Research Fellow and Academic Associate, Innovation and Education (PSA) – United Nations University (UNU)

Apply to Research Fellow and Academic Associate, Innovation and Education (PSA) – United Nations University (UNU).

Job description: Associate, Innovation and Education (PSA) – United Nations University (UNU)

About 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.

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UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe. For more information, please visit

United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. UNU-IAS is a UNU institute based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy-relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions.

Through its postgraduate education programmes UNU-IAS developes future international leaders with interdisciplinary understanding and skills needed to advance creative solutions to problems of sustainability.

UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia. For more information, please visit

The Innovation and Education (IVE) Programme is a new thematic area of UNU-IAS, aiming to promote research and practices on innovative and inclusive education and lifelong learning for sustainable development at all ages.

It reinforces evidence-based policy advice to translate global goals into local actions with a close alignment with the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for 2030 Roadmap.

One of the main activities is to strengthen the capacity of UNU-IAS regional and global networks, namely the Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD (RCEs: and ProSPER.Net (, and collaborate with the networks to facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships.


Under the general supervision of the UNU-IAS Director and the direct supervision of the Head of Innovation and Education Programme, the Research Fellow shall complete the following assignments.

1. Lead in developing, conducting and disseminating the overall research of the Programme

  • Conceptualize and develop annual research plans in line with the Strategic Objectives of Innovation and Education Programme in the UNU IAS Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and global SD/ESD agenda;
  • Undertake policy-oriented large-scale research that are supported by solid and scientific data;
  • Ensure the production of the quality and quantity of the research outputs, such as UNU-IAS policy briefs, peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and other forms of publications; and
  • Actively disseminate the research outputs in academic conferences and high-level UN events.

2. Design and implement capacity development programmes in partnership with RCEs, ProSPER.Net members as well as relevant UN and international organizations

  • Develop learner-oriented innovative pedagogy to teach sustainable development for various audience, including but not limited to, RCE members, youth, government officials, educators, professionals and ProSPER.Net postgraduate students;
  • Develop and conduct assessment to measure the effectiveness of the capacity building programmes; and
  • Analyze and write a report of the capacity building programme to reflect in the future design of the capacity building programmes.

3. Support the overall IVE academic affairs for Postgraduate Degree Programme

  • Supervise and guide UNU-IAS postgraduate students for their successful pursuit of the MSc or PhD degree studies in the IVE programme;
  • Design and teach postgraduate courses related to innovation and education, such as qualitative research methodologies, innovative pedagogy for education for sustainable development, learning technology to support the most marginalized learners, to name a few; and
  • Serve in various academic committees, including new student selection committee, thesis committee and research ethic committee.
  • Participate and contribute to the monthly Faculty Meetings.

4. Mobilize resources and partnership for IVE research and projects;

  • Contribute to the development of the overall IVE resource mobilization strategies;
  • Initiate and develop grant proposals for research and project activities;
  • Establish and maintain partnership with national and international donors and organizations and facilitate the active collaboration; and
  • Write a grant report in compliance with the grant rules and policies.

5. Perform other duties requested by the UNU-IAS Director and the IVE Programme Head



  • 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


Education and certification:

Ph.D. (no ABDs) in education, educational technology, instructional design, social sciences, development studies, environmental science, policy studies or related field


At least 3years of work experience with scholarly competence in international educational development, education for sustainability, innovation and technology in education, international and comparative education and/or environmental education

a proven record of peer-reviewed publications in the abovementioned areas

solid records in successful resource mobilization

demonstrated ability to incorporate concepts, practices and policies of education and learning into the framework of sustainable development, linking its ecological, social, cultural and economic dimensions

excellent analytical skills as well as demonstrated ability to multi-task and to manage own workload and schedule to deliver timely results

teaching experience and ability to teach postgraduate classes, especially in the areas of research methods, education for sustainable development and innovative learning technologies

work experience in international organizations as well as with member states at the national level is an asset

good team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity

Language Requirements: Associate, Innovation and Education (PSA) – United Nations University (UNU)

Excellent English-language oral and written communication skills; working knowledge of other UN official languages and Japanese is an advantage


The successful candidate will be employed under a local PSA contract and no relocation allowances apply. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an monthly net salary of the range JPY614,417 – 678,917 commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 30 days annual leave and a health insurance scheme.

JAPAN ONLY: PSA holders are required to enroll in Japan’s national social health care and pension insurance systems.

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: Associate, Innovation and Education (PSA) – United Nations University (UNU)

The duration of the initial contract is 1 year. This is Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU, with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration on a PSA contract with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA holders is 65 years.

Expected start date: 
1 July 2023

How to Apply:

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  • Apply via the apply link;
  • fill out the UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form); and
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position.

You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

Application Deadline:  

17 April 2023 (UTC)


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

Special notice

UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

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.

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 organization.

Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are also 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.






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