Director, UNU-MERIT

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Director (D-1)
    UTC +2

    NOTE: The deadline for submitting applications for this position has been extended to 19 December 2019. Applicants who have submitted applications prior to 5 December 2019 need not reapply. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted by UNU in early January 2020.  Shortlisted candidates will be expected to complete a written test by early to mid-January, with interviews scheduled to take place in Maastricht on 20-21 January, or via video conference before the end of January.

    United Nations University

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars, engaged in research, postgraduate teaching, 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. These problems and their intended pathways to solutions are summarized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated 2030 Agenda. The UNU performs research and training to support the monitoring and implementation of the SDGs.

    United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)

    UNU-MERIT contributes to UNU’s mission through a range of research and training activities. The focus of these activities is on: (1) the particular role of science, technology and innovation in bringing about sustainable development and social welfare at the national and international level, (2) how public policy can make better use of knowledge to enhance sustainable development opportunities, and (3) how social inclusion and access to knowledge can be integrated fully in economic development theory and policy advice. The training activities of the institute focus on public policy and include both formal academic training at the PhD and MSc levels in collaboration with Maastricht University, and capacity building activities for professionals working in public policy. For more information please visit

    Collaboration with Maastricht University

    UNU‐MERIT works in close collaboration with Maastricht University (UM). UNU‐MERIT is currently one of the largest UNU institutes with some 35 full time academic staff, 65 inhouse PhD fellows and 130 MSc students following the double degree MSc programme with UM on Public Policy and Human Development. Because of this close collaboration, the UNU‐MERIT Director will serve as ex‐officio Director of the MERIT research institute of UM and Director of the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG). As a result, the Director will have overall responsibility for the direction, organisation, administration, and programmes of the entire UNU‐MERIT institute, including the UM parts.

    Responsibilities of the Director

    Under the direction of the UNU Rector, the Director performs the following tasks:

    • serve as the Chief Academic and Administrative Officer of the institute and has overall responsibility for the direction, organisation, administration, and programmes of the Institute, in accordance with the general policies and criteria formulated by the institute’s Advisory Board
    • promote gender equality and gender mainstreaming throughout the institute’s research programmes
    • develop the programme of work, budget estimates of the institute, and submits those to the UNU Council for its adoption; direct the programme of work and authorise expenditures provided in the budget
    • oversee the fundraising, development and strengthening of research programmes, ensuring that research outputs are of the highest quality and policy recommendations are channeled effectively to the UN system, policymakers, and other stakeholders
    • oversee the recruitment of personnel, research associates, fellows, and trainees of the institute and ensures academic excellence in all the Institute’s activities
    • direct the UNU personnel of the institute and the UM personnel put at the disposal of UNU‐MERIT within the framework of the agreement between UNU and the UM
    • establish advisory bodies as are necessary in connection with the activities of the institute; make arrangements with relevant national, regional, and international institutions and organisations with a view to offering and receiving services related to the activities of the Institute
    • co‐ordinate the programme of work of the institute with the other activities of UNU and research and training institutions in different parts of the world, particularly in the Global South
    • maintain excellent donor relationships; increase and diversify funding
    • support the Rector through participation in the periodic Conference of Directors of UNU institutes
    • report to the Rector and Institute Advisory Board in accordance with the rules of procedure on the activities of the institute and the execution of its programme of work; provide the necessary services to the Advisory Board

    Required qualifications

    Qualifications for the post of Director relate to academic, local context, and management. The academic and local context qualifications are as follows:

    • a doctorate qualification in the field of economics, public policy or innovation studies
    • interest in, and knowledge of, international development as well as a broad knowledge in the field of international economics, innovation studies and public policy
    • extensive research output published in internationally recognised journals or other peer‐reviewed forms
    • experience with research on issues relating to the European Union and research for the European Commission
    • full professorship or equivalent appointment at an academic institution
    • proven experience in supervising successful PhD theses, combined with postgraduate teaching experience and didactical qualities; affinity with university teaching at the graduate level, and with innovative teaching forms such as problem‐based learning
    • extensive experience in obtaining research funding from a variety of sources at the national and international level
    • affinity with and an interest in developing economies and public policy making
    • fluency in English (required); knowledge of Dutch and other official languages of the United Nations is an asset
    • openness to the partnership with UM and the Dutch nature of the institute

    The management qualifications are as follows:

    • the successful candidate will have at least 10 years of management experience, ideally in a leadership role within an academic institution, preferably in the Netherlands or continental Europe, and preferably in the context of a school of business or economics
    • a highly collaborative style with a strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of key initiatives concurrently
    • demonstrated experience in financial and human resources management
    • excellent writing/editing and verbal communications skills as well as demonstrated leadership skills, including the ability to interact with colleagues of diverse backgrounds, with political representatives, and with communities in both industrialised and developing countries
    • a proven commitment to human development and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    UNU is an inclusive employer and endeavors to create culture of inclusiveness. Applications from suitably qualified female candidates or underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged.


    Approximate net salary (free of tax) of US$ 111,740 p.a. including post adjustment, which is subject to change. The post carries the standard set of UN entitlements/benefits, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant for eligible children, removal expenses, and home leave. For more information please visit

    The Rector reserves the right to appoint suitable candidates at a lower category.

    Duration of contract

    The period of initial contract would be for a four-year term with the possibility of renewal. The mandatory retirement age in the United Nations is 65.

    Starting date

    It is expected that the appointee will take up the position in September 2020.

  • Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by email to and should submit:

    • a cover letter setting out the motivations for applying for the post and how the candidate’s qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a full curriculum vitae with publications list
    • a completed UNU Personal History Form (P.11)