Research Associate

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement
    Helsinki, Finland
    UTC +3

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

    About UN University

    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 SDGs, 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.

    United Nations University 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 a new research project on the links between social trust, economic inequality, and governance outcomes. The project is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and led by the Institute of Development Studies in the UK. UNU-WIDER is a core partner in the project. The project seeks to provide new theoretical insights and empirical evidence on how trust within and between social groups and towards institutions shapes the relationship between economic inequality and governance in contexts where democratic structures may be unstable or under threat. The project is organised around three thematic areas: (i) how trust within and between social groups and towards governance institutions emerges and evolves in contexts of rising inequality; (ii) how trust in unequal societies shapes governance outcomes through two intervening factors — political behaviour and social mobilisation; and (iii) the pathways through which changes in such intervening factors may sometimes result in inclusive governance outcomes, but in the breakdown of governance at other times. Each of these areas will incorporate detailed theoretical and empirical analyses at the subnational level in four countries — Colombia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Spain — affected by rising inequalities and characterised by unstable or strained democratic institutions. The Research Associate will support all aspects of the project, with a focus on the Mozambique case study.


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

    • support the implementation of the research project, including supporting secondary data analysis, setting up and managing primary data collection and fieldwork activities (largely in Mozambique), and collaborating actively in related research publications
    • carry out more general teaching, training, and supervision within the capacity-building programme of UNU-WIDER, including guidance of junior researchers and PhD students
    • perform any other tasks as assigned by the Director

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • a PhD degree or equivalent in economics, development economics, political science, or a related discipline
    • strong quantitative skills in advanced econometrics
    • experience with managing primary fieldwork in developing countries, including the design and implementation of household surveys and behavioural experiments, would be an asset
    • excellent drafting skills and fluency in both oral and written English; knowledge of Portuguese would be an advantage
    • knowledge of other official UN languages would be an asset
    • excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work independently in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity


    Monthly remuneration of EUR 5,550.00. It is inclusive of a housing subsidy of EUR 550.00 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, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding 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 the 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
    • a list of publications
    • an up-to-date CV
    • a copy of highest educational degree obtained

    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).