Associate Academic Officer (P2)

United Nations University

About UNU

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 Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS):

UNU-EHS, established in December 2003, is part of the UNU system, a worldwide network of Research and Training Institutes. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit

Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) Section: The VARMAP section conducts policy-oriented research on vulnerabilities and risks to inform risk reduction and adaptation choices in the context of global change. Its vision is to provide actionable knowledge on systemic risks and pathways to sustainability. VARMAP develops and applies conceptual frameworks and scientific methods to assess socio-economic vulnerability and risk in the context of natural hazards, environmental change and societal transformation. The section explores opportunities to reduce risks and to evaluate competing adaptation options. In doing so, VARMAP examines ways to strengthen adaptive governance. VARMAP has a strong focus on urban areas and rural-urban linkages. Drawing on scenario techniques and dynamic assessment tools, it examines the trends in vulnerability and adaptive capacity as societies undergo wider cultural, economic, demographic and political transformation. VARMAP convenes an interdisciplinary team of researchers and has a wide network of scientific and practical partners. It draws on a mixed methods approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative tools for the analysis. The section combines a global focus with clusters of specific regional expertise, notably in Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, West Africa and Europe

Transformative Climate Action using Participatory data driven decision making platforms (T-CAP) Project

The main motivation for this project is our belief that the battle against climate change will be won at the local level. While digital means are increasingly used to assist in managing cities, an untapped potential lies in using these means to facilitate participatory local level policy making and implementation to catalyse transformative climate actions. This holds special significance in the small and medium cities from the Global South that face resource and capacity constraints. This project will assist urban local bodies in Visakhapatnam, India in working effectively with all stakeholders (particularly the civil society) to gather and analyse data needed for transformative climate action. It aims to showcase a science based participatory planning framework for data driven decision making that can inspire cities across the globe.

Climate Academy Project

The Academy aims to include people’s perspectives in climate change policy making to facilitate climate action. The project fosters the action-policy-science interface by generating knowledge and solution oriented pathways and feeding these into policy processes (crucially, in partnership with UNFCCC) and communities of practice (such as UNDRR and ICLEI). The project convenes the Climate Academy, with thematic foci urban digitalization and climate change induced mobility, planned for years 2022 and 2023 respectively.


Under the authority of the Vice-Rector/Director of UNU-EHS and the direct supervision of the Head of the VARMAP section, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

1. Within the context of the T-CAP project

Contextualizing climate knowledge and leading framework development

  • Lead the preparation of the participatory planning framework for data driven decision making in collaborate with stakeholders
  • Conduct impact chain and driver mapping including key climate change and urbanization drivers, factors and data indicators
  • Contextualize global climate science and digitalization related knowledge to the local needs

Strengthen the capacity of urban local actors

  • Undertake capacity mapping and gap identification with identified target groups
  • Map desired digital tools and capacities to facilitate participatory climate action planning and monitoring
  • Work with stakeholders to strengthen capacities needed for the implementation of the T-CAP project

Lead the project management, reporting and outreach

  • Coordinate with project partners and the funding agency and ensure timely reporting
  • Prepare reports and all other project related outputs
  • Prepare scientific outputs from the project including publications in the leading peer reviewed journals
  • Initiate and oversee any other activities to successfully implement the T-CAP project

2. Within the context of the Climate Academy project:

  • Lead the implementation of the Climate Academy, including the organizational planning, and coordination of position papers, policy briefs, outreach material and scientific publications
  • Lead the outreach of the Climate Academy in nurturing the dialogue with policy makers and communities of practices, e.g. through the development of submissions into key UNFCCC processes
  • Take up other duties related to the Climate Academy as required

3. Beyond the T-CAP and Climate Academy projects:

  • Identify and lead third party funding application related to the mission and vision of UNU-EHS
  • Liaison with other UN agencies and partner institutions on matters pertaining to the mission and vision of UNU-EHS, in particular digitization, actionable knowledge and sustainable urbanization
  • Actively contribute to ongoing teaching and education activities at UNU-EHS

4. Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor

Key Performance Indicators

  • Timely and quality development and implementation of outputs from the T-CAP and Climate Academy projects
  • Timely and quality delivery of policy as well as scientific outputs
  • Quality and level of engagement with project partners
  • Creation and dissemination of scientifically informed policy outputs pertaining to climate change risk and adaptation to inform UNFCCC and other relevant frameworks.
  • UNU is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society



  • Inclusion – Take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin or any other aspect of identity.
  • Integrity – Act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards.
  • Humility – Demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others.
  • Humanity – Act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.


  • Connect and Collaborate – Build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  • Analyse and Plan – Seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions and plan action
  • Deliver Results with Positive Impact – Hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
  • Learn and Develop – Pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • Adapt and Innovate – Demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


Education and certification:

  • Ph.D. in urban planning, urban development, geography, climate resilience, or another relevant field


  • At least two years of experience in the field of risk and resilience with particular focus on urban planning and governance, some of which preferably in an international setting
  • Strong work experience in the field of climate change vulnerability and risk with focus of climate change adaptation in urban areas
  • Knowledge of digitalization and its application in urban planning, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation;
  • Experience in drafting project reports, policy briefs, communications, and presentations is required
  • Strong track record in academic writing is required
  • Experience with stakeholder consultation, participatory planning process and local level capacity building is a strong asset
  • Work experience in the field of urbanization in India and smart cities, particularly the application of Digitalization in urban planning is desired
  • Track record in acquiring third party funding applications is desired and considered a strong asset
  • Demonstrated capability to publish in leading peer reviewed journals is desired
  • Other Desirable Skills: Initiative taking, strong conceptual abilities, sound judgment, drafting ability, resilience, sound communication skills

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required
  • Working knowledge of Hindi is a strong asset
  • Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset.


UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy. For more information please see:

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance.

For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

Starting date: As soon as possible

How to apply

How to Apply:

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  • Fill out the UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form);
  • provide a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position; and
  • apply via the apply link apply link 

You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

Application Deadline: 5 October 2022


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks, and references.

Special notice

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector’s authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

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 also 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.

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 other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

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