Project Associate — Urban Climate Mitigation

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement (PSA)
    Bonn, Germany
    UTC +1

    United Nations University

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars, engaged in research, postgraduate teaching and 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.

    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

    Transformative Urban Coalitions Programme

    Limiting climate change requires rapid and radical transformation of development pathways, especially in cities, which are responsible for 70% of global CO2 emissions. Together with international consortium partners, the Transformative Urban Coalition Programme will develop, test, and disseminate a scalable approach for achieving key shifts in urban development to put cities on a path to zero-carbon emissions by 2050. Over the course of the coming years the programme will test an approach to transformative governance by means of transformative research in five pilot cities in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, combined with implementation of transformative initiatives including the development of new actor constellations. Governance blueprints and lessons from pilot cities will be disseminated through the global networks of UNU and programme partners and new transformation partnerships initiated to make sustainable urbanisation a feasible global priority. One goal is to shape public debate both locally and globally, by means of media engagement, educational activities and interaction with art and film.

    The programme will be newly established within UNU-EHS and is foreseen to be financed for six years.


    Under the guidance of the Programme head and the project manager, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

    • assess existing climate adaptation and mitigation plans of pilot cities and assess entry points for developing ambitious zero-carbon strategies
    • develop baseline studies and progress data to quantify CO2 emissions and emission reduction in the urban labs
    • co-develop zero carbon trajectories for five pilot cities, feeding into the development of urban transformation strategy
    • undertake desk reviews and analyses in the field of urban climate mitigation, including data collection from scientific and grey literature, and from strategic documents of pilot cities
    • co-develop research frameworks to link urban development with social justice and climate change mitigation
    • support the development of a toolbox to foster zero carbon urban pathways
    • support project communication with programme partners in coordination with the project manager
    • support the development of UNU-EHS’ strategic approach to urban transformation
    • assist in organisation of workshops and events
    • prepare input and participate in relevant events and workshops, as required
    • prepare research reports, policy briefs, factsheets, and presentations
    • contribute to reporting and proposal writing
    • contribute to co-author scientific articles
    • further tasks as agreed to support the programme head and the project manager

    Required qualifications and experience

    We are looking for an early-career candidate fulfilling the following attributes:

    • a completed master’s degree with high academic standing in geography, climate studies, natural sciences, or other relevant fields with an emphasis on climate mitigation, preferably with experience in urban contexts
    • relevant experience and know-how to analyse:
      1. Urban climate mitigation measures and their contribution to achieving zero-carbon cities
      2. Leverage points to accelerate urban transformation towards zero-carbon
      3. Urban systemic interlinkages and cascading impacts of different decarbonisation efforts
    • familiarity with concepts and methods in climate change mitigation, familiarity with concepts and methods in transformation/transition research is an asset
    • field experience from developing countries, especially in developing cooperation or international organisations is highly desired; regional experience from Latin America/Argentina, Brazil, or Mexico would be beneficial
    • strong methodological skillset for quantitative and qualitative empirical research; GIS knowledge is an asset
    • excellent communication and writing skills (academic and non-academic) with fluency in spoken and written English; ability to communicate in Spanish or Portuguese is highly desired
    • demonstrated ability to synthesise complex information, regulations, and policies, and to translate into impactful communications and publications, reports, and presentations
    • initiative seeker with the strong ability to carry out work independently; curious personality preferred
    • team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity

    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 organisation.

    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.


    Remuneration will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

    Duration of contract

    The successful candidate shall work under a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) for a fixed period of twelve (12) months. Further continuation of contract is desired.

    This is a locally recruited post and no relocation allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor is he/she a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations.

    Starting date

    As soon as possible.

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications online through Impactpool, and upload the documents requested below:

    • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae
    • full contact information of three references

    The application must also indicate the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2020/UNU/EHS/PSA/PA/99).