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Research & Innovation Officer

Geneva (Switzerland)

  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Innovations for Sustainable Development
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-20

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The PHC as a whole-of-society approach for health is rooted in social justice and solidarity, which makes it a unifying strategy and a cornerstone for achieving the Universal Health Coverage. The evidence shows that PHC-based health systems are efficient, effective and that they deliver equitably. The GPW13 emphasizes on strategic shifts by stepping up leadership role of WHO, focusing global public health goods on impact in countries, and working in an integrated way avoiding fragmentation and programme silos. Guided by the GPW13, the PHC-SP is created as a flagship programme in the current Programme Budget (2020-21). Moreover, the WHO Transformational Agenda describes the PHC-SP an agile and cross-cutting initiative that connects the triple billion priorities, enhancing technical coherence and synergies and thus presenting an opportunity for adapting a new-way-of working. The vision for the PHC-SP is to support Member States in their journey to achieve healthy lives and well-being for all by building people-centred, resilient and sustainable PHC-based health systems that uphold the right to health, promote social justice, empower individuals and communities and address the determinants of health. For achieving this Vision, the immediate strategic objectives for the PHC-SP are 1.1.Renew PHC, Political leadership and strategic partnership on PHC with governments, UN, international financing institutions and development partners at global, regional and country levels.1.2.Demonstrate a new way of working. An agile integrated platform that connects three billion strategic priorities, making the whole work of corporate greater than the sum of each part.1.3.Contextualize and Operationalize PHC. A “one-stop” mechanism to provide PHC implementation support to Member States and put into action the PHC Operational Framework. 1.4.Global Public Health Goods. Measuring impact and promoting research and innovation with a sharper focus on people left behind. 1.5.Building-better. Capitalize on the COVID-19 response, contribute in building better PHC-based health systems.


1. Coordinate, collate, and conduct research (including research on innovative approaches) to inform and include in the development of norms, standards, guidelines, tools and new technologies for the advancement of primary health care.

2. Provide policy recommendations for the inclusion of research and innovation in national health policies, strategies and plans in support of the implementation of primary health care.

3. Collaborate with the Department of Digital Health and Innovation in the Science Division to incorporate technical aspects of primary health care in efforts to (1) assess and enable digital health technologies, and support countries to make decisions about how to prioritize, integrate, implement and regulate them and (2) identify, foster and scale up mature evidence-based innovations at national level, to address gaps in primary health care and accelerate impact.

4. Collaborate with and provide technical input into and support the primary health care relevant research activities of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research in the Science Division.

5. Support research and innovation within partnerships and technical cooperation initiatives on primary health care.

6. Participate in research and innovation themed inter-programmatic initiatives across WHO Headquarters' divisions

7. Represent WHO, upon delegation, at various meetings.8. Perform all other related duties as assigned.



Essential: An advanced university degree in public health, health sciences, community health, health administration, health economics or other health related subjects.
Desirable: A doctoral degree in a social or health related profession, social sciences, medicine, nursing, public health, or other clinical oriented discipline. Post-graduate training in family and community-oriented health services.


Essential: At least 7 years professional experience in demonstrated and progressive work experience related to research and innovation in health and development, strategy and programme development and execution, and multi-stakeholder engagement, with some of that in the UN system or other international organizations, including at least two years of relevant international exposure.
Desirable: Experience working with WHO. Relevant professional experience at the country level. Experience working with the private sector, in particular with innovators and/or innovation funders. Experience in scaling innovations. Experience in health policy and systems research.


Understanding of health systems and primary health care.

Understanding of health policy and systems research and methodologies.

Knowledge and understanding of innovation in health and development, including social innovations, technology innovations, business model and process innovations, and the various enablers of innovation, including digital tools, and the requirements for successful scaling and sustaining of innovations.

Track record of identifying innovations with the ability to accelerate impact in public health and development.

Demonstrated capacity in project and change management.

Demonstrated ability to work, lead and deliver results with drive, efficiency, flexibility and team spirit for collective and organizational mission achievement.

Experience in working in teams with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

Ability to formulate project proposals for external financing.

Strong professional oral and written skills, including the development of reports, oral presentations, and technical documents for consideration at the highest levels of the Organization.

Demonstrated ability to keep abreast with developments in the field.

Proven capacity to perform duties with minimum supervision and in changing environments.

Good interpersonal skills/abilities.

Other required WHO Competencies include Producing Results

WHO Competencies

Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Moving forward in a changing environment
Knowing and managing yourself

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 74,913 (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 5356 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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