Associate Academic Officer

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. For more information, please visit

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 split between the two sections: Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) and Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES).

VARMAP 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 Africa, and Europe.

EVES conducts original, policy-relevant research addressing the vulnerability and resilience of social-ecological systems, where the concept of ecosystem services is of central importance. Specifically, EVES aims to understand how social-ecological systems are affected by diverse environmental hazards such as water and land degradation, floods, and droughts as well as how ecosystems can support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Besides original research, the section advocates for ecosystem-based solutions, for example, through engagement in the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR). In the frame of the DELTAS project, EVES seeks to develop a Global Delta Vulnerability Index (GDVI) and works in the Mekong, Amazon and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna deltas.


Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS/Vice-Rector in Europe and the supervision of the Heads of the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section and the Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES) section, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

  • conduct the analysis of secondary and primary data using descriptive, bi- and multi-variate statistical methods including regression models
  • set up and run GIS projects for the integrated geo-spatial analysis and visualisation of spatial as well as other statistical data related to risk and vulnerability
  • conduct data mining at global and national providers of socio-economic statistical data and base data for GIS applications
  • perform data cleaning, quality checks, processing, and systemization of secondary statistical data as well as primary data gathered in household surveys
  • provide technical support and guidance to the development and calculation of vulnerability and risk indices
  • support the sections for any statistical and spatial analysis necessary for relevant projects
  • support the supervision of PhD and MSc students with regards to training and advice in the field of statistical and geo-spatial methods
  • Support the section heads to develop and draft applications for research grants in both German and English language;
  • support the section heads in the management of research projects
  • teach conceptual and methodological courses within the MSc programme in Geography of Environmental Risk and Humans Security
  • perform other related duties as required

Qualifications and experience requirements

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • PhD degree in Geosciences, Geographical Information Systems, Statistics, Geography, Spatial Planning, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management or other relevant discipline
  • minimum of two (2) years of relevant working experience
  • advanced knowledge of ArcGIS (especially spatial analyst)
  • advanced statistical skills and experience with statistical software packages (preferably SPSS)
  • advanced skills in the design and layout of maps and other graphs to illustrate research results in vector-based graphics environments (e.g., Adobe Illustrator or InDesign)
  • excellent skills to explain and communicate statistical knowledge to non-experts
  • experience in the design and calculation of composite indices for the assessment of risk and vulnerability
  • strong track record in scientific publications
  • strong experience in the development of research grant proposals for major European and German donor organisations
  • excellent communication skills with fluency in oral and written English as well as German is required
  • strong ability to carry out work independently
  • good team player with ability to work in international and intercultural environment; experience in international organisations would be an advantage
  • excellent time management skills
  • takes initiatives and has flexible attitude to work, as appropriate
  • work experience in an international organisation is an advantage


We offer competitive net salary (tax-exempted) at P-2 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 System, 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 about United Nations salary and entitlement/benefits, please visit

The UNU Rector reserves the right to appoint a suitable candidate at a lower level than that advertised.

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment and an internationally recruited post. The initial appointment will be for a period 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 United Nations staff is 65 years old.

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

As soon as possible