Research Associate

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

    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.

    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 inequality and its impact on economic growth, human development, and democracy and governance. The project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation and coordinated by the Development Economics Research Group (DERG) at the University of Copenhagen. Core partners are DERG, UNU-WIDER, the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) in Vietnam, and the University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique.

    The project seeks to provide new theoretical insights and empirical evidence on how inequality impacts major economic and political outcomes, as well as the implications of this for policy. A significant empirical literature in economics and political science offers rich insights upon which to build, but it is notable that existing studies rely almost exclusively on relative measures (such as the Gini index) whether based on income, wealth, or something else. However, there is strong suggestive evidence that absolute inequality matters more for many people at all levels of society; one prominent illustration being the core concern in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of leaving no one behind in absolute poverty.

    The project combines cross-national and within-country analysis, both exploiting existing datasets and collecting new data through surveys and lab-in-the-field experiments in two countries (Mozambique and Vietnam). It will employ diverse quantitative techniques in the analysis of both observational and experimental data. The UNU-WIDER-based research associate will support all aspects of the project, with a focus on cross-national analysis.


    Under the supervision of Senior Research Fellow, the Research Associate will:

    • contribute to the implementation of the project, including support for data analysis and the set up and management of primary data collection and fieldwork (in Mozambique and Vietnam), active collaboration in related research publications, and support to communications activities for UNU-WIDER’s target audiences
    • contribute to other institute research, 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 Senior Research Fellow

    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; proven track record in econometric analysis, including macro-econometric analysis, is required
    • prior research in relevant areas and familiarity with the research literature is an asset
    • experience with mixed-methods research is an asset
    • project management experience is an asset
    • 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 contract (PSA) with monthly remuneration of EUR4,350 to EUR5,550, depending on level of completed education and prior experience. It is inclusive of a housing subsidy of EUR550 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.

  • Application procedure

    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