Associate Programme Officer for Sustainability Assessment

United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)

Dresden, Germany 🇩🇪

POSITION: Fixed Term Appointment (P-2)
LOCATION: Dresden, Germany
CLOSING DATE: 2021•08•15

About UN University

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering 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.

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals’ full breadth, 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.

United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)

UNU-FLORES develops strategies to resolve pressing issues in the sustainable use and integrated management of environmental resources such as water, soil, waste, energy, and other geo-resources that are of concern to the United Nations and its Member States – particularly in developing and emerging economies. Based in Dresden, Germany, the Institute engages in research, capacity development, postgraduate teaching, advanced training, and knowledge dissemination to advance the Resource Nexus. For more information, visit

Sustainability Assessment for the Resource Nexus

The short and long-term implementation of Sustainability Assessment is fundamental to the comprehensive understanding of the Resource Nexus and for driving policy creation for resource management that considers social, economic, and environmental dimensions, without disregarding other facets, such as technical, institutional, and cultural. The integration of the multi-dimensional concept of resilience in sustainability assessments is also emphasised, considering the complementary character and synergetic potential of these perspectives. In general, Sustainability Assessment has been highlighted as a valuable analytical viewpoint that can support the operationalisation of the Resource Nexus concept. However, due to the various definitions and methods available, there is a challenge to find the suitable direction in which Sustainability Assessment can support Resource Nexus research.

The overall objective is to assess sustainability from its initial design to its application in a comprehensive analysis, namely by interconnecting different resources and addressing their dimensions of sustainability. Considering the plethora of methods for Sustainability Assessment, a multi-metric approach based on the screening of data, context analysis, integration of stakeholders’ perspective, and the selection of the most appropriate assessment method to support the solution is envisioned. Additionally, to tackle the Nexus problem, an analysis across multiple scales and in a transdisciplinary manner through assimilating stakeholder and wickedness analyses is recommended. Sustainability Assessment supports a Resource Nexus Approach for all relevant environmental resources, including water, soil, waste, energy, and other geo-resources, as well as biodiversity. Sustainability Assessment promotes research beyond the siloed biophysical-oriented view of a resource by involving all three dimensions, namely, social, economic, and environmental. This aligns with the comprehensive and holistic view proposed by the Resource Nexus perspective. The Associate Programme Officer will spearhead this research theme and associated research with the goal of tackling Nexus problems beyond the siloed biophysical-oriented views of resources.


This full-time position is partly funded by the ongoing BASF project “The role of monetary and other specific aspects in sustainability measurement and assessment” in conjunction with TU Dresden. Under the overall authority and direct supervision of the Director of UNU-FLORES, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • establish, develop, and lead research on Sustainability Assessment for the Resource Nexus
  • conduct research activities related to the third-party funded project and the field of integrated resources management carried out by the Institute in collaboration with junior and senior researchers
  • support collaboration and partnership with TU Dresden, including PRISMA, the Centre for Sustainability Assessment and Policy at TU Dresden
  • coordinate activities related to budget funding and fundraising (project development and submissions, progress reports, financial statements) and preparation of related documents and reports
  • publish research outcomes in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and policy briefs; actively represent the Institute at conferences where appropriate; and act as editor of special issues
  • conduct policy analyses and advance the Institute’s advocacy activities which are relevant to Sustainability Assessment for the Resource Nexus
  • contribute to the capacity development work conducted by the Institute, such as organising workshops, meetings, symposiums, and field activities
  • supervision of graduate students and interns as well as co-supervision of PhD students
  • work in conjunction with the Partnerships and Liaison Officer to establish contacts with other UN entities, UNU institutes, governments, NGOs, academia, think tanks, and the private sector
  • contribute to the UN- and UNU-wide network and reports that are relevant to the resource nexus
  • contribute to the Institute’s teaching activities, especially e-learning and capacity development
  • perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor and the Director

Required qualifications and experience

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • a PhD in Business Administration or another closely related fields with a focus on sustainability assessment and integrated management of environmental resources;
  • a minimum of two (2) years of post-PhD, progressive and relevant work experience, including managing research projects in academia, research, or related institutions; more than five (5) years of experience would be highly advantageous;
  • a track record of research publications in areas related to Sustainability Assessment for the Resource Nexus or a related field is mandatory;
  • a strong quantitative background in statistics and data analysis is required
  • experience working in developing countries would be highly advantageous
  • experience obtaining research funding from a variety of national and/or international agencies
  • established skills in project and team management as well as experience of PhD supervision
  • proficiency in English, both in oral and written communications is required; proficiency in German would be an asset
  • strong planning, organisation, and time management skills, with the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently
  • highly self-motivated, innovative, and organised, yet detail-oriented, with a professional and conscientious attitude and the ability to independently prioritise
  • an excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills, as demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity

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 in accordance with the UN Staff Rules and Regulations and the UNU Personnel Policy. The combined duration of fixed-term appointments shall not exceed six (6) years.

Starting date

As soon as possible.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Special notice

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector’s authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply and become part of the organisation. Applications from developing countries and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job descriptions, experience, and educational requirements.

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