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Scientist (Global Cancer Burden)


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Lyon
  • Grade: Mid level - P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Scientist and Researcher
  • Closing Date: 2023-02-11


The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is the cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) and is based in Lyon, France.

The Cancer Surveillance Branch (CSU) is expanding its portfolio of research to quantify the societal and economic consequences of cancer, as part of IARC's mandate as a reference source in the provision of global cancer data. With governments committing to improve equitable and affordable access to high-quality, cost-effective cancer services, there is a need for a systematic and ongoing collection and interpretation of such data, at all levels, including the impact of cancer control interventions.

Building on several collaborative descriptive studies within CSU, the aim is to better understand the global burden of cancer and how it impacts national economies and health systems. The incumbent will develop relevant global indicators and related research activities at IARC, within the domains of descriptive epidemiology, demography, and health economics. The incumbent will be expected to develop global indicators (DALYs, productivity loss etc.) for inclusion in IARC’s Global Cancer Observatory (GCO) and construct models to quantify the public health, societal and economic impact of specific cancer prevention and cancer control strategies, often with a special emphasis placed on low and middle-income countries. Cooperative work with internal and external technical partners is an integral part of this role; the incumbent will work closely with CSU supervisors and WHO, in supporting their normative work of the latter organization, including the development of tools to assist national policymakers in identifying priority interventions, as part of national cancer planning.

The goals of the Cancer Surveillance Branch (CSU) are:

  • To ensure that locally recorded high-quality cancer data are available to governments in countries in transition, to inform priorities for national cancer control.
  • To serve as a reference to the global cancer community in the provision of national cancer indicators.
  • To describe and interpret the changing magnitude and transitional nature of cancer risk profiles worldwide.
  • To advocate the health, social, and economic benefits of preventive interventions, through a systematic quantification of their future impact.

The position reports to the Deputy Head of CSU. The incumbent undertakes research activities linked to better understanding the global cancer burden from economic and socioeconomic perspectives. Currently data on the economic burden of cancer is either fragmented or unavailable, and there is a need to develop relevant indicators to support cancer control planning and research and integrate these into the GCO. The incumbent will interact with different groups at IARC, WHO and other international and national research institutions to develop relevant health economics analyses related to cancer prevention and control.


  1. Conduct research to better understand the global burden of cancer via relevant indicators that illustrate the economic and socioeconomic impact on the disease, including:
  • Estimation of productivity losses due to cancer-related premature mortality at the global and national levels,
  • Estimation of the burden of cancer using Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), and
  • Assessment of current frameworks in quantifying the economic burden of childhood cancer.
  1. On the basis of research undertaken, support the integration of relevant indicators into the GCO;
  2. Undertake modelling analysis to generate an evidence base for advancing and advocating cancer prevention, early detection and cancer control policies and programs;
  3. Working within CSU alongside WHO, support the development of tools aimed at identifying priority interventions in cancer planning and research that evaluates the impact and cost of interventions according to country capacity;
  4. Provide training programs and supervise students to strengthen capacity in this area;
  5. Develop key partnerships, internally and externally to enable the research plans of the Branch;
  6. Write grants with a view to attracting research funding from direct or competitive sources;
  7. Prepare and disseminate scientific manuscripts and reviews describing the results of studies;
  8. Perform other related duties as may be assigned by the Supervisor or Branch Head.


Due to the evolving situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and depending on work requirements, this position may be partly occupied remotely, from the home of the candidate selected in the region Lyon, according to the teleworking clause for force majeure currently in force as part of the IARC teleworking policy during this pandemic period.


  1. Producing results
  2. Moving forward in a changing environment
  3. Fostering integration and teamwork
  4. Setting an example
  5. Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences



Essential: PhD in Public Health, Epidemiology, Statistics, Health Economics or related fields.

Desirable: Formal or other training (e.g. online, on-the-job) in one or more of the following: cancer research, cancer epidemiology, statistics, economics and/or economic modeling


Essential: At least five years of progressively responsible professional experience in health research.


Experience in economics research, economics analysis, and/or economic modeling, and/or

Experience in cancer research and/or in research with a special emphasis place on low and middle-income countries is also an asset.


Expert knowledge of English is essential.

Knowledge of French or another official language of the United Nations (i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish) would be an asset.



  1. Excellent knowledge of public health, epidemiology and statistics.
  2. Strong scientific publication record in research subjects relevant to the role.
  3. Proven ability to write grant applications.
  4. Ability to proactively engage and take initiatives in the conduct and evaluation of the studies.
  5. Ability to identify, understand, interpret, and discuss relevant health system issues.
  6. Ability to develop innovative approaches and solutions.
  7. Excellent mathematical and analytical skills.
  8. Mastery of public speaking techniques.
  9. Excellent drafting and communication skills.
  10. Knowledge of statistical software such as R, Stata, etc. for the purpose of health research and analysis of related data

Desirable: -


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 62,692 (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 2,283 per month for the duty station indicated above (subject to change). Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test and/or seminar presentation 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. IARC/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 IARC/WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • WHO staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
  • For information on IARC’S operations please visit:
  • IARC/WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
  • IARC/WHO's workforce adheres to the WHO Values Charter and is committed to put the WHO Values into practice.
  • IARC/WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
  • Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Participating States are particularly encourage.
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.