Academic Programme Officer

Tokyo, Japan 🇯🇵

United Nations University objectives

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate training, and the dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. The University functions as a think tank for the United Nations system, contributes to capacity building, particularly in developing countries, and serves as a platform for new and innovative ideas and dialogue.  

UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

UNU-IAS is a new UNU institute, created in January 2014 through the consolidation of the former UNU Institute of Advanced Studies, Yokohama, and the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace, Tokyo. It is based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia.  For more information please visit


Under the supervision of the UNU-IAS Director, the Academic Programme Officer will manage a set of academic programmes and projects and develop relevant activities in the institute’s three thematic areas: sustainable societies, natural capital and biodiversity, and global change and resilience. Specific responsibilities will include:

  • providing academic oversight and leadership of the UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programmes
  • developing, planning, organising, and managing academic and research activities as well as publication and dissemination efforts in the programme area(s)
  • producing original, policy-oriented research and developing policy recommendations on issues relevant to the wider UN community
  • disseminating research outputs through policy papers, participation in conferences, and media commentary
  • securing external funding for academic and research activities in the programme areas
  • planning and organising scientific meetings and workshops
  • developing and maintaining collaborative links with the UN system and international organisations, and representing the University in related conferences and meetings
  • formulating project proposals and assessing external proposals and refining them for implementation by UNU or for submission for external funding
  • monitoring and evaluating activities and submitting periodic reports, and preparing descriptions of programme activities as required
  • designing and coordinating courses, delivering lectures, and supervising students as part of the UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programmes
  • performing other duties as assigned

Required qualifications and experience

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • advanced university degree (PhD) in environmental science or a related field
  • at least seven (7) years of relevant, progressively responsible experience in university-level teaching, research, and programme development, or within international organisations or research/training institutions
  • detailed knowledge of the UN system and of its functions and activities
  • demonstrated ability and experience in the development, planning, implementation, and evaluation of research and training programmes
  • a strong international research background, with proven academic achievements in relevant fields and an excellent publication record
  • knowledge of, and familiarity with, funding sources and a proven ability to raise external funds
  • ability to work harmoniously in a multicultural environment is required; in this context, a broad range of contacts within the international community of scholars, especially in developing countries, should be demonstrated
  • English fluency is essential, and so is computer literacy; working knowledge of other official UN languages is an advantage


We offer competitive net salary (tax-exempted) at P-4 level commensurate to level of experience and allowances including post adjustment. Post adjustment is subject to change.

The post carries the standard set of United Nations benefits and entitlements for international positions in the UN Common Systems, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant, removal expenses and home leave.

For more information, please visit

The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The period of initial contract would be for a one-year term with the possibility of renewal on a 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 United Nations staff is 65 years.

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 United Nations University.

Starting date

1 June (negotiable)