Researcher (Four Positions)

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement (PSA)
    Macau, China
    UTC +8

    United Nations University

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development, and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

    For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals’ full breadth, 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 Institute in Macau

    The United Nations University Institute in Macau is a research institute at the intersections of information and communication technology (ICT) and sustainable development. The Institute conducts policy-relevant research and generates solutions, addressing pressing challenges expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through high-impact innovations and the latest technologies. Through its research, the UNU Institute in Macau encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    One of the Institute’s mission is to nurture the next generation of interdisciplinary computing, information and social scientists, and engineers so that they can become leaders in the field of ICT for development. To this end, the institute seeks to build a team of experts to help deliver the institute’s mission and work plan. Much of the Institute’s research is applied, and it delivers policy impact in the UN system, at international, regional and national levels.

    The UNU Institute in Macau is situated in the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China and it is the only UN entity in the city. Macau is one of the most dynamic regions in Asia, where technological innovations have become an integral part in driving social and economic change. Macau is part of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), that hosts many private sector companies and technological giants that are just a short distance away. Its proximity to China, Hong Kong SAR and other Southeast Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, provides an exciting opportunity for researchers and experts to maximise the impact of their work.

    For more information, please visit


    The research team consists of a dynamic and highly professional group of multi-disciplinary researchers from across the world. The research team works collaboratively to draft grant proposals and conduct research projects. The Institute has recently developed its Strategic Plan (2021-2025), where systems thinking and participatory approaches are the two major pillars of the research portfolio (see for details).

    The successful candidates are expected to perform the following responsibilities under the guidance and direct supervision of the Head of Research and the Director of the Institute:

    • further develop their research interests, and align their focus with the research priorities set out in the Institute’s Strategic Plan (2021-2025)
    • jointly develop research activities with the wider team in the Institute, striving for policy impact in the UN system, at international, regional, and national levels
    • contribute to applications for research funding in collaboration with other researchers, and meet targets set out in the Institute strategic plan, benchmarks, and indicators
    • implement grant activities, ensuring that the requirements are fulfilled, and reports are submitted on time
    • exercise the highest professional and ethical standards when conducting research, and ensure high quality research outputs
    • create diverse written products related to the research projects or areas of expertise, such as academic papers in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals, blogs, op-eds, policy briefs, and UN reports
    • communicate research accomplishments at academic conferences, and especially high-impact international venues (e.g. UN conferences)
    • serve as a research project lead, when needed, to plan, develop, monitor, and evaluate research activities, including supervising the project team and drafting periodic reports, and preparing descriptions of programme activities for various audiences and venues, as required
    • mentor junior team members and manage the project team to deliver high quality, policy-relevant research
    • conduct capacity-building activities such as teaching and training when needed, particularly for learners from the Global South
    • perform other tasks as assigned by the Head of Research or Director

    Required competencies and experience

    Required competencies and experience include:

    • a doctoral degree or above in computer science, AI and ethics, information studies, human-computer interaction, communication studies, data science, development studies, international affairs, computational social science, or a related field is required
    • at least 5 years of experience actively conducting research
    • a track record of high-ranked academic publications
    • strong communication and presentation skills, along with excellent drafting skills, and fluency in English
    • team player with strong interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
    • professionalism, flexibility, and ability to work under realistic deadlines, creative thinking and out-of-the-box thinking, results driven, foreseeing risks and allowing for contingencies when planning
    • reside full-time in Macau for the duration of the contract (apart from when undertaking field research)

    Desirable competencies and experience include:

    • entry to mid-career academic professional
    • experience working with diverse stakeholders including public, private, non-profit, and intergovernmental organisations
    • experience working with United Nations system
    • knowledge of official UN languages other than English
    • passion for the mission of the United Nations and enthusiasm to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals


    The successful candidate will be employed under an international PSA contract. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary of USD$36,347, commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 30 days annual leave and a health insurance scheme.

    UNU will cover the cost of travel of the individual to the duty station, as well as their return to their home upon completion of their services. Travel costs are covered only in the event that the function will be undertaken physically in the duty station and excludes working from home arrangements.

    International appointees are entitled to rent-free housing (excluding utilities) at the Institute’s staff apartment facility in Macau. Housing benefits could not be commutative if not taken.

    UNU is not liable for any taxes that may be levied on the remuneration you receive under this contract. Payment of any such taxes remains the sole responsibility of PSA holders.

    Duration of contract

    The duration of the initial contract is 1 year. This is a full-time Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU, with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration on a PSA contract with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA is 65 years.

    Starting date

    January 2022.


    Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references.

    Special notice

    PSA holders do no hold international civil servant status nor are they considered a “staff member” as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.

    PSA holders may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

    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 organization. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are encouraged to apply.

    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.

    Information about UNU rosters

    UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

    On June 16 and 18, we’re hosting research career information sessions to share about UNU Macau’s research areas and work culture as well as answer any questions you may have about our positions currently open for application. See more details and register here:

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications by email to by 1 July 2021, and must include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
    • a curriculum vitae (including publications and grant funding),
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • the subject line “Application for Researcher (PSA) (Ref No: 2021/UNU/MACAU/PSA/R/54)”

    Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered and only short-listed candidates will be offered the opportunity to interview for this position.

    UNU does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.