Researcher/Senior Research (Water and Health)

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

Hamilton, ON, CA

United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH)

The UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health ( is a member of the UNU family of institutes, operating units, and programmes. Its vision is a world free of water problems where sustainable human development and environmental health and security are assured for all. Its mission is to help resolve pressing water challenges that are of concern to the United Nations, its Member States, and their people. UNU-INWEH pursues its mission through critical analysis and synthesis of existing bodies of scientific discovery; targeted research that identifies emerging policy issues; application of on-the-ground, scalable, science-based solutions to water issues; and global outreach. UNU-INWEH is the only entirely water-focused institute within the UNU System, and the only entirely water-related UN entity in Canada. UNU-INWEH is supported by the Government of Canada and hosted by McMaster University.

UNU-INWEH works on several broadly defined, interconnected thematic areas (projects): Water-related Sustainable Development Goals; Unconventional Water Resources, Water Security and Nexus, Managing Water-related Health Risks, and Managing Water Resources Variability and Risks for Increased Resilience. Climate change, gender dimensions, and capacity building are the cross-cutting themes.


UNU-INWEH is looking for a dynamic individual committed to policy-relevant research in the field of managing water resources for alleviation of environmental and human health risks. The incumbent will:

  • lead the UNU-INWEH project “Managing Water-related Health Risks”( In the nearest two years, this initiative needs to put the focus on: i) how management of rivers, aquifers, wetlands, and reservoirs can contribute to the eradication of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs); and ii) on ways to accelerate alleviation of health impacts of deteriorating water quality due to natural contaminants. These efforts contribute to several targets of  SDGs 3 and 6. The incumbent will also shape the future directions of this project in subsequent years.
  • 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.
  • collaborate closely and occasionally contribute “water and health” expertise to other UNU-INWEH projects (, particularly “Water Security and Nexus” and “Managing Water Variability and Risks for Increased Resilience”.
  • serve as the Coordinator of the “Another Drop” Public Lecture Series ( that presents insights on various water challenges in Canada and around the world.
  • attract and supervise interns involved in the project and contribute to other capacity building initiatives, particularly in “water and environment” and “water and health” areas, including expansion of on-line courses offered through Water Learning Center (, and contribute to Water Without Borders graduate programme (
  • communicate research findings at the local, regional and international scientific and policy workshops and fora; coordinate and co-organise 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 PhD in the field of water management, freshwater ecology, environmental management or closely related discipline
  • at least three (3) years post-PhD work experience in water resources research in the context of developing environmental water management and policy related to human health
  • good understanding of “one health” concept; knowledge of the concepts of “ecosystem services” and/or “environmental flows” are added advantages
  • 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 utilising 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
  • ability to understand and work across disciplines, beyond the core set of skills
  • work experience in developing countries
  • ability to prioritise work and multi-task; focus on delivery; self-motivation
  • 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
  • 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