Chief Programme Officer

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    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    UTC +9

    Organisational Unit: UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH)

    United Nations University objectives

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in 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.

    UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH)

    UNU-IIGH is one of 14 research and training centres that comprise the UNU system. UNU-IIGH was established in 2005 with the mission to advance evidence-based policy on key issues related to sustainable development and global health. As a member of the UN family, UNU-IIGH brings an interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach to problem-solving. UNU-IIGH is focusing its efforts and resources on generating policy-relevant analysis to improve global health. The aim is to support the work of UN agencies, UN programmes, and member states towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Staff at UNU-IIGH work with relevant partners and stakeholders to develop and lead innovative, interdisciplinary programmes that advance knowledge and contribute to debates towards the development of transformative interventions to advance global health.

    To that end, we are looking for an experienced, outstanding chief programme officer who can lead our work with relevant partners and stakeholders, particularly across the UN, to strengthen UNU-IIGH’s ability to deliver on interdisciplinary programmes in global public health. Our work engages with policy debates and seeks pathways to reduce the impact of marginalisation on health and access to health care. Critical considerations are the intersections of gender, age, and ageing, migration and the role of universal health coverage, global health governance, and accountability and human rights.

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    Under the supervision of, and together with, the Director of the Institute, the Chief Programme Officer will:

    • support the implementation of UNU-IIGH’s newly adopted 5-year strategy and associated work plan
    • contribute to the Institute’s programmes, provide intellectual leadership, and take responsibility for the formulation, implementation, publication, dissemination, and evaluation of programs and projects
    • represent the Director and UNU-IIGH as required in local, regional, and global forums
    • oversee the implementation of fundraising, communications, and partnership activities
    • oversee the budget, planning, and other management functions of UNU-IIGH

    Required qualifications

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • a minimum of twelve (12) years of progressively relevant professional and management experience (of both people and finance)
    • a strong background in global health and specific experience in the UNU-IIGH strategy areas of capacity building, research, and translating evidence to policy at the global level
    • demonstrated ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic setting with a diverse team
    • excellent knowledge and experience of international agencies and the UN system
    • significant, demonstrable experience in managing complex programs and projects, resource mobilisation, and partnerships
    • excellent communication and writing skills, with fluency in both oral and written English; knowledge of other official UN languages is an asset
    • excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills
    • MA or PhD in Public Health, International Development, or a related field


    The post offers a competitive net salary (tax exempt) at P-5 level and the standard set of United Nations benefits and entitlements for international positions in the UN Common Systems. This includes a post adjustment for positions based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 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. Note that post adjustments are regularly assessed and subject to change.

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    Duration of contract 

    This is a full time fixed-term appointment. 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, with the combined duration of fixed-term appointments not exceeding 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.

    UNU-IIGH is an equal opportunity and diversity employer and is committed to a workplace that reflects the values of tolerance and inclusivity embodied by the United Nations. Applications from developing countries and women are strongly encouraged.

    Starting date

    August 2019.


  • Information about how to apply is provided below – please read carefully to ensure that any further inquiries relate to information not already provided. We recommend that applicants review the information on how to apply for jobs with the UN to assist with the submission of a competitive application.

    Interested applicants should submit their applications online to and must include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how the 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

    Please indicate the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2019/UNU/IIGH/FTA/CPO/00030143).

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