Research Fellow in Innovation & Development

Applications procedure
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    Maastricht, The Netherlands
    UTC 0

    Organizational Unit: UNU Maastricht Social and Economic Research and Training Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)

    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.

    UNU  Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)

    UNU-MERIT explores the social, political, and economic factors that drive technological innovation, with a particular focus on creation, diffusion, and access to knowledge, as well as all aspects of governance in domestic and global organisations, from risk assessment to policy analysis, design, and evaluation. UNU-MERIT functions as a unique research centre and graduate school for over 80 PhD fellows and 100 master’s degree students, and as a UN think tank addressing a broad range of policy questions on science, innovation, and democratic governance. In addition to doing policy-relevant research, the institute trains specialists who combine a high level of academic scholarship with leadership, in order to strengthen democratic governance in domestic and international organisations.

    The institute’s research and training programme focuses on the following eight themes:

    1. The Economics of Knowledge and Innovation
    2. Poverty, Social Protection, and Inclusive Innovation
    3. Economic Development, Innovation, and Governance
    4. Sustainable Development, Innovation, and Societal Transitions
    5. Innovation Systems Indicators and Policy
    6. Migration and Development
    7. Governance and Learning in ICT-enabled Communities
    8. Population, Development, and Labour Economics

    For more information, in particular on the details of the research themes, please visit

    UNU-MERIT works in close partnership with Maastricht University. In particular, the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (MGSoG) has integrated its activities into UNU-MERIT, including the master’s and PhD programmes, and all research activities. For more information on MGSoG, see


    Under the authority and supervision of the Director of UNU-MERIT, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

    • contribute to UNU-MERIT’s research programme on knowledge and innovation (i.e., in the areas of the impact and drivers of innovation and knowledge creation; innovation systems; and inclusive innovation), by carrying out research projects and publishing in international academic journals
    • engage in fund-raising through research projects in the field of the institute
    • coordinate outreach activities (publications, workshops, etc.) in the field of the institute
    • contribute to the teaching activities of the institute (PhD and/or master’s level)
    • contribute to the dissemination of the institute’s research results to the international community of policymakers and policy-opinion makers, in particular the broader UN
    • supervise or co-supervise PhD Fellows in the institute
    • perform other related tasks as assigned by the Director.

    Required qualifications and competencies

    Required qualifications and competencies include:

    • a PhD in a discipline relevant to the institute’s programme
    • proven strong research background and publications in areas related to innovation and development
    • good knowledge of the international research and policy agenda in areas related to the institute’s programme
    • excellent oral and written communication skills in English; knowledge of other official UN languages would be an asset
    • good team player with strong interpersonal skills as demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
    • work experience in managing research programmes in academia, or research or other organisations, would be an asset;
    • experience in managing and seeking research funding from donors and international funding agencies would be an asset
    • professional experience in teaching would be an asset


    We offer a competitive net salary (tax-exempted) at P-3/P-4/P5 level and allowances including post adjustment. Post adjustment is subject to change. The pay level of the successful candidate will be commensurate to their level of experience, and will be consistent with the general staff categories of the United Nations (

    The post carries the standard set of United Nations benefits and entitlements for international positions in the UN Common Systems, including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant, removal expenses, and home leave. For more information, please visit

    The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that is advertised.

    Duration of contract

    This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The period of initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a rolling fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance, up to a maximum of six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

    Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the authority of the Rector and may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University.

    Applications from suitably qualified women candidates and those from developing countries are particularly encouraged.

    Starting date

    As soon as possible.

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications, preferably by email (to and must include 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
    • full contact information of three (3) referees

    The application must also indicate the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2018/UNU/MERIT/FTA/RF/02).

  • By Post:

    Director, United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)
    Boschstraat 24
    6211 AX Maastricht


    By E-mail: