Research Associate (Water for Sustainable Development)

UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
Tokyo, Japan
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

About the United Nations University

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, conflict prevention, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 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.

About the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

UNU-IAS is an UNU institute based at the UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS builds on the strong tradition of UNU’s research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia. For more information please visit

About the Water for Sustainable Development (WSD)

Water for Sustainable Development (WSD) is a multi-disciplinary policy research and capacity development project that aims to stimulate sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific. Started in 2018, this four-year project will investigate the role of water in the society, economy and natural environment, and will scientifically demonstrate how the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular its goal six, will contribute to the development of the region. These objectives will be achieved through following activities:

  • establish a framework to comprehensively evaluate the role of water in watershed areas in selected countries in Asia, with particular focus on small and medium-sized cities
  • identify methodologies to realise the water environment envisaged in the SDGs
  • develop analytical tools and recommend policy options related to the conservation of watershed environments

The research results will be fed into international policy process through publications and presentations and will be shared with beneficiary countries through consultation workshops, capacity development training courses, and outreach events.

Information on WSD can be found at:


Reporting to WSD Programme Coordinator, and under the guidance of Senior Research Advisor, the Research Associate will conduct research on the social aspect of water resource management, and assist Research Fellows with their tasks. The responsibilities of the Research Associate will include the following:

  • develop detailed research plans for case studies in selected developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region
  • carry out research on the current and future water environment in the case study countries. The activities will include:
    • data collection through questionnaires, through field interviews with stakeholders of water resources (government, business sectors, industrial sectors, agriculture sectors, local leaders/villagers, etc.), or through local contractors
    • analysis of the collected data, mainly to identify the relationships or perceptions that people have toward the water environment
  • author/co-author research articles and reports, briefing notes, policy papers, and other materials, as required
  • contribute to international policies and debates through participation/presentations at relevant conferences
  • feed the research outputs into outreach and capacity development events organized by WSD
  • perform any other tasks required by the UNU-IAS Director and by the WSD team

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • PhD or equivalent degrees, in engineering (environmental, system, or urban), environmental sociology, or related field
  • research experience, including graduate studies, in multi-sectoral policy analysis water environmental management, sustainable development, or related fields
  • strong quantitative skills for data analysis; demonstrated knowledge of environmental valuation methods, statistical packages, and database management tools
  • good understanding of the socio-economic dimension of water resource management in Asia-Pacific
  • willingness and ability to work in team, in a multicultural setting
  • communication skills to liaise with partners in developing countries, and experience in coordinating/managing research with international partners
  • fluency in both oral and written English. Knowledge of the languages of the developing Asia-Pacific countries will be an asset


Depending on the applicant’s qualifications and experiences, remuneration will be from 413,000 to 456,000 Japanese yen. There are no fringe benefits.

Duration of Contract

This is a full-time employment on a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) with UNU-IAS. Initial appointment will be for one (1) year, with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory work performance, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding six (6) years.

This is a locally recruited post; no relocation expenses or allowances will apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will neither hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations. UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

Starting Date

1 January 2019