UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY RESEARCH ASSOCIATE – Water in context of Water Energy Food Nexus and Climate Actions (PSA)

POSITION: United Nations University Research Associate – Water in context of Water Energy Food Nexus and Climate Actions (PSA)
LOCATION: Bonn, Germany
CLOSING DATE: 2023•02•09

About UN University (UNU)

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. For more information, please visit

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The United Nations University Vice-Rectorate in Europe (UNU-ViE), established in 2007, is one of two Vice-Rectorates and the only one located outside Japan.

UNU-ViE seeks to strengthen the presence of UNU in Europe and supports the worldwide institutional development of UNU by facilitating collaboration across UNU and the UN, and sharing knowledge and expertise through the development of joint activities and projects. In addition to its core mandate, it administers the central units providing service to both UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS. For more information, please visit:

The Pan African Cooperation and Educational Technologies (PACET) Programme at UNU-ViE aims to strengthen research, educational, and institutional capacities of UNU-EHS in global South with a focus on Africa.

PACET fosters cooperation between UNU and African institutions in higher education, research, policy, and practice to develop innovative methods and appropriated solutions to address challenges particularly within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Pairs Agreement, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

Water-Energy-Food (WEF) in context of Climate Change addresses from a nexus standpoint represents a main research pillar at PACET. Activities and projects on the topic aim at generating new scientific and policy-relevant knowledge to support sustainable socio-economic, environmentally-friendly transformation and increase resilience against climate change in Global South with a focus on Africa.

Digitalization respectively frontier technologies, green innovations and entrepreneurship in the context of the WEF nexus, and technology-enhanced learning extend the core research activities of the program.

Educational technologies technology-enhanced learning or the aim being to strengthen the educational and research capacities of UNU-EHS and its partner institutions with innovative and engaging educational and collaborative working experiences.

PACET activities on green innovations and entrepreneurship aims to interaction and processes between stakeholders of green entrepreneurship ecosystem, contribute to the development framework and appropriated policies that brings together actors and stakeholders to identify and ideates solutions, strengthen capacities and skills of innovators, organize and support innovations, innovators and entrepreneurs with a focus on women and youths.

Responsibilities of the United Nations University Research Associate

Under the overall authority of the Vice-Rector in Europe and Director of UNU-EHS and the direct supervision of the Head of the PACET Programme the appointee will principally be responsible for the following:

  1. Contribute to research on water in context of WEF and Climate Actions

Provision of strategic and scientific support to further develop the PACET research profile and activities on Water in context of WEF together with the PACET team
Developing and strengthening PACET`s activities and institutional and technical capacity-building related to parties reporting their progress to UNFCCC and climate actions for countries in the Global South as well as on regional agendas e.g.. Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Contribute to scientific collaboration with other Sections within EHS to exploit synergies in section work.

Co-) author scientific articles in peer reviewed journal, chapters in edited volumes and policy reports and briefs and present results at scientific conferences.
Support to Project management and implementation
Support the coordination of the following projects: APV MAGA, ImpulSouth, COINS and further projects related to water in context of WEF and Climate Actions

Assist the program support staff in monitoring finance and budgetary status of projects and provide officers responsible with information as required; Support the preparation of activities and financial reports in accordance with the terms and conditions of donor contracts and UNU policies
Use Pelikan and other project management software to accurately report on the progress of the projects internally and externally.

Contribute to the acquisition of third-party funding and fundraising
Support the development of proposal for acquisition of third-party funding (individual and in consortia) on the themes of Water in context of WEF nexus and Climate Actions
Contribute to outreach and strategic cooperation with Africa

Strengthening the collaboration between ViE/PACET and UNU institutes particularly in Europe
Liaise with African, international actors and institutions of higher education, research and development cooperation in/with Africa
Contribute to different dialogue formats and organizing programme-related events and planning processes;

Contribute to capacity building
Support in the organization of educational activities and events: semester and block courses, seminars, workshops, summer schools in Germany and abroad.
Support the Supervision MSc theses on relevant topics
Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor

Key performance indicators for the United Nations University Research Associate

High quality engagement with project team and implementation partners
Timely and quality achievement of project indicators and submission of deliverables
Timely and quality collection and analysis of relevant primary and secondary data and development of relevant research material.
Contribution to PACET, institute and UNU mission.


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: United Nations University Research Associate

Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), water technology, water policy or engineering, environmental sciences, Sustainability science or other relevant disciplines;


A minimum of two (2) years of working experience in a relevant field, preferably in an international and multi-cultural environment
Familiarity with concepts and frameworks in water in context of WEF
Experience with water software packages essential (modeling)
Experience on Paris agreement, NDCs, and the UNFCCC processes e.g. global stock take, COP, SB, BUR etc.

Good writing skills for applications for research grants;
Advanced knowledge on data collection, integration and analysis of relevant primary and secondary data and development of relevant research material and outputs.
Experience in digital technologies in the context of water and agriculture is an asset;


Strong team player with strong interpersonal skills committed to working in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
Existing professional networks on water in Africa, Germany, international actors and institutions of higher education, research and development cooperation in/with Africa
Proficient in the use of MS Office applications;
Good communication and writing skills (academic and non-academic)

Language Requirements for the United Nations University Research Associate

Excellent writing, presentation and communication skills with a fluency in spoken and written English.
Additional languages such as German and French, Spanish or further UN languages are an asset;

Remuneration for the United Nations University Research Associate

The successful candidate will be employed under a national PSA contract. 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 for the United Nations University Research Associate position

This is a full-time employment on a twelve (12) months Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA holders is 65 years.

This post is open to applicants from all countries and UNU will aid the successful applicant in securing a work visa for Germany, as necessary. It is, however, a locally recruited post and no relocation allowances apply. The duty station will be Bonn, Germany.

Expected start date for the United Nations University Research Associate candidate:

As soon as possible




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Simon Tyrus Caine

Simon Tyrus Caine is a solar energy expert with more than 10 years experience in the solar sector. Simon has worked and lived in more than 5 countries. Simon has been involved in solar installations, solar project development, solar financing as well as business development in the solar sector. At SolarEyes International, Simon manages content development and day to day operations of the organisation.

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