1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Senior Research Coordinator and Head of Office, Bonn Office, P-5

  • Closing date: 20 Oct 2019
  • Vacancy number: RC 008

UNRISD is an autonomous research institute within the United Nations system that undertakes interdisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues. Through our work we aim to ensure that social equity, inclusion and justice are central to development thinking, policy and practice.

In its 2016-2020 Institutional Strategy, UNRISD placed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development front and centre, emphasizing the social dimensions while forging strong links to the other pillars of sustainable development. Our work aims to strengthen evidence-based policy making on sustainable development, within the UN system and beyond.

UNRISD is expanding, and opening an office in Bonn. The work programme of this office will offer a unique opportunity to engage with the UN sustainability hub in Bonn, as well as NGOs, academic and government partners, in synergistic relationships where the Institute can contribute to evidence-based implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Through close collaboration with these actors and organizations, we aim to inform intergovernmental and national policy formulation and implementation, civil society advocacy and scholarly debates.

The work programme led from the UNRISD Bonn office has three objectives:
  1. Strengthen the Bonn ecosystem for sustainable development through an integrated approach to knowledge and skills development, where research feeds into training and capacity building activities and is informed by their needs.
  2. Elaborate a joint research-capacity building strategy through identification and mapping of relevant knowledge gaps and the implementation of corresponding research activities.
  3. Strengthen evidence-based SDG implementation and research uptake by UN and other development partners through collaboration with partner organizations in Bonn.

To lead this work, UNRISD is seeking an exceptional and highly motivated Senior Research Coordinator who will also act as Head of Office.


Under the general supervision of the Director of UNRISD, the Senior Research Coordinator and Head of Office is responsible for the following tasks:
  • Develop and lead a programme of work for a newly established office of UNRISD in Bonn, aligned with the UNRISD Institutional Strategy and in close liaison with the UNRISD office in Geneva.
  • Conceptualize and manage research activities that are consistent with UNRISD’s overall research agenda and contribute to the objectives of the UNRISD Bonn office.
  • Prepare project concept notes and proposals, identify research partners, organize research meetings and seminars, and ensure the quality of outputs produced.
  • Contribute to and undertake research activities, including the preparation of background papers, synthesis reports, and academic outputs for publication in journals, books and other recognized channels, ensuring high quality, readability and adherence to UNRISD policies and guidelines.
  • Proactively network in view of identifying knowledge/training gaps, uptake opportunities, potential partnerships and collaborations; research prospective partners and follow up through identifying, arranging and attending meetings, and serving as UNRISD's key contact for implementation in Bonn.
  • Collaborate with partners in the Bonn sustainability hub and with UNRISD staff in channelling research into capacity building and training activities, and producing research translation and dissemination outputs to facilitate the uptake and use of research evidence by policy makers and practitioners.
  • Fundraise for projects and research uptake activities.
  • Supervise and provide mentorship to the staff and consultants engaged in the activities of the UNRISD Bonn office.
  • Contribute to the Institute’s core publications (in particular flagship reports), other research programmes and special activities, including participating in meetings and reviewing papers emerging from other programmes and projects.
  • Provide intellectual leadership and quality oversight for the UNRISD Bonn office and make substantive contributions to other relevant areas of the Institute’s research, including multi-programme or institution-wide proposals and outputs.
  • Secure the acceptance, support and participation of relevant institutions and persons within the United Nations system, governments, multilateral donors and the international research community, in particular in the Bonn UN hub, in the work programme and activities of the UNRISD Bonn office.
  • Provide advice to United Nations departments and agencies, civil society organizations, academic or other institutions based on UNRISD research.
  • Represent UNRISD at official conferences and meetings.
  • Periodically report on progress to the Director, the UNRISD Board and funding partners.
  • Carry out other activities as agreed within the Institute or assigned by the Director.

Core Competencies
  • Professionalism: Demonstrates professional competence in an area of disciplinary expertise relevant to research in social policy and the social dimensions of sustainable development. Proven experience in writing and editing of papers and reports.
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
  • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues in UNRISD and beyond to achieve organizational and project goals. Builds consensus for project objectives with colleagues and potential organizational partners. Manages staff and consultants in a supportive and empathetic way.
  • Leadership: Demonstrated intellectual leadership in the substantive areas of the work and excellent managerial skills. Proactive in seeking out opportunities for UNRISD to contribute to development debates and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.


Education: A Master’s Degree in social science. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. A PhD is highly desirable.

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in research in social dimensions of sustainable development at an academic or research institution
  • Experience in managing small teams
  • Publications record, including publication in peer reviewed journals
  • Proven experience in fundraising for research projects, and in the development, management and supervision of multi-country research projects
  • Demonstrated ability to repackage and communicate social and sustainable development research in an international multi-platform environment to target audiences around the world
  • Knowledge of the UN system is an advantage; previous experience of working in international development organizations would be an asset

Languages: Fluency in English; knowledge of German desirable.

Contract: One year fixed-term (renewal subject to availability of funds).

Starting date: As soon as possible.

Deadline for applications: 20 October 2019 (23:59, Central European Summer Time)

Application process
  • If you are interested in the work elaborated above and fulfil the required qualifications, please apply online by clicking the button below.
  • UNRISD is committed to achieving personnel diversity and all individuals are equally encouraged to apply.
  • In the "Statement" section of the online application form, please list the most relevant information and experience from your CV.
  • The deadline for applications is Sunday, 20 October 2019 (23:59 Central European Summer Time).
  • Long-listed applicants will be asked to provide their full CV and to take a written test. Short-listed applicants will then be invited to interview.
  • Kindly note that, due to limited staff resources, only long-listed and short-listed applicants will be contacted for this recruitment..

UNRISD vacancies are posted at www.unrisd.org/vacancies. We encourage you to sign up for MyUNRISD to be informed promptly of any openings.