Senior Researcher — Team Leads (Two Positions)

Applications procedure
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    Fixed Term Appointment (P-3)
    Macau, China
    UTC +8

    United Nations University

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars and scientists engaged in cutting-edge research, postgraduate training and dissemination of knowledge in the furtherance of the purposes and principles of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. It serves as a think tank for the United Nations system, contributes to capacity building—particularly in developing countries—as well as providing a platform for new and creative ideas and dialogue. In addition to the UNU Headquarters located in Tokyo, UNU has established fourteen institutes and programmes worldwide.

    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 to be 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. The Institute’s research tends to be more applied, and strives for 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 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 our website:


    The UNU Institute in Macau’s research team consists of a dynamic and highly professional group of multi-disciplinary researchers from across the world. The research team works collaboratively to seek large-sized research grants and conduct research projects together for policy impact. 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 work with the Institute’s Head of Research and the Director to drive these two pillars and thereby help the Institute reach the visions set out in its Strategic Plan.

    Under the guidance and direct supervision of the Head of Research, and the overall guidance of the Director of the Institute, successful candidates will be entrusted with the following tasks:

    • lead one of the two research pillars set out in the Strategic Plan (system thinking or participatory approach)
    • manage a team of interdisciplinary researchers while overseeing multiple projects carried out within the team
    • mentor junior researchers
    • develop research programmes (expertise) in their team, and carry out research relevant to the work of UNU in Macau at an international level
    • actively seek fundraising opportunities and lead fundraising efforts on behalf of the Institute and with the multidisciplinary team
    • exercise the highest professional and ethical standards when conducting research and ensure high quality research outputs
    • plan financial and human resources needed for grant projects
    • monitor and evaluate research activities, including supervising project leaders in drafting and submitting periodic reports, and preparing descriptions of programme activities for various audiences
    • 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)
    • establish and maintain partnership and professional networks with relevant stakeholders, such as academics, donors, the UN system, governments, and the private sector for potential collaboration
    • engage policy consumers/partners to ensure policy impact of research outputs
    • lead and oversee training or educational activities in the research areas of their team
    • be an active agent in organizing the Institute events and conferences
    • 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, information studies, human-computer interaction, data science, digital technology and ethics, economics, communication studies, development studies, computational social science, or related field is required
    • at least eight (8) years of progressive experience managing successful academic research programs, some of which should include managing teams of three (3) or more staff
    • a track record of excellent academic publications
    • extensive history and track record of generating research funding
    • experience managing research finance and budget
    • strong communication and presentation skills, along with excellent drafting skills, and fluency in English
    • strong people management skills
    • 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
    • professionalism, flexibility, and the 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:

    • experience working with diverse stakeholders including public, private, non-profit, and intergovernmental organisations
    • experience in managing multi-disciplinary teams
    • experience working with the United Nations system is desired
    • passion for the mission of the United Nations and enthusiasm to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
    • knowledge of official UN languages other than English


    UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy. For more information please see:

    Duration of contract

    This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment and an internationally recruited post, which requires residency in Macau (apart from when undertaking field research elsewhere). The initial appointment will be for a period of one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance and availability of funds.

    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.

    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 reference checks.

    Special notice

    Housing benefits for UNU Macau appointees does not apply to FTA positions.

    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.

    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, highlighting grant-seeking success
    • 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 Sr. Researcher — Team Lead (Ref No: 2021/UNU/MACAU/FTA/SR/00124548&00151527)”

    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.