Research Associate

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

    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 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. For more information please visit

    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 one outstanding individual with strong commitment and potential to support one or both of the following two projects:

    1. Institutions project

    The project will combine qualitative country case studies with microeconometrics and cross-country econometric analysis to examine the economic, political, and historical determinants of fiscal capacity in low- and middle-income countries, as well as the conditions under which high fiscal capacity may arise in resource-rich countries. Under the supervision of UNU-WIDER’s Director, the Research Associate will:

    • contribute effectively to the implementation of the project within UNU-WIDER’s work on domestic resource mobilisation (DRM)
    • identify together with developing country partners policy-relevant research questions and contribute towards enhanced policy uptake of research
    • conduct own research and supervise contracted work on fiscal capacity in developing countries
    • carry out more general teaching, training, and supervision within the capacity-building programme of UNU-WIDER, including guidance of junior researchers and PhD students
    • support communications and dissemination activities for UNU-WIDER’s target audiences
    • perform any other tasks as assigned by the Director

    2.  Domestic financing project

    The project will combine qualitative country case studies with microeconometrics and cross-country econometric analysis to examine the determinants of domestic savings in low- and middle-income countries. Under the supervision of UNU-WIDER’s Director, the Research Associate will:

    • undertake econometric analysis on the micro and macro determinants of domestic savings
    • support the Director in preparing country studies on domestic savings in developing countries

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • a PhD or a master’s degree in economics, political science, development economics, or a related discipline
    • progressively responsible relevant postgraduate work experience; a proven track record in econometric analysis and project management is required
    • proven skills in STATA is an asset
    • for the project on institutions, knowledge of the political economy and institutions literature on fiscal states is an asset
    • for the project on domestic financing, knowledge of development macroeconomics is an asset
    • knowledge of experimental or quasi-experimental methods is an additional benefit
    • excellent drafting skills and fluency in both oral and written English
    • excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work independently in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
    • readiness to travel internationally

    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.


    This is employment under a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with monthly remuneration of EUR 4,350 to EUR 5,550, depending on level of completed education and prior experience. 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.

    This position carries an annual leave entitlement of 2.5 working days per month (a total of 30 days of paid annual leave), and private health insurance coverage.

    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); 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