Research Associate (Three Positions)

United Nations University (UNU)

Indonesia 🇮🇩

Mozambique 🇲🇿

South Africa 🇿🇦

POSITION: Consultant (CTC)
LOCATION: Indonesia, Mozambique, South Africa
CLOSING DATE: 2021•10•01

About United Nations University

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.

United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)

UNU-FLORES develops strategies to resolve pressing issues in the sustainable use and integrated management of environmental resources such as water, soil, waste, energy, and other geo-resources that are of concern to the United Nations and its Member States – particularly in developing and emerging economies. Based in Dresden, Germany, the Institute engages in research, capacity development, postgraduate teaching, advanced training, and knowledge dissemination to advance the Resource Nexus.

Nexus transformations in coal regions (NEXtra Core)

In collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Agency for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), and other partner institutions in the target countries, UNU-FLORES will conduct a scoping study which aims at analysing environmental legacies of the carbon age and developing perspectives for the energy transition in coal regions of four target countries in the Global South: Colombia, Indonesia, Mozambique, and South Africa. This project has a maximum duration of 12 months, and in consideration of the specific situation in different coal regions, the project aims to:

  • address environmental impacts and management options from a Resource Nexus perspective
  • identify knowledge and capacity gaps for implementing and governing the energy transition in selected coal regions
  • assess financing needs and opportunities to drive the coal and energy transition, as well as risks related to stranded assets
  • analyse the transferability of best-practice examples from Germany and other UN member states
  • identify potential strategies to secure employment after mine closures


The NEXtra Core project funds these positions, and all work conducted shall be for the advancement of this project. Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-FLORES and direct supervision of the Head of Nexus Research Programme “Resource Nexus for Regions in Transformation” and the Project Coordinator, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • conduct research for the NEXtra Core project; including supporting with data collection and analysis
  • manage day to day research activities from planning to implementation
  • draft project deliverables and reports and contribute to dissemination
  • support with the development of concepts for fundraising activities
  • contribute to data consolidation and data analysis
  • support with capacity development and outreach activities to relevant stakeholders
  • provide timely updates and responses to partner organisations and organise and contribute to meetings with key stakeholders
  • contribute to publications and publish in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and policy briefs
  • contribute to the Institute’s teaching activities, especially e-learning and capacity development
  • perform other duties as assigned by the supervisors and the Director

Required qualifications and experience

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • a master’s degree in environmental science, environmental management, environmental engineering, environmental politics/governance, environmental economics, geography, or a related field
  • a minimum of one (1) year of relevant research experience in the fields of coal mining regions, the resource nexus, and/or energy transition
  • a bachelor’s degree plus three (3) years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of a master’s degree
  • excellent communications, report writing, and analytical skills
  • prior experience conducting scoping studies is mandatory
  • experience with the scientific analysis of regional transformation related to coal transition or energy transition
  • proficiency in both oral and written communication in English is mandatory; working knowledge of the primary language(s) relevant to the target country of application is also required
  • ability to work independently and report outcomes in a timely and proactive manner
  • proficiency with MS Office software is mandatory: knowledge and experience of statistics, geodata management, and visualisation (e.g. GIS) would be advantageous
  • ability to cooperate and communicate effectively with a wide range of external partners (including science, industry, civil administration, politics, NGOs, funding agencies, and donor organisations)
  • highly self-motivated, innovative, and organised, yet detail-oriented, with a professional and conscientious attitude and the ability to independently prioritise
  • excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills as demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity

Duration of contract

The successful candidate will be retained under a Consultant Contract (CTC) for the above-mentioned project for 12 months. Consultants engaged by UNU may not provide services for more than twenty-four (24) months in a thirty-six (36) month period. UNU-FLORES is recruiting three (3) Research Associates, with one researcher being based in Indonesia, one in Mozambique and one based in South Africa. .

Proposed payment schedule

A lump sum payment will be made on a monthly basis adjusted to the duty station of the Research Associate, inclusive of all fees, upon completion of deliverables and monthly progress report against the quarterly work plan. The monthly fees payable to the contractors on average are:

Indonesia: IDR 20,629,834
Mozambique: USD 1,652
South Africa ZAR 32,049

UNU-FLORES is not responsible for any health insurance arrangements. The contract carries no entitlement to annual leave nor sick leave.

Travel considerations

Should “mission travel” be required, UNU will pay for travel. However, this will be subject to the following prerequisites: Medical Clearance, Security Clearance through the Travel Request Information Process (TRIP) system, completion of the BSAFE online course, travel Visa, and liability waiver. Trip prerequisites will be met at the expense of the consultant.

Travel cost will be calculated based on economy class travel, regardless of the length of travel. Costs for accommodation, meals and incidentals must not exceed applicable daily subsistence allowance (DSA) rates, as promulgated by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC at

Starting date

As soon as possible.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include a desk review and/or a competency-based interview, background checks and references.

Special notice

UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position. Consultants do not hold international civil servant status, nor are they considered a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.

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. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged.

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.

Please note that due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and the travel restrictions imposed by national authorities, the selected candidate may be required to start the appointment remotely until further notice.

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.

13 days remaining

Apply by 1 October, 2021