Research Fellow (Education for Sustainable Development)


Applications procedure
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    Personnel Service Agreement (PSA)
    Tokyo, Japan
    UTC 0

    Organisational Unit: UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

    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.

    UNUInstitute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

    UNU-IAS is a UNU institute based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy-relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia. For more information please visit

    Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

    The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) project contributes to designing and undertaking interdisciplinary, policy-oriented research, and capacity development activities through two flagship initiatives: the global multi-stakeholder network of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on ESD and the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net), an alliance of higher education institutions throughout the Asia-Pacific region.


    Under the overall supervision of the UNU-IAS Director and under the direct guidance and supervision of the ESD Project Director, the Research Fellow shall perform the following tasks:

    • take a lead in planning the overall research plan of the project, ensuring the quality and quantity of the research outputs
    • undertake research for UNU-IAS policy reports, journals, and other UNU-IAS and UNU publications
    • contribute to the international debates and processes on sustainability through policy-oriented research
    • ensure that the work of the ESD project aligns with global SD/ESD agendas and the strategy of the project
    • design and implement capacity development and assessment activities in partnership with RCEs, ProPSER.Net members, as well as relevant UN and international organisations
    • assume responsibility for project coordination, including organising and facilitating meetings, workshops, and conferences, undertake the project outreach activities, and seek grants and funding for the ESD project
    • assist the Project Director in developing the strategic direction of the ESD project
    • contribute to the UNU-IAS Degree Programme, including through teaching courses and advising Master’s and PhD students
    • build strategic partnerships and collaborations in line with the strategic directions of UNU-IAS and the ESD project
    • perform other duties requested by the UNU-IAS Director and the ESD Project Director

    Required qualifications and experience

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • PhD (no ABD) in education, social sciences, development studies, environmental science, policy studies or related field
    • scholarly competence in international educational development, ESD, education for sustainability, international and comparative education and/or environmental education
    • demonstrated ability to incorporate concepts, practices, and policies of education and learning into the framework of sustainable development, linking its ecological, social, cultural, and economic dimensions
    • research management skills and experience in policy development are desirable
    • work experience in international organisations and promoting major international initiatives is an asset
    • excellent analytical skills as well as demonstrated ability to multitask and to manage own workload and schedule to deliver timely results
    • good team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
    • fluency in English is essential
    • working knowledge of other UN official languages is an advantage


    Remuneration will be commensurate with qualifications and experience, and will range from JPY 500,000 to 600,000 per month. There are no other fringe benefits.

    Duration of contract

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

    This is a locally recruited post; no relocation expenses or allowances apply. 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. UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

    Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged.

    Starting date

    December 2018 (negotiable)

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications 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 curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2018/UNU/IAS/PSA/RF/64)

    Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

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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)

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