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

Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences


  • Organization: UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • Location: Paris
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - ADG, Assistant-Director-General
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Administrative support
    • Environment
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed

Post Number : SC 001

Grade : ADG

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 30-JUNE-2023


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




Under the authority of the Director-General, the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences is responsible for providing intellectual leadership and strategic vision for the Natural Sciences Sector in line with the Organization’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2029 document (41 C/4) and the decisions of the governing bodies. To this end, the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences is responsible for the overall implementation of Major Programme II (Natural Sciences), approved by UNESCO's governing bodies, including for its category 1 institute (the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics).

Long Description

The mission of the Natural Sciences Sector is to strengthen the systems and policies related to science, technology and innovation (STI) - at the national, regional and global levels - and to promote international scientific cooperation with regard to the major challenges associated with sustainable development. In particular, this will involve mobilizing STI and knowledge for the benefit of sustainable development, including the basic sciences. It will also involve advancing science for sustainable management of natural resources, disaster risk reduction and action on climate change, notably through the Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB), International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP) and the International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).

Long Description

The Natural Sciences programme will focus on the following activities:

  • Strengthening policies and governance related to STI, access to scientific and technological advances and knowledge-sharing, through means including open science, as well as the science-policy-society interface;
  • Promotion of knowledge and building of human and institutional capacities as regards science and engineering, including environmental and water science and geoscience;
  • Fostering international scientific cooperation at the service of  earth systems, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, climate change mitigation and freshwater security;
  • Developing comprehensive and integrated actions with UNESCO’s global networks of designated sites (biosphere reserves and UNESCO Global Geoparks);
  • Maintaining links with global and regional scientific associations and institutions;
  • Mobilizing extrabudgetary resources and establishing partnerships with public and private entities to support the implementation of the Sector's overall programme.
Long Description

For further information on the specific above-mentioned programmes, candidates may consult UNESCO’s website:, and/or the following documents: 41 C/4 (UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy, 2022–2029) and 41 C/5 (UNESCO’s Programme and Budget for 2022–2025).


COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Communication (C) Accountability (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Professionalism (C) Building partnerships (M) Driving and managing change (M) Leading and empowering others (M) Making quality decisions (M) Managing performance (M) Strategic thinking (M) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS



  • Advanced university degree (master’s or equivalent) in a field related to the natural sciences.


Work Experience

  • At least fifteen (15) years of experience in senior leadership/executive positions in areas directly related to UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Programme, including assignments at the regional and/or international levels.
  • Several years of exposure to the requirements of international and intergovernmental cooperation, preferably in the context of the United Nations system.
  • Extensive relevant professional experience in scientific research and cooperation.

Skills and Competencies

  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • Leadership capacities, a sense of objectivity and neutrality, strong analytical skills and intellectual capabilities, professional integrity and diplomacy.
  • Ability to exercise well-founded and balanced authority, as well as the ability to provide and manage advisory services and functions and to provide high-level advice.
  • Sound knowledge of the scientific research landscape.
  • Sound knowledge of strategic planning and general management practices, including results-based management and budgeting principles, governance and accountability.
  • Proven ability to lead and direct change processes at the substantive and management levels.
  • Excellent advocacy and communication skills with strong representational abilities.
  • Proven ability to interact effectively at the highest governmental levels, as well as with leaders of the private sector and NGOs, and ability to mobilize resources and to build collaborative partnerships and networks with and between a wide variety of stakeholders.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to manage relationships at all levels of the Organization.
  • Proven knowledge of gender issues in the field of science.



  • Excellent knowledge of and drafting skills in one of the working languages (English or French) of the Organization and ability to work in the other working language.





  • A doctoral-level degree in the natural sciences or in one of the branches thereof.


Work Experience

  • Understanding and knowledge of UNESCO’s strategic objectives and of wider reform processes and initiatives within the United Nations system, especially with regard to the reform of the United Nations development system (UNDS), and the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Experience in conducting complex negotiations diplomatically and tactfully in the overall interest of pursuing UNESCO’s mandate and mission.

Skills and Competencies

  • Skills in administration and management of financial and human resources.
  • Solid understanding of global operational risk.
  • Experience in guiding staff and motivating teams in a culturally diverse environment.



  • Knowledge of other official languages of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/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 212,135 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.
However, we have found similar vacancies for you: