Associate Academic Officer

Application procedure
    Bonn, Germany
    UTC +2

    Organisational 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 Vice-Rectorate in Europe (UNU-ViE)

    UNU-ViE concentrates on relationships between advancing science and technology for human security. In addition to its scientific core mandate, it administers the central units providing service to five UNU entities in Bonn ( The central administration units include Finance, Human Resources, Information Communication Technology, Communication Services, Procurement, and General Administration. These units also assist with the administration of new UNU initiatives in Europe and Africa. For more information on the organisation, please visit

    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 & Adaptive Planning section (VARMAP)

    VARMAP 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/Vice-Rector in Europe 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 development of a novel risk assessment and report product, focusing on future trends in risk and vulnerability towards natural hazards and climate change impacts from global to regional scales
    • develop innovative methods to quantitatively model and assess future trends in risk and vulnerability, covering not only trends in bio-geo-physical environmental hazards but especially also in socio-economic changes affecting societal vulnerability and response capacity in the future (e.g., demographic change, income, socio-economic disparities, urbanisation)
    • conduct the analysis of secondary and primary data using descriptive, bi- and multi-variate statistical methods including regression models
    • conduct data mining at global and national providers of socio-economic statistical data and base data for GIS applications
    • perform data cleaning, quality checks, processing, and systemisation of secondary statistical data as well primary data gathered in household surveys
    • support UNU-EHS scientists in modelling and statistical analysis necessary for relevant projects
    • support the supervision of PhD and MSc students with regards to training and advice in the field of modeling and statistical methods
    • support the Head of Sections to develop and draft applications for research grants
    • support the Head of Sections in the management of research projects
    • teach conceptual and methodological courses within the Joint MSc programme in Geography of Environmental Risk and Humans Security
    • take up other related duties as required.

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • an exceptionally strong track record in scientific methods to model and analyze economic and social changes at various scales, e.g., through integrated assessment modeling
    • PhD degree in Geography, Economics, Sociology, Demography, Geographical Information Systems, Statistics, Spatial Planning, or other relevant discipline
    • proven track record of scientific publishing in internationally recognised and peer-reviewed journals
    • minimum of one (1) year of relevant working experience
    • advanced skills in statistics and experience with statistical software packages (preferably SPSS)
    • excellent skills to explain and communicate statistical knowledge, modelling tools, and research findings to policymakers, students, and non-experts
    • background in the field of disaster risk research and/or climate change adaptation studies is an asset
    • knowledge of Geographic Information Systems is an additional asset
    • experience in the design and calculation of composite indices for the assessment of risk and vulnerability is an additional asset
    • experience in the development of research grant proposals
    • excellent communication skills with fluency in oral and written English is required
    • strong ability to carry out work independently
    • good team player with ability to work in international and intercultural environments
    • excellent time management skills


    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 mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years old.  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.

    Starting date

    As soon as possible

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

    • a cover letter setting out how your 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 (2017/UNU/EHS/FTA/AAO/38)
    • a soft copy of your three most important scientific publications
    • full contact information of three references

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    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)

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