speakers, a level of at least C1 for Korean according to CEFR is required);  
  • Strong planning, organisation, and time management skills, with the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently;  
  • Must be flexible with the ability to establish priorities;  
  • 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. 

Research Associate (PSA 3) 

Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-FLORES and direct supervision of the Associate Programme Officer, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:  
  • Perform research related to the project and especially in the field of Legislation of Plastic Waste & Management
  • Support the implementation of the research project, including mapping of the existing national legislation related to plastic taxation, identification of most relevant stakeholders, and tentative establishment of contacts; 
  • Support planning, organisation, and documentation of ongoing projects, including support for data analysis and data collection; 
  • Manage day-to-day research activities, from planning to implementation; 
  • Draft project deliverables and reports, and contribute to dissemination; 
  • Supervise junior team members and interns and guide doctoral researchers, research fellows and master's students related to the project;
  • Provide timely updates and responses to partner organisations, arrange and contribute to meetings with key stakeholders; 
  • Contribute to publications and publish in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and policy briefs;  
  • Contribute to the Institute's teaching activities, particularly e-learning and capacity development; 
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor and the Director.  

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in Law, preferably with a thesis-developed topic related to plastic pollution, plastic lifecycle, or economic tools applied to environmental law;   
  • A minimum of two (2) years of post-graduate experience in legal research and analysis is mandatory. Experience with interdisciplinary research is desirable; 
  • Experience in policymaking and cultivating relationships with stakeholders in the EU and South Korea is required; 
  • Experience in a national or local government department in the field of environmental law or tax law would be highly advantageous; 
  • Experience with writing reports and recommendations regarding plastic pollution or related fields, particularly pertaining to international law or comparative law setting, would be desirable; 
  • Knowledge and experience of processes and procedures of United Nations agencies or international organisations would be an asset; 
  • Documented background knowledge and experience related to at least one of the following topics: (1) legal approaches to plastic pollution; (2) economic analysis of law; (3) European Environmental Law; experience in more than one subject is advantageous; 
  • A proven record of academic publications in the field of plastic or other topics related to the project is mandatory; 
  • Proficiency in both oral and written communication in English is mandatory (at least C1 level); knowledge of Spanish, Italian, and/or German would be advantageous; 
  • Proficiency with MS Office software is mandatory. 

Duration of contract

The duration of this contract for the PSA 2 is 8 months, and the PSA 3 duration is 9 months. This is a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU-FLORES and funded by K-eco. This PSA has no possibility for renewal beyond the completion of the project work. 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.


Successful candidates will be employed under a local PSA contract, and no relocation allowances apply. UNU offers an attractive compensation package, including a competitive net salary (tax-exempt in Germany). The PSA 2 level will earn a monthly remuneration of EUR 1,329, and the PSA 3 level will earn a monthly remuneration of EUR 1,487.5 (subject to deductions for health insurance). Benefits include 1.25 days annual leave accrual per month 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 through Impactpool and must upload the following:
  1. A cover letter stipulating which position you are applying for and 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) 
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 similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job descriptions, 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.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.