Research Associate

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

Bonn, Germany 🇩🇪

United Nations University objectives

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.

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

Environmental Migration, Social Vulnerability & Adaptation Section – (EMSVA)

The EMSVA section of UNU-EHS undertakes pioneering research on how society manages climate stressors such as floods, drought, storms, sea-level rise, and climatic shifts. The section works with governments, the private sector, and civil society to identify and design innovative climate risk management solutions to build resilience. Specific themes of adaptation-related research include 1) human mobility, 2) livelihood resilience including loss and damage, and legal dimensions of global environmental change, and 3) climate risk insurance.

For more information, please visit

Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII)

MCII was initiated by Munich Re in April 2005 in response to the growing realisation that insurance solutions can play a role in adaptation to climate change, as suggested in the Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. This initiative is hosted at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and is formed by insurers, climate change and adaptation experts, NGOs, and policy researcher’s intent on finding solutions to the risks posed by climate change. MCII provides a forum and gathering place for insurance-related expertise applied to climate change issues. MCII is a research-to-policy and -practice innovation lab. MCII aims to support policy processes that enhance resilience and protect livelihoods of vulnerable communities, through pioneering risk management and risk transfer solutions (e.g., insurance mechanisms) in combination with other approaches to manage climate-related risks.

For more information please visit


Under the authority of the Director of the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and the supervision of the Head of the Environmental Migration, Social Vulnerability and Adaptation Section (EMSVA) and the Associate Academic Officer (Climate Insurance), and in collaboration with project partners, the appointee shall be entrusted with the following tasks within the framework of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII):

  1. Institutional management of the MCII project office at UNU-EHS:
  • administer the institutional development of MCII as a non-profit charitable association under the guidance of the MCII Executive Board
  • provide a liaison between the management and the employees of the MCII project office at UNU-EHS, including staff supervision, staff coordination in relation to respective capabilities, conflict resolution, etc.
  • steer the coordination between the Associate Academic Officer, Executive Board, and MCII membership, including the organisation of MCII meetings such as strategic executive board meetings, project advisory group meetings, membership assemblies, etc.
  • manage the compilation of main results of MCII’s projects vis-à-vis reporting back to the MCII Executive Board, Membership, and UNU-EHS
  • coordinate the interaction with the wider MCII membership to harness expert inputs by members on relevant project work packages, position papers, policy briefs, etc.
  • supervise the facilitation of MCII-internal processes in relation to the legal obligations and charitable status of the initiative (including Board elections, financial audits, reporting to German authorities, etc.), which is undertaken by UNU-EHS Programme Support
  • manage the liaison with relevant German service providers (incl. tax advisor, legal support, etc.)
  • develop the staffing profile of the MCII project office at UNU-EHS under the guidance of the MCII Executive Board and Associate Academic Officer
  1. Project coordination and management, under the guidance of Section Head/Associate Academic Officer:
  • coordinate the organisation of MCII projects including proposal writing, fieldwork, project implementation, workshops, and related activities
  • actively shape the development of conceptual input for all MCII-related projects and develop new project ideas
  • supervise the coordination of project-related publications, papers, and analyses
  • manage the dissemination of project results and jointly develop a communication strategy in collaboration with the UNU-EHS Communications Team
  • supervise the development of MCII’s web presence (website administration, outreach, etc.)
  • liaise with project partners and donor organisations under the guidance of the Section Head and Associate Academic Officer, and supervise reporting procedures in relation to different project donors
  • provide a liaison between Section Head, Associate Academic Officer, and MCII Treasurer on the financial administration of the MCII bank account (incl. supervision of processing project-related payments, preparation of financial reporting to donors, etc.) undertaken by UNU-EHS Programme Support
  1. Coordination of relevant policy fora and related networks:
  • manage the organisation of relevant press events and side events for MCII (including the conceptual design, speakers, logistics, etc.) in close coordination with the UNU-Germanwatch-MCII policy liaison officer
  • manage the MCII and UNU delegation lists in the context of climate change policy processes
  • deputise for the EMSVA Section Head and/or Associate Academic Officer in relation to relevant committees (incl. HLCP and others)
  1. Research:
  • support the Section Head as necessary to write project proposals, develop research programs, and co-author relevant publications
  • support professional advancement through relevant reports or journal publications
  1. Any other duties as may be assigned or required by the Head of Section or Associate Academic Officer.

Required qualifications and experience

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • master’s degree in natural or social sciences, preferably geography, with strong knowledge of risk and vulnerability research, risk transfer, and sustainable development
  • minimum of six (6) years of specific experience of working on climate change with a focus on climate risk management, risk transfer and adaptation, and loss and damage in an international organisation is required; work experience in civil society organisations is an asset
  • experience in managing projects, preferably related to resilience, climate risk management, and risk transfer
  • experience that demonstrates the ability to handle complex situations vis-à-vis interaction with larger networks, managing complex teams, address competing requirements under high pressure, etc.
  • strong connections to and established network with UN organisations, private sector insurance companies, think tanks and academic organisations, and civil-society
  • strong record in managing stakeholder groups and holding focal point functions to represent and relay organisational messaging
  • sound knowledge of global climate change policy and the structure, functioning, policies, measures, and actors relevant to the climate change regime, in particular international climate policy fora
  • familiarity with public, civil-society and private-sector activities related to adaptation, risk management, risk transfer, resilience, and loss and damage
  • demonstrated skills in use of social science and other relevant scientific methods to research questions related to adaptation, risk transfer, and loss and damage (in particular mapping, surveys, interviews)
  • excellent communication and writing skills with fluency in spoken and written English and German; knowledge of a second UN language is an asset
  • demonstrated ability to synthesize complex information, regulations, and policies, and translate into impactful communications
  • strong ability to carry out work independently and in an international team
  • advanced computer skills (Microsoft Office, etc.).


We offer a competitive net salary at GS-6 level of the General Service salary scale (for Bonn, Germany) of the United Nations Common System, plus benefits. For more information, please visit

Duration of contract

This is full-time employment. Initial appointment will be on a fixed-term appointment of one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a rolling fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of fixed-term appointments shall not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for new United Nations staff is 65 years.

This is a locally recruited post; no relocation allowances apply. UNU is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture.

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

Starting date

As soon as possible