Research Associate (ARiMA)

UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
Bonn, Germany
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
Languages Required: 
French or Arabic


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United Nations University

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate teaching and capacity development, and dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of 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.

UNU 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

The position is embedded in two sections of UNU-EHS: the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) and the Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES) sections.

Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section

The institute’s VARMAP section 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. The section has a strong focus on urban areas and rural-urban linkages and is particularly interested in the trends in vulnerability and adaptive capacity as societies undergo wider cultural, economic, demographic, and political transformation. VARMAP convenes an interdisciplinary team 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 and Northern Africa and Europe.

Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES) section

The EVES section at UNU-EHS conducts original, policy-relevant research addressing the vulnerability and resilience of social-ecological systems. Specifically, EVES aims to understand how social-ecological systems are affected by environmental hazards of diverse nature such as water and land degradation, floods, droughts, and other hazards. EVES investigates the impacts of multiple hazard situations, identifying cumulating or cascading impacts and feedbacks between hazards of contrasting nature such as floods and droughts. Ecosystem-based solutions to reduce disaster risk are of central importance in most of the research conducted by EVES researchers.

ARiMA project: Assessment and Simulation of Present and Future Multi-hazard Risk in the Marrakech-Safi Region

ARiMA is a 24-month project funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO). It aims at strengthening preventive urban and rural planning in the Marrakech-Safi region, Morocco, by proving information on the drivers, hot spots, and dynamics (including future scenarios) of multi-hazard risk and by mainstreaming risk information into existing risk management strategies.

The project draws on a transdisciplinary design that integrates qualitative & quantitative methods for the assessment, simulation, and visualisation of present multi-hazard risk and potential future risk pathways while applying a social-ecological systems perspective. Results will be integrated into a spatial multi-hazard risk information system, co-designed in close collaboration with local partners and stakeholders. Further, the project will take stock of existing disaster risk reduction and adaptation strategies and propose complementary solutions with a particular focus on ecosystem-based solutions. Finally, existing disaster risk management capabilities will be evaluated and strengthened where needed. Within this scope, the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) will analyse current vulnerabilities and risks of social-ecological systems towards floods and droughts, and develop future exposure, vulnerability, and risk scenarios.


Under the supervision of the Director of UNU-EHS, the Heads of the VARMAP and EVES sections, and the project manager, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

  • identify and investigate drivers of vulnerability and risk of social-ecological systems with regard to floods and droughts in the Marrakesh-Safi region through a combination of expert interviews, focus group discussions and systematic literature reviews (scientific publications, reports, etc.)
  • conduct data mining with global and national providers of socio-economic and environmental data
  • perform data cleaning, quality checks, processing, and systemisation of secondary statistical data (e.g., census data) and conduct data analysis using descriptive, bi-variate, and multi-variate statistical methods
  • assess vulnerability and risk of social-ecological systems at the sub-national level using indicator-based approaches, and develop vulnerability and risk profiles for selected provinces
  • support the development of future vulnerability and risk scenarios
  • draft project deliverables and reports
  • contribute to reporting and dissemination activities (including scientific publications and presentations at conferences)
  • support the supervision of student assistants and interns working within the project
  • perform other related duties as required

Required qualifications and experience

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • MSc degree in Geography, Geographical Information Science, Economics, Demography, Statistics, Spatial Planning, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management, or other relevant discipline
  • proven and strong track-record in academic work on disaster risk and vulnerability in the context of global change
  • demonstrated experience in indicator-based vulnerability and risk assessment
  • solid skills regarding the statistical and spatial analysis of primary and secondary data, including spatial data (ArcGIS/QGIS, SPSS/STATA/R, etc.)
  • experience with scenario development and Bayesian or integrated assessment modeling is an asset
  • strong ability to carry out work independently
  • excellent communication skills with fluency in oral and written English;
  • professional language skills in Arabic or French (oral and written)
  • good team player with ability to work in international and intercultural environment
  • previous work experience in Northern Africa is an asset
  • excellent time management skills
  • takes initiatives and has flexible attitude to work, as appropriate

Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.

Contract and remuneration

This is part-time (30 hours/week) employment on a twelve (12) month Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract, with a possibility for renewal subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funds. The combined duration of appointments shall not excedg six (6) years. Remuneration will be within the range of the PSA pay scheme applied by UNU in Bonn, commensurate with qualifications and experience.

This is a locally recruited post; no relocation allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor is he/she a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.

Starting date

As soon as possible