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

Bonn, Germany 🇩🇪

United Nations University mission

For the past four decades, the United Nations University (UNU) has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, 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.

UNU-EHS mission

The UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) aims to carry out cutting-edge research on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change. The Institute’s research promotes policies and programmes to reduce these risks, while taking into account the interplay between environmental and societal factors. The Institute is located in Bonn, Germany.


The Director is the chief academic and administrative officer of UNU-EHS and has the responsibility for the direction, organisation, administration, and programmes of the Institute under the direction of the Rector of UNU. The Director will be responsible for maintaining excellent donor relationships and securing fundraising for the Institute’s programmes. S/he will also ensure the effective implementation of the UNU Gender Action Plan, including gender mainstreaming throughout the Institute’s research programmes.

The Director should have academic qualifications that lend to UNU-EHS prestige in the international scholarly community, guarantee scientific excellence, and provide leadership and guidance for the conduct of UNU-EHS activities. His/her focus shall be on identifying and supervising innovative research to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience of communities and societies in the face of environmental risks in light of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals. S/he shall also strengthen the Institute’s efforts in offering evidence to key policy makers in the host country and beyond.

Required qualifications

Requires qualifications include:

  • a doctoral qualification in a relevant scientific or social academic discipline, such as environmental studies, geography, agriculture, climate change, or economics
  • a strong research background and publications in areas related to addressing risks and societal change
  • demonstrated experience of administration (including finance and human resources management)
  • previous experience of research programme leadership yielding cutting-edge scientific and publishing excellence
  • strong international fundraising skills and past success in securing support from multiple funders
  • proven sensitivity to gender factors (in administration and in research)
  • demonstrated strong leadership skills allied to inclusive management
  • the ability to interact with colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds in both industrialised and developing countries
  • excellent communication skills, including with diverse stakeholders (such as institutional donors, academics, students from a range of countries and cultures)
  • proven commitment to human development and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda supporting sustainable development
  • fluency in English (required); fluency in German and official languages of the United Nations is desirable

Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.


Approximate net annual salary of US$109,188 including post adjustment, which is subject to change. The post carries the standard set of United Nations 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.

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The Rector reserves the right to appoint suitable candidates at a lower category.

Selection process

Shortlisted candidates may be required to complete a written assignment as part of the interview process.

The Director of the Institute shall be appointed by the Rector after consultation with the Advisory Board and the Chair of the UNU Council.

Duration of contract

The period of initial contract is for a four-year term with the possibility of renewal, subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The mandatory retirement age in the United Nations is 65.

Starting date

It is expected that the appointee will take up the position by 1 November 2018.