Associate Academic Officer

United Nations University (UNU)

Bonn, Germany 🇩🇪

  • Organizational 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

    Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP)

    The institute’s VARMAP section 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.


    Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS and the supervision of the Head of the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

    • support the Head of Section in the implementation of the ZURES project, which deals with “Future-oriented Vulnerability and Risk Analysis as a Tool to Support the Resilience of Cities and Urban Infrastructure”

    • support the Head of Section in the implementation of the KIRMIN project, which deals with “Critical Infrastructure Resilience and Minimum Supply Concepts”

    • within both projects, analyse original empirical data from household surveys and expert interviews, perform document and content analysis of legal frameworks for the design and management of critical infrastructure contingencies, draft scientific publications, draft project reports, draft outreach and communication material in English and German language, present project results at international scientific conferences, and represent the projects at political platforms (in English and German language)

    • take a leading role in developing research grant proposals within topics of interest to VARMAP

    • support the supervision of MSc students

    • contribute to the tutoring of junior researchers within the VARMAP section

    • teach courses within the Joint MSc Programme in Geography of Environmental Risk and Humans Security

    • take up other related duties in the VARMAP section as required

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • a proven and strong track record in academic work on disaster risk, environmental change, vulnerability assessment, and critical infrastructure resilience

    • PhD degree in Geography, Development Sociology, Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering, or other relevant discipline

    • proven track record of scientific publishing in internationally recognised and peer-reviewed journals

    • proven track-record in the design and application of social science research methods, covering qualitative and quantitative methods

    • a minimum two (2) years of relevant working experience

    • proven track record in the development of successful research grant proposals for a diversity of funders

    • proven track record in the successful management of multidisciplinary and international research projects

    • experience in the management of projects funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is an additional asset

    • work experience in an international organisation is an additional asset

    • 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 an international and intercultural environment

    • excellent time management skills

    Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.


    We offer a competitive net salary (tax-exempted) at P2 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 UNU Rector reserves the right to appoint suitable candidate at a lower level than 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.

    The United Nations University is a non-smoking environment.

    Starting date

    As soon as possible