Research Associate

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement (PSA)
    Helsinki, Finland
    UTC +2

    Organisational Unit: UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

    About the United Nations University (UNU)

    For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing global problems of human survival, conflict prevention, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 13 countries, UNU’s work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, 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.

    UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

    UNU-WIDER is a leading international development economics think tank. The Institute provides economic analysis and policy advice with the aim of promoting sustainable and equitable development for all. The Institute began operations in 1985 in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency — providing a range of services from policy advice to governments, as well as original research that is “open access”. More information on UNU-WIDER’s current work programme is available at

    UNU-WIDER is looking for an outstanding individual with strong commitment and potential to support the 2019–2023 research programme as well as the training programme and communication activities of the Institute. Further information on the 2019–2023 work programme is provided below.

    The 2019–2023 work programme

    Current plans for the 2019–2023 UNU-WIDER research programme centre on three key development challenges — i) Transforming Economies, ii) Transforming States, and iii) Transforming Societies — with three cross-cutting concerns: a) fragility and risk, b) empowerment, and c) knowledge and capacity. Specific sub-topics to be covered in the work programme include informality; productive job creation; public expenditure and tax incidence; causes and consequences of state ineffectiveness; market failures and ways to correct or compensate for them; management of natural resource wealth; women’s economic and social empowerment; social mobility; migration; and environment, energy and climate.


    Under the supervision of the Director of the Institute, the Research Associate will:

    • contribute effectively to the implementation of the UNU-WIDER research programme, including support to research for publication in UNU-WIDER’s publication series, as well as communications activities for UNU-WIDER’s target audiences
    • manage the UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Database, including organising the research assistant team (and external consultants) in the updating of the GRD on a regular basis, identifying new data sources, and liaising with the sources of that data (governments, international organisations, etc.)
    • liaise with the UNU-WIDER communications team on publicity for the database, with the goal of expanding its use in the global development community
    • organise and provide training to developing country policymakers and researchers in the UNU-WIDER SOUTHMOD project, including the development of online training tools
    • assist in the construction of databases in the area of the extractives sector (foreign investment flows into the sector; revenue flows)
    • assist in research on recycling/re-use and the circular economy, in the context of the extractives sector, as well as on trends in the use of green energy in the extractives sector and measures to reduce the carbon emissions and environmental footprint of the sector
    • perform any other tasks as assigned by the Director

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • master’s degree or equivalent in economics, development economics, or a related discipline
    • progressively responsible relevant postgraduate work experience
    • excellent drafting skills and fluency in both oral and written English; knowledge of other official UN languages would be an asset
    • excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity


    Monthly remuneration of EUR 4,200.00 subject to submission of reports to the Director on tasks accomplished at the end of each quarter during the contract period at 15 March, 15 June, 15 September and 15 December. This is inclusive of a housing subsidy of EUR 500.00 payable to applicants not residing in Finland/citizens of Finland.

    The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations. No relocation allowance applies.

    UNU has its own medical insurance for employees contracted under a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA).

    Duration of contract

    This is full-time employment on a one (1) year Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU-WIDER with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of appointments shall not exceed six (6) years.

    Starting date

    As soon as possible.

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications online using this form and must upload the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how your qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • an up-to-date CV
    • a copy of highest educational degree obtained

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    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).