Senior Researcher (Water Policy and Economics)

UNU Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU‐INWEH)

Hamilton, ON, CA

We are looking for an outstanding individual committed to policy-relevant research, international capacity development and with extensive international networks to help advance UNU-INWEH’s impact and visibility. More specifically, the incumbent will: 

  • Lead the project “Water-related Sustainable Development Goals” ( This is the mature initiative that focuses on provision of tools, processes, and overall information support to UN Member States to accelerate progress towards achieving SDG 6 (the “Water Goal”) and ensure that water is visible and is accounted for throughout the whole continuum of Sustainable Development Agenda. The project to date developed the SDG Policy Support System (PSS): and tested it in 5 trial countries. The approach is closely linked to UNWater’s global monitoring initiatives. The Senior Researcher will build on the achievements of the Project and will shape its future direction. 
  • Provide expertise in water policy analysis and water economics to other UNU-INWEH projects.
  • Lead the fundraising efforts for the above project specifically and contribute to overall fundraising efforts of the institute including the development of cross-thematic proposals at UNU-INWEH with other project leaders.
  • Serve as the Co-Director of Water Without Borders (WWB) Programme at UNU-INWEH. WWB is a collaborative graduate certificate programme between UNU-INWEH and McMaster University that addresses global water issues across geopolitical and disciplinary borders. The Programme involves regular evening classes with a cohort of around 10 students, and an annual one-week trip to a country experiencing water problems.
  • Attract and supervise interns involved in SDG Project and other projects of UNU-INWEH.
  • Communicate research findings at local, regional and international scientific and policy workshops and fora; co-ordinate and co-organize such events as required.
  • Publish research results in peer-reviewed journals, UNU-INWEH reports, policy briefs, op-eds, and blogs.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned by the Director / Assistant Director of UNU-INWEH.

The incumbent will report to UNU-INWEH Assistant Director. 

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • A Ph.D. in the field of water policy, water / environmental economics, or closely related discipline.
  • At least five (5) years post-PhD. work experience in water resources research in the context of developing water policy, water economics or financing.
  • Project management experience; financial and administrative work in an international environment.
  • Ability to identify important emerging trends in the water sector and to carry out analytical research utilizing the variety of data and information sources to distill policy-relevant messages.
  • Demonstrated peer-reviewed publication record on the above and related topics. Ability to publish other products, e.g. provocative op-eds and blog posts.
  • Strong public outreach record and ability to present research outputs to a variety of national and international audiences; excellent networking skills.
  • Ability to develop research proposals for international projects; good understanding of various donor priorities and operation.
  • Knowledge of UN system and previous explicit engagement with UN-Water are added advantages.
  • Ability to understand and work across disciplines, beyond the core set of skills.
  • Ability to teach / explain complex cross-disciplinary issues. University lecturing experience and/or knowledge of the academic environment is an added advantage.
  • Work experience in developing countries.
  • Ability to prioritize work and multi-task; focus on delivery; self-motivation. Page 3 of 3
  • Knowledge of Results Based Management, Theory of Change and ability to focus on policy impact.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; and
  • Fluency in oral and written English; knowledge of any other UN official languages is advantage.

Remuneration and other conditions of service:

Remuneration will be commensurate with qualification and experience of the successful candidate. The salary is exempt from Canadian income taxes. UNU has its own medical insurance for employees contracted under a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA). This is a full-time employment on a two (2) year Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract, with the possibility for renewal subject to fund availability and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of this appointment shall not exceed six (6) years, as per the UNU Personnel Policy. The successful candidate will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.

Starting Date: 1 November 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter

Application Procedure:

Interested applicants should submit their applications by e-mail in the form of an Adobe Acrobat PDF file to [email protected] Applications must include the following:

  • A separate cover letter setting out how the applicant’s qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  • A completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form downloadable from the UNU website
  • Do not use similar forms provided by other United Nations organizations and do not submit your curriculum vitae;
  • An indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2018/UNU/INWEH/PSA/SR/43)

Applications that do not include all the requested information will not be considered.

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations – Chapter 3, article 8).