Research Associate

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

Bonn, , DE

Organisational Unit: UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)

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.

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

Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES) section

The EVES section at UNU-EHS 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 accumulating 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:

EvIDENz project

EVES is looking for an experienced Research Associate to support the BMWi-funded project on Earth Observation-based information products for drought risk reduction on the national level (EvIDENz). The EvIDENz project builds on the fact that international conventions and frameworks feature more and more goals, targets, priorities for actions, and indicators, which are quantifiable and measurable rather than being of a qualitative nature. The main objectives of the EvIDENz project are to develop and demonstrate methods and products on drought risk assessment that (i) respond to national needs in South Africa and Ukraine, and (ii) can be applied to monitor defined indicators of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR). Hereby, EvIDENz concentrates on the value-adding chain from satellite remote sensing data to information to knowledge to informed decision-making and implementation in the field of agricultural drought risk.

The project is coordinated by the Center for Remote Sensing of the Land Surfaces (ZFL) at the University of Bonn. UNU-EHS is project partner and responsible for the drought vulnerability and risk assessment components. Affiliated partners to the project are UN-SPIDER, the University of the Free State in South Africa, and the Space Research Institute of Ukraine.


Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS/Vice-Rector in Europe and the overall supervision of the Head of the Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystem Services (EVES) section, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

  • finalisation and synthesis of a literature review on drought vulnerability in Ukraine and South Africa considering social vulnerabilities under different farming systems and specific crop-related vulnerabilities
  • acquisition and preprocessing of geospatial data for the quantitative assessment of drought vulnerability and risk
  • assessing drought vulnerability and risk using indicator-based approaches, and developing vulnerability and risk profiles for the selected regions in Ukraine and South Africa
  • support for the preparation and organisation of the EvIDENz workshops in close collaboration with all project partners
  • assisting in developing a methodological procedure to integrate quantitative drought hazard and vulnerability to support the reporting for targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • drafting project deliverables and reports
  • contributing to dissemination activities (incl. scientific publications and presentations at conferences)
  • supporting the supervision of student assistants and interns working within the project
  • performing other related duties as required

Qualifications and experience requirements

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • Masters degree in Geography, Geosciences, Geographical Information Systems, Statistics, Spatial Planning, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management or other relevant discipline
  • experience in vulnerability and risk assessment
  • advanced knowledge of spatial analysis and Geographic Information Systems (ArcGIS, QGIS, etc.)
  • statistical skills and experience with statistical software packages (SPSS, STATA, etc.)
  • track-record in scientific writing is an asset
  • strong ability to carry out work independently
  • excellent communication skills with fluency in oral and written English is required
  • project management experience will be an asset
  • 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
  • German language skills are an additional asset


Remuneration will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Duration of contract

This is a 75% part-time  (30 h/week) employment on a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract until the end of the project runtime on 31st August 2018, with the possibility for renewal subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funds, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding six (6) years.

This is a locally recruited post; no relocation allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.

Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged. 

Starting date

As soon as possible