Senior Research Associate

Application procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement – PSA
    Bonn, Germany
    UTC +1

    United Nations 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 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

    Eurac Research is located in the hearts of the Alps in the multilingual region of South Tyrol, Italy. Eurac has been established as a private, non-profit, interdisciplinary research center in Bolzano in 1992. With 16 centres and institutes, Eurac Research provides expertise and develops practical solutions in the fields of environment, migration, minority rights, medicine, energy, and innovative technologies. Eurac contributes to healthy societies, fosters the development particularly of mountain regions as well as the livelihood of their communities, and supports the management of social, cultural and ecological diversity.

    UNU-EHS and Eurac Research initiated a joint research programme that started in 2019. The GLOBAL MOUNTAIN SAFEGUARD RESEARCH (GLOMOS) programme combines the scientific profiles and capacities of both institutions involved and envisions the enhancement of disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (CCA), emergency response preparedness (ERP), and sustainable development in global mountain regions. GLOMOS seeks to increase the resilience of mountain communities towards natural and man-made hazards and disaster risks, to protect the wealth of biological and cultural diversity, and to support the sustainable development of these highly sensitive social-ecological systems. The GLOMOS mission is to turn science into action by strengthening solution-oriented and innovative management of disaster risks in mountains through an integrative approach fostering transdisciplinary research and technology transfer. The GLOMOS programme bridges between science and global conventions: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), the Paris Climate Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals.


    Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS / Vice-Rector in Europe and the supervision of the Head of the GLOMOS Bonn office, the successful candidate will be entrusted with predominantly academic/scientific tasks, including some administrative activities as following:

    • develop and design research questions and scientific projects with the GLOMOS team
    • support ongoing scientific project activities
    • co-lead fund-raising activities for the GLOMOS programme
    • co-lead the GLOMOS research activities in South America
    • publish research results, together with GLOMOS staff and other researchers at UNU-EHS and beyond, in international peer-reviewed journals and other outlets (e.g. book chapters)
    • support the communication and dissemination of GLOMOS activities and project results including the provision of web-content
    • support planning, organisation, and documentation of GLOMOS events, conferences, and strategic meetings
    • promote, strengthen, and develop networking to establish scientific partnerships with relevant institutions at all levels; maintain and further develop existing cooperation with UN agencies, international mountain research networks, the University of Bonn, and other external partners
    • support the continuous monitoring of GLOMOS activities and preparation of annual reports for both institutions (Eurac and UNU-EHS)
    • support mission travel, input, and process travel requests in close collaboration with the GLOMOS office in Bolzano and the finance and administration unit at UNU-EHS
    • perform other related duties as required

    Key performance indicators

    Key performance indicators of the position include:

    • timely and quality development and implementation of scientific projects
    • successful resource mobilisation on GLOMOS research activities
    • quality and level of engagement with research partners
    • timely and quality delivery of inputs to annual reports for Eurac and UNU-EHS
    • UNU is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society
    • quality and level of engagement with Mountain Partnership (FAO), the International Mountain Society (IMS), and related networks and working groups



    • Inclusion — take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin, or any other aspect of identity
    • Integrity — act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards
    • Humility — demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others
    • Humanity — act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity, and equality on a healthy planet


    • Connect and Collaborate — build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
    • Analyse and Plan — seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions, and plan action
    • Deliver Results with Positive Impact — hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
    • Learn and Develop — pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
    • Adapt and Innovate — demonstrate flexibility, agility, and the ability to think and act in novel ways

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience of the position include:

    • a master’s degree or its equivalent in a scientific discipline relevant for the thematic areas of GLOMOS, preferably in the area of natural sciences
    • at least 3 (three) years of professional experience in research (including field work) and academia on concepts and methods related to vulnerability and risk assessment, disaster risk reduction, and climate change adaptation
    • advanced knowledge of data integration and analysis, remote sensing, and GIS applications as well as flood forecasting and flood modelling systems, preferably in global southern countries is very desirable
    • at least 2 (two) years of experience in project management and project implementation, including planning, organisation and documentation of events, conferences, and strategic meetings
    • good communication and writing skills with respect to scientific as well as non-scientific texts
    • strong publication profile in the research areas related to the GLOMOS program
    • good record of successful scientific fund-raising activities
    • experience in research and scientific project management preferably in an international and multicultural environment
    • familiarity with mountain environments and with existing international mountain research networks and related scientific institutions would be a strong asset
    • knowledge and experience of processes and procedures of United Nations agencies or international organisations would be an asset
    • reflexive team player with high interest to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
    • fluency in spoken and written English and Spanish is required; fluency in German is highly desirable; knowledge in any additional language, especially French, Portuguese, or Russian, is an asset


    The successful candidate will be employed under a local PSA contract and no relocation allowances apply. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary, commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 30 days annual leave and a health insurance scheme.

    UNU is not liable for any taxes that may be levied on the remuneration you receive under this contract. Payment of any such taxes remains the sole responsibility of PSA holders.

    Duration of contract

    This is a negotiable 50% to full-time (50, 60, 75, 80, 90 per cent) employment on a one (1) year Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funds, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA is 65 years.

    Expected start date

    As soon as possible.


    Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by interview(s), background checks and references.

    Special notice

    PSA holders do no hold international civil servant status nor are they considered a “staff member” as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.

    PSA holders 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 other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications by e-mail (to, and must include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2021/UNU/EHS/PSA/SRA/GLOMOS/92)
    • full contact information of three references

    UNU does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web