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 http://unu.edu

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 www.ehs.unu.edu.

Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) division:

The VARMAP division conducts policy-oriented research on systemic risks and pathways to sustainability in the context of climate change. Its vision is to provide actionable knowledge for climate-resilient futures. VARMAP has a strong track record in developing and applying conceptual frameworks to understand the complex nature of risks. VARMAP explores opportunities for risk reduction and examines diverse adaptation options and pathways towards sustainability and resilient societies. Supporting informed decision-making by digital means and ensuring an inclusive and just digitalization are of growing importance in VARMAP’s work. VARMAP helps to implement the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and other sustainability-oriented international initiatives. VARMAP convenes an interdisciplinary team and works with a wide network of partners from science and practice. The division draws on mixed methods approaches, integrating qualitative and quantitative tools. It unites a global orientation with empirical work in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

The EWS-IGAD project:

Contributing to the “Early Warnings for All” (EW4All) initiative of the United Nations, the EWS-IGAD (“Towards actionable impact-based early warning in Africa: integrating exposure and vulnerability into early warning systems – a pilot study in the IGAD region”) project seeks to expand existing hazard-based early warning systems (EWS) towards actionable impact- based EWS that also consider exposure and vulnerability. Thereby, the focus will be on floods and droughts and the risks associated with these hazards, (including multiple assets, sectors or systems) with the aim to co-develop an approach and methodology that can be extended to other climate-related extremes and natural hazards. The project will focus on the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region in Eastern Africa and include a regional component covering the entire IGAD region and two country pilots (i.e. Ethiopia, Kenya). The project aims to provide recommendations for upscaling and transferring the approach and methodology to other countries and regions on the African continent and to make impact-based EW messages actionable. Training activities shall strengthen capacities of relevant stakeholders to design, implement, and scale up impact-based EWS.


Under the authority of the Vice-Rector/Director of UNU-EHS and the direct co-supervision of the Head of the VARMAP division and the Academic Officer/PI of the project, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks: 1. Vulnerability assessment for impact-based early warning

    •  Support the co-development of an innovative approach and methodology for impact-based early warning in the IGAD region (incl. types of exposed elements and their vulnerabilities, triggers, thresholds) in close collaboration with project partners and relevant stakeholders
    •  Support the co-creation of conceptual risk models for impact-based early warning building on and following the impact chain methodology in the two pilots (Kenya, Ethiopia). These conceptual models will focus on the most relevant impacts of floods and droughts in the pilots and their underlying risk drivers (incl. exposure & vulnerability).
  •  Support the acquisition of socio-economic data (e.g. census data, etc.) for different exposed elements and vulnerability drivers in the two country pilots (Kenya, Ethiopia) and the wider IGAD region
  •  Take a leading role in the statistical and spatial analysis of socio-economic data (e.g. census data, etc.) for different exposed elements and vulnerability drivers in the two country pilots (Kenya, Ethiopia) and the wider IGAD region
  •  Take a leading role in the development of spatial vulnerability data for different exposed elements (e.g. population, economic sectors, infrastructure) in the two country pilots and the IGAD region

2. Co-author research outputs and contribute to capacity strengthening and outreach activities

  •  Support project partners in the identification of capacity strengthening needs of relevant actors in the country pilots and the implementation of capacity strengthening activities in the project (e.g. webinars, training sessions)
  •  Support the preparation of scientific outputs from the project including a policy brief and publications in peer-reviewed journals
  •  Support the presentation of results at relevant events and scientific and policy-relevant conferences;

3. Support the project management of the IGAD-EWS project

  •  Support the preparation of annual project and financial reports and all other project related outputs
  •  Support the verification of project reports from project partners

4. Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor

Key Performance Indicators

  •  Quality development of innovative research approaches
  •  Timely and quality collection and analysis of relevant primary and secondary data
  •  Timely and quality delivery on milestones and deliverables in the IGAD-EWS project
  •  Quality and level of engagement with project team and implementation partners



  •  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
  •  Analyze 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

  •  Completed Master’s degree or equivalent in environmental, natural or social sciences, geography, climate impact studies, or another related field



  •  At least one year of progressively responsible professional experience in the field of spatial vulnerability and risk assessment with particular focus on climate change or hydrological extremes (notably floods, droughts);
  •  Knowledge of vulnerability and risk concepts and methods for their assessment;
  •  Experience in statistical (e.g. using Excel, SPSS, STATA, R or other) and spatial data analysis (e.g. using Geographic Information Systems or spatial modelling approaches);


  •  Experience with stakeholder consultation is a strong asset
  •  Experience in drafting reports, policy briefs, and presentations is an asset;
  •  Work experience in countries of the IGAD region is a strong asset;
  •  Other Desirable Skills: Initiative taking, strong conceptual and methodological abilities, drafting ability

Language Requirements

  •  Fluency in English both oral and written, is required;
  •  Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset.
  •  Knowledge of any local language in the two pilot countries (Kenya, Ethiopia) is an asset


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

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: As soon as possible

How to Apply:

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

  •  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);
  •  provide a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  •  answer a few questions that are tailored to the position; and
  •  apply via the apply link.

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

Application Deadline: 12 September 2023


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

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.


By oytq5