Research Fellow (Environmental Governance)

United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies

Bruges, Belgium 🇧🇪

About UN 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.

United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies

The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), established in 2001, is one of the research and training institutes of the United Nations University (UNU) network, based in Bruges, Belgium.

The specific mission of UNU-CRIS is to foster a better understanding of the processes of regional integration and cooperation and their implications in a changing world order. UNU-CRIS specialises in the comparative study of regional integration, monitoring and assessing regional integration worldwide and in the study of interactions between regional organisations and global institutions. As of October 2016, UNU-CRIS is cooperating with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Ghent University.

The role

UNU-CRIS is looking to recruit a Research Fellow to lead and help us advance the research, reputation, and impact of the Institute and, more specifically, our Climate and Natural Resources cluster.

As a Research Fellow and Cluster Coordinator, you will be expected to (1) champion pioneering research on regional (cross-border, transnational) governance in the area of climate and natural resources with a focus on the Global South that both furthers academic study and is policy-relevant in relation to the UN and UNU’s goals, (2) seek to acquire external research funding, through both responding to calls and seed funding, while building consortiums and partnerships, (3) seek active collaboration with other relevant UNU institutes, such as UNU-INRA and UNU-EHS, and (4) manage the cluster, the responsibilities of which include: accompanying growth of research portfolio, managing cluster resources, leading a small research team, mentoring interns, quality control, and external communication.

Duties & Responsibilities

The core responsibilities of the Research Fellow are as follows:

  1. Supporting the Director in realising the Institute’s goals, strategic plan, and research agenda:
    o Carrying out original and high-quality interdisciplinary research through contributing to existing
    projects and by pursuing your own research passions in the cluster topic.
    o Coordinating and managing the cluster to ensure it effectively meets the outlined goals and aims.
  2. Develop the link between the Institute’s external partners in the public policy space and the cluster:
    o Externally, the Research Fellow will build relationships with external stakeholders, and will work with
    external partners to identify common areas of interest, to define the scope of research projects, to
    identify resources for projects, and to establish relevant timelines.
    o Within UNU, the Research Fellow will develop active collaboration with other relevant UNU
    o Internally, the Research Fellow will shape the academic direction of the cluster, working with current
    cluster members and further expanding its personnel to produce rigorous policy-relevant research.
  3. Participate in knowledge sharing and exchange activities. This may include:
    o Representing the Institute at external conferences and events.
    o Working with the Institute’s communications team to ensure that the cluster’s policy-relevant
    research is effectively promoted across various media channels.
    o Working in close coordination with other members of the Institute and the cluster to maximise their
    influence on ongoing and developing policy debates.
    o Working with the Policy Officer to develop capacity building and training programmes, aimed at both
    academia and policymakers.

Required qualifications and experience

Essential qualifications and experience include:

  • a PhD in a discipline that provides suitable theoretical and empirical foundations for conducting research in the area of environmental governance
  • at least five (5) years postdoctoral experience
  • demonstrable interest in regional/cross-border/transnational governance in the area of climate and natural resources, with a focus on the Global South
  • a strong track record of scientific publication, which may include journal articles, book chapters, and policy reports/white papers
  • strong quantitative analytical skills
  • proven ability to communicate research and advocate policy at multiple levels and to diverse audiences
  • ability to successfully collaborate in a multidisciplinary environment and to manage the delivery of projects
  • professional-level proficiency in English
  • willing to relocate to Belgium (once COVID-19 restrictions allow)

Desirable qualifications and experience include:

  • previous experience in the United Nations system, and knowledge/understanding of the United Nations and its mission
  • experience in a policy environment
  • experience in setting up research collaborations involving multiple stakeholders, in grant proposal writing, and in attracting external research project funding
  • experience managing people
  • proficiency in other UN official languages

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.

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.

Remuneration & contract

This full-time post is offered at the P4 scale within the United Nations Common System of Salaries, Allowances and Benefits, with a starting gross salary of US$90,970.

Pursuant to the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and the UNU Personnel Policy, academic staff are initially appointed for a fixed term of one year. Subsequent appointments are subject to satisfactory service and are limited to maximum periods of three years. The combined total of such fixed-term appointments (initial and renewal) normally shall not exceed six years.

The post carries the standard set of UN entitlements/benefits, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant for eligible children, removal expenses and home leave. For more information please visit:

Relocation expenses

In the case of new staff members who have been internationally recruited, UNU usually meets the costs of travel from the place of recruitment to the duty station for the staff member and their eligible dependants. It also usually meets the costs of shipping and insuring household effects. Assistance with visa formalities may be provided, and UNU can arrange initial hotel accommodation.

Starting date

1st March 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.