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Chief of Section (Ocean Science)


  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Paris
  • Grade: Senior level - P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Maritime
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Managerial positions
    • Sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources
  • Closing Date: Closed

Post Number : IOC 314

Grade : P-5

Parent Sector : Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Programme Coordination

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 10-APR-2023


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



Under the authority of the Executive Secretary of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Director-General of UNESCO (ADG/IOC), the incumbent will lead, coordinate and organize the activities of the IOC Ocean Science Section (OSS).
The Ocean Science Section’s role is to support Member State-driven programmes in maintaining and strengthening the highest level of expertise in ocean sciences. It also helps to review the requirements and opportunities for the development of ocean sciences through international cooperation. 

The incumbent will be driven by priorities and directions set by IOC Governing Bodies and his/her main tasks will be to shape the IOC UNESCO response to ocean science challenges and to advise Member States on a broad spectrum of emerging issues. The incumbent will facilitate formulation of the IOC UNESCO priorities, agendas, policies and design of knowledge-based products and ensure the technical accuracy of deliverables. 

The incumbent will be preparing bi-annual work programme and budget of OSS and will supervise its team. The collective effort of the Section is on development of international ocean science and delivering scientific advice for ocean policy, including on issues of climate change and variability, ocean health and disaster risk reduction. The OSS supports expert groups on ocean acidification; ocean deoxygenation; multiple ocean stressors; ocean carbon research; global capacity in ocean science; the state of the Ocean; as well as task teams of the IOC-FAO Intergovernmental Panel on Harmful Algal Blooms, the Joint Steering Committee for the World Climate Research Programme, sponsored working groups of GESAMP. The Section implements projects related to the development and exploitation of ocean science. It engages scientific communities and partner organizations in global and regional activities towards achieving IOC objectives. 


In particular, the incumbent will: 

  • Provide leadership and guidance to ensure strategic vision, formulation, efficiency and strategic thinking to foresee ocean science challenges and advise Member States on emerging ocean science issues and means to address them; identify corresponding governmental research priorities and increase awareness of such priorities; contribute strategic considerations towards shaping the ocean science agenda. communicate with scientists from all Member States to leverage international scientific projects/programmes. Define priorities and agenda for staff and Section and locate and pursue resources.
  • Develop a coherent narrative on an integrated approach to ocean science and the science-policy nexus and help project this narrative to external audiences including bilateral donors, other UN agencies and multi-lateral financial institutions. Ensure the robustness of scientific deliverables produced or provided by the IOC. Coordinate the production of relevant policy guidance, analysis, tools and knowledge products to support an integrated approach of IOC UNESCO to climate change, ocean health, ecosystem services and other IOC' strategic matters.
  • Seek and explore resource mobilization opportunities for extrabudgetary resources for relevant programmatic and thematic areas including engaging potential donors with projects plans which could attract support. 
  • Direct the design and implementation of the OSS programme in the areas of Climate Change Impacts in the Marine Environment, Ocean Health, and Marine Environmental Modelling.
  • Assure the necessary coordination with relevant partners within and outside the UN, in particular FAO, UNEP, WMO, IAEA and SCOR, that contribute to the various components of the IOC value chain linking ocean science with forecasting, solutions and service delivery.
- For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Communication (C) Accountability (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Professionalism (C) Building partnerships (M) Driving and managing change (M) Strategic thinking (M) Making quality decisions (M) Managing performance (M) Leading and empowering others (M) REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS


  • Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent) in the ocean, marine, or related sciences. 


Work Experience 

  • A minimum of 10 years of progressively relevant professional experience in the ocean, marine, or related sciences, with preferably 5 years at the international level.
  • Experience in coordinating, managing, and implementing projects or programmes.
  • Experience in managing staff and teams.


Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of in situ sustained ocean science networks and their users.
  • Excellent analytic skills, including the ability to identify complex issues, and decide on ways forward respecting the constraints of the organizations involved.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and change management skills.
  • Strong programme management skills.
  • Very good communication skills (oral and written) with proven ability to make effective and persuasive oral presentations to both technical and general audiences.
  • Proven ability to advocate and negotiate with colleagues, staff, and stakeholders at all levels, internal and external, including building and maintaining partnerships.
  • Ability to lead and empower teams and maintain effective working relationships in a multi-cultural environment.



  • Excellent knowledge and drafting skills in English and working knowledge of French.
  • Ph.D. in ocean sciences or a related field. 
  • Fundraising and resource mobilization experience.
  • Knowledge of other official languages of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).

UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 141,136 US $.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

This vacancy is now closed.
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