Research Fellow And Academic Associate, Innovation And Education (Psa)


Job description

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. 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.


The Research Fellow for Innovation and Education position involves two main functions: Research Fellow for IVE and Academic Coordinator for UNU-IAS Postgraduate Degree Programme. Under the general supervision of the UNU-IAS Director and the direct supervision of the Head of Innovation and Education Programme, the Research Fellow will be responsible for the following results:

Design and implement research plan for the IVE programme

  • Take a lead in conceptualizing and developing the overall research plan of the Programme, strengthening its contribution to the UNU IAS Strategic Plan and global SD/ESD agendas
  • Undertake policy-oriented large-scale research and ensure the production of the quality and quantity of the research outputs, such as UNU-IAS policy reports, journal articles and other UNU-IAS and UNU publications
  • Contribute to the international debates and processes on sustainable development (SD) through policy-oriented research

Design and implement capacity building initiatives

  • Design and implement, capacity development and assessment activities in partnership with RCEs, ProPSER.Net members as well as relevant UN and international organizations
  • Supervise and manage the maintenance of the databases for both RCEs and ProsPER.NET

Develop the IVE resource mobilization strategy

  • Initiate and develop grant proposals and resource mobilizations for research and project activities

Represent UNU, create and maintain strategic partnerships and networks

  • Build strategic partnerships and collaborations in line with the strategic directions of UNU-IAS and the IVE programme

Support the delivery of the Joint Master’s Programme

  • Contribute to the UNU-IAS Postgraduate Degree Programme, including through teaching courses, such as research methodology and statistics, and assisting Academic Director in curriculum development and new students selection process
  • Serve as a Principal Academic Advisor for students enrolled in the UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programme

Perform other duties requested by the UNU-IAS Director, the IVE Programme Head and Academic Director

Key Performance Indicators

  • Timely and quality development of 2 papers and/or policy briefs per year
  • Timely and quality delivery of lectures including innovative education for sustainable development and quantitative research methods in social science
  • Quality and level of engagement with 3 partner universities, research institutions and UN agencies
  • 2 proposals for resource mobilization and/or research grants
  • UNU is seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society



  • 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


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

  • At least five years of working experience in higher education and/or professional institutions in the above-mentioned areas, some of which preferably in an international and multi-cultural environment
  • 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 journal publications in the abovementioned areas
  • Experience in resource mobilization and proven track record of securing funding
  • 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
  • A set of network and hands-on experiences in IT sector and other private sectors is an advantage
  • 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 research methods and quantitative data analysis
  • Experience in networking with research and research policy stakeholders
  • Administrative and financial management skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to approach relevant stakeholders, team leaders and donors
  • 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
  • Excellent communication skills in English language, both oral and written communication, are required
  • 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 annual net salary of the range JPY7,373,000 - 8,147,000, 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

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 April 2022

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: 15 January 2022


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.

Scam warning

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