Research Associate - World Risk and Adaptation Futures Academy

Job Type

Full Time Contract



Application Deadline:



Platz der Vereinten Nationen


About UN University

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, conflict prevention, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 SDGs, 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. For more information, please visit

The United Nations University Vice-Rectorate in Europe (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 organization, please visit the following websites:

United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security (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 and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP):

The institute’s VARMAP section 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.

Summer Academy Programme on World Risk and Adaptation Futures:

This three year programme funded by the MunichRe Foundation aims at convening three summer academies on the topic of future risk and adaptation trends in the context of environmental hazards and climate change. The academy programme has three key goals: First, it aims at advancing the scientific methods for assessing future exposure and vulnerability trends towards environmental and climatic hazards. Second it will apply these methods in order to advance the actionable knowledge on potential trends in future exposure and vulnerability. Third, it aims at fostering the science-policy-action interface by feeding the created knowledge and the debated advice directly into policy processes and communities of practices (particularly in partnership with UNFCCC). The development of the thematic work programme of each academy will be led by the academy’s dean and the VARMAP Head of Section.


Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS 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 Head of Section in the implementation of the Summer Academy project, including the organizational planning. Develop documents and edit scientific outcome publications;
  • Act as focal point to project partners at UNFCCC;
  • Support the Summer Academy in nurturing the dialogue with policy makers and communities of practices, e.g. through the development of submissions into key UNFCCC processes;
  • Support the organization of the meetings and communications for the academy’s advisory committee;
  • Coordinate the development and production of policy briefs and outreach material; 
  • Take up other duties related to the Summer Academy programme as required.

Required Qualifications and Experience:

  • Proven and strong track-record in academic work on disaster risk, environmental change and vulnerability assessment;
  • 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 recognized and peer-reviewed journals,
  • Proven track-record in the planning and implementation of workshops, summer schools or similar events;
  • Minimum one (1) year of relevant working experience;
  • 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 environment;
  • Excellent time management skills;
  • German language skills are an additional asset.

Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.

The United Nations University is a non-smoking environment.


Contract and Remuneration:

This is a full-time employment on a twelve (12) months Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with possibility for renewal subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funds, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding six (6) years. Remuneration will be within the range of the PSA pay scheme applied by UNU in Bonn, at PSA 3 level, commensurate with qualifications and experience.

This is a locally recruited post and no relocation allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor is he/she a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.

Level of Language Proficiency


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

Doctorate (PhD)

How To Apply

Application Procedure:

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 downloadable from the UNU website. Please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organizations;

·          An indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2018/UNU/EHS/PSA/RA/18);

·          Soft copies of the three most important academic publications;

·          Full contact information of three references.