Head of Research

Applications procedure
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    Macau, Special Administrative Region of China
    UTC +7

    Organisational Unit: UNU Computing and Society (UNU-CS)

    United Nations University

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate training, and dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the United Nations, its Peoples, and Member States. It serves as a think tank for the United Nations system, contributes to capacity building—particularly in developing countries—as well as a platform for new and creative ideas and dialogue.

    UNU Institute on Computing and Society

    The United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) is a research institute at the intersections of information and communication technology (ICTs) and sustainable development. UNU-CS conducts UN policy-relevant research and generates solutions, addressing key issues expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through high-impact innovations and frontier technologies. Through its research, UNU-CS encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. UNU-CS is situated in Macau Special Administrative Region (S.A.R), China, and it is the only UN entity in the city. The Pearl River Delta, which embraces Macau, Hongkong, and Guangdong Province, is considered an emerging Silicon Valley due to its booming economy and technological innovations. The strategic location provides an exciting opportunity for researchers and experts to maximize impact of their work. More info can be found at https://cs.unu.edu

    Head of Research

    UNU-CS is seeking a Head of Research to invigorate and expand research programmes at the institute, under the supervision of the Institute Director. The ideal candidate is a mid- to late- career academic in the field of information and communication technologies for development (ICTD), human-computer interaction (HCI), data science, communications, or related fields. The selected candidate is expected to work full-time in Macau for the duration of the contract.


    Under the supervision of the Institute Director, the Head of Research will perform the following responsibilities:

    1. Developing a resilient and high-quality research team within the institute
    • based on the upcoming strategic plan 2020-2024, identify research areas of focus for the institute, which will meet the UN system’s needs in ICTs and SDGs
    • co-create performance goals with individual researchers (e.g. number of publications per year & fundraising target)
    • regularly monitor progress to reach institute benchmarks and indicators, and take necessary actions to help achieve the goals
    • conduct performance appraisals for researchers
    • process researchers’ travel requests based on the value of the trips and their alignment to the institute’s priorities
    • process researchers’ requisition requests based on the needs of the projects and their value to the institute
    • mentor young researchers to help them develop professionally
    1. Institute research fundraising strategies
    • coordinate efforts to create research fundraising strategies for the institute
    • help research teams to set realistic funding goals and strategies
    • suggest appropriate donors which are likely to fund ICTD projects
    • monitor fundraising activities and progress and provide feedback to make fundraising efforts more effective
    • help researchers with grant proposal writing to increase success rates
    1. Research quality assurance
    • provide feedback to researchers on research design, implementation, and outputs
    • review progress and ensure high quality research products
    • provide guidance on targeted publications and conferences
    • increase research outputs’ policy impact at UN, regional, and national levels
    • ensure the highest level of integrity and ethics in the institute’s research
    1. Supporting the Director in developing and implementing the Institute Strategic Plan 2020-2024
    • coordinate the development process of an ambitious Institute Strategic Plan 2020-2024 to decide the vision and research direction in the next 5 years
    • lead the implementation of the plan and assist the Director with the organisational change process
    1. Increasing the institute’s visibility
    • communicate research and project accomplishments at scientific meetings, international fora, and through publications
    • engage professional networks to raise visibility of the Institute

    6. Individual research and fundraising 

    • conduct high quality research and serve as an example of academic excellence for the institute researchers
    • strive for policy impact in the UN system, at international, regional, and national levels
    • seek to secure research funds and lead research teams to conduct research projects
    1. Performing any other tasks as may be assigned by the Director

    Required qualifications and competencies

    • a mid to late-career academic professional is desired
    • a doctoral degree or above in information technology, information studies, human-computer interaction, communication studies, data science, development studies, or a related field is required
    • at least ten (10) years of progressive experience managing successful academic research programs consisting of at least three (3) researchers is required
    • extensive history and track record of generating research funding are required
    • experience managing research finances and budget is required
    • experience working with diverse stakeholders including public, private, nonprofit, and intergovernmental organisations is desired
    • strong people management skills are required
    • strong communication and presentation skills, along with excellent drafting skills are required
    • fluency in both oral and written English is required; knowledge of other official UN languages is an asset
    • team player with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity is desired
    • experience working in the United Nations system is desired


    Approximate net salary (free of tax) of US$98885 per annum 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 candidate at a lower category.

    Duration of contract

    This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for a period of two (2) years with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funds, with the combined duration of fixed-term appointments not exceeding six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

    Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the authority of the Rector and may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University.

    Estimated starting date

    1 November 2019.


  • Interested applicants should submit their applications by email to rf_cs@unu.edu by 31 July 2019, and must include the following:

    • a cover letter in English, setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae in English with a list of your relevant research experience and publications
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations

    Applications must include the subject line “Application for Head of Research (Ref No: 2019/UNU/CS/FTA/HOR/00143791)”

    The selection process may include a written test and/or an online video interview.

    Please note that applications received after the closing date or incomplete applications will not be considered; only short-listed candidates will be offered the opportunity to interview for this position.

    The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations – Chapter 3, article 8).

  • By Email: rf_cs@unu.edu