Senior Research Fellow

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Fixed Term Appointment (P-5)
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    UTC +2

    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.

    United Nations University 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 the creation and diffusion of 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 100 PhD fellows and 140 Master’s students, and as a UN think tank addressing a broad range of policy questions on science, innovation, and democratic governance. In addition to 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. 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 and PhD programs, 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 active in developing new research for policy impact in the nexus of the areas of climate change, innovation, and economic development.

    Specific tasks include

    • supporting the development of the research agenda of the institute around the concept of comprehensive innovation, in particular in the nexus of climate change, innovation, and economic development
    • carrying out research projects and publishing in international academic journals and refereed volumes
    • coordinating policy engagements and related initiatives upholding and supporting the UNU mandate
    • supporting policy-making at the international level related to innovation policy and global public goods
    • engaging in fund-raising through research projects in fields relevant to the institute
    • coordinating outreach activities (publications, workshops, etc.) in fields relevant to the institute
    • contributing to the teaching activities of the institute (PhD and/or Master level)
    • contributing to the dissemination of the institute’s research results to the international community of policymakers and policy-opinion makers, in particular, the broader UN
    • supervising PhD Fellows in the institute
    • performing other related tasks as assigned by the Director

    Key competencies

    Key competencies of the position include:

    • extensive knowledge of the international research and policy agenda in areas related to the tasks of the vacancy is desirable
    • demonstrated ability to translate strategic concepts and general policy direction into the implementation of policy relevant research projects is required
    • 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


    Education requirements include:

    • a PhD in a discipline relevant to the institute’s research program is required

    Work experience

    Work experience requirements include:

    • a minimum of ten years of post-doctoral experience in a research setting is required
    • a strong research background, as proven by academic peer-reviewed publications in areas related to the research themes that are described in the link above, is required
    • five or more years of decision-making experience in international organisations is desirable
    • experience in managing international research programs in academia, research, or other organisations is desirable
    • experience in managing and seeking research funding from donors and international funding agencies is desirable
    • experience in the design and implementation of innovation financing frameworks in developing countries is desirable
    • evidence of teaching in a university setting is desirable


    Language requirements include:

    • excellent oral and written communication skills in English is required
    • knowledge of other official UN languages would be an asset

    Duration of contract

    This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funding.

    For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

    Expected start date

    As soon as possible.


    Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which will be followed by an interview, and for short-listed candidates background checks and references.

    Special notice

    Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector’s authority. They 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 organisation. 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.


  • Interested applicants should submit their applications to and attach 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
    • a full CV with a list of publications

    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.