Academic Officer (Head of the EVES Division)

United Nations University (UNU)

Bonn, Germany 🇩🇪

Job description

About UN University (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

The United Nations University Vice-Rectorate in Europe (UNU-ViE), established in 2007, is one of two Vice-Rectorates and the only one located outside Japan. UNU-ViE seeks to strengthen the presence of UNU in Europe and supports the worldwide institutional development of UNU by facilitating collaboration across UNU and the UN, and sharing knowledge and expertise through the development of joint activities and projects. In addition to its core mandate, it administers the central units providing service to both UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS. For more information, please visit:

The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) established in December 2003, is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit

The Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystems Services (EVES) division 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 not only considers the impacts of single hazards, but also investigates multiple hazard situations, identifying cumulating or cascading impacts and feedbacks between hazards of contrasting nature such as floods and droughts. The concept of ecosystem services is of central importance in most of the research conducted by EVES researchers. For detailed information, please visit:


Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-EHS and the supervision of the Deputy Director of UNU-EHS, the Academic Officer (Head of the EVES Division) is responsible for the following duties: 

1. Manage the EVES division:

  • Lead and direct the EVES team, plan and allocate work assignments, mentor and appraise personnel (including supporting team development and helping team members to take responsibility and excel in their roles), lead the recruitment and selection of new personnel;
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of the EVES division with respect to its scientific and policy profile; budget submission, allocation and monitoring; personnel planning; and implementation of administrative policies;
  • Monitor and evaluate the team’s work;
  • Develop a long-term strategy for the division, particularly with a focus on ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and adaptation, as well as ecosystem loss and damage, by considering social-ecological system perspectives – embedded into the overall strategy of UNU and UNU-EHS;
  • Provide scientific, technical and logistical support to the EVES division at UNU-EHS;
  • Ensure the academic excellence of the division;
  • Serve as a Certifying Officer for UNU-EHS and as Officer-in-Charge for Director and Deputy Director, when assigned

2. Lead research, knowledge management, and dissemination on EVES-specific topics:

  • Advocate effective utilization of scientific knowledge available at UNU-EHS in addressing global and emergent issues relevant to the EVES research agenda, for instance concerning ecosystem-based adaptation and disaster risk reduction;
  • Publish research results together with other researchers at UNU-EHS, with programme partners and beyond in international peer-reviewed journals and policy-relevant publications;
  • Ensure a global visibility of the division’s work; present EVES research in a variety of communication formats which are tailored towards a broader, non-academic audience, for example by writing op-eds and engaging in relevant discussion on social media in close cooperation with the UNU-ViE Communication Unit.

3. Manage resource mobilization strategies for the EVES division:

  • Lead the development of resource mobilization strategies with national and international donors for policy-relevant topics;
  • Manage the implementation of resource mobilization strategies, plans, and efforts;
  • Manage the financial resources of the section with integrity and ensure accountability to UNU-EHS governance structures and donors;
  • Establish and maintain relationships with government, partners, stakeholders and donors to achieve active collaboration, cooperation and alliances on implementation and resource mobilization;
  • Finalize high-quality donor reports; negotiate agreements with donors; establish a reporting accountability framework to ensure that donors are duly informed on a timely basis.

4. Conduct education and training initiatives in the thematic field of EVES:

  • Contribute to the Joint Master’s programme on “The Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security” with the University of Bonn by developing and implementing teaching module(s) related to ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and adaptation;
  • (Co-)Supervise MSc and PhD students.

5. Represent UNU and create and maintain strategic partnerships and networks:

  • Engage, based on excellent research, in international policy processes and agendas of relevance;
  • Target key policy processes with the scientific findings of the division;
  • Promote, strengthen and further develop existing cooperation with UN agencies (such as UNEP, UNCCD, UNDRR), the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), Friends of EbA (FEBA), global research networks, the University of Bonn, and other external partners;
  • Represent UNU-EHS on international scientific networks/boards and at high-level conferences and events.

6. Perform other duties as assigned by the Director or Deputy Director

Key performance indicators

  • Timely and quality development and implementation, as well as update, of a strategy for EVES and annual work plan;
  • Timely and quality delivery on operational goals, including performance of personnel; production of quality knowledge, research and policy outputs;
  • Timely development and implementation of resource mobilization efforts, especially third-party funding for the EVES divison, resulting in sufficient resources to implement the division’s strategy and secure sustainable funding;
  • UNU is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society;

Timely and quality delivery on education and training activities.



  • Inclusion â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” Act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet


  • Connect and collaborate â€” Build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  • Analyse and plan â€” 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 â€” 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 â€” Pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • Adapt and innovate â€” Demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


Education and certification

  • PhD in a relevant academic discipline, such as geography, environmental science, sustainability science, ecology, soil or forest science, agricultural sciences or related.



  • At least five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in research and academia, some of which preferably in an international setting is required;
  • Proven familiarity with working on EVES-specific topics is required;
  • Strong track record in the leadership and management of international research projects, networks, or teams is required;
  • Familiarity with the UN and/or other international institutions and mechanisms is required;
  • Proven experience with upscaling research results into global agendas and UN frameworks is required;
  • Excellent track record in securing third-party funding and managing multinational third-party funded projects is required;
  • Experience with the German research funding system, project administration and reporting is an asset;
  • Strong publication profile in the research areas related to the EVES division is required;
  • Experience in publishing research results in different media outlets is an asset;
  • Experience in (co-)supervising PhD and MSc students is required;
  • Experience in postgraduate programmes teaching at international higher education institutions is required
  • Experience in organizing international seminars and workshops is required


  • Excellent communication and didactic skills; initiative, strong conceptual abilities; sound judgment; resilience; excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; excellent leadership and team spirit.
  • Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.

Language Requirements

  •  Excellent writing, presentation and communication skills with a fluency in spoken and written English.
  • Knowledge of German or an additional 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.

Expected start date: As soon as possible

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.

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

Application Deadline:  22 February 2023


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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