Director, UNU-CPR

Applications procedure
Related Files
    DIRECTOR (D-1)
    UTC -5

    United Nations University

    For the past four decades, United Nations University (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 SDGs, 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 Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR)

    UN University’s Centre for Policy Research in New York is an independent think tank within the United Nations system. We combine research excellence with deep knowledge of the multilateral system to generate innovative solutions to current and future global public policy challenges.

    The Centre currently has four programme areas: (i) Preventing Violent Conflict; (ii) Digital Technology and Global Order; (iii) Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking; and (iv) The Future of Multilateralism. For more information please visit The 2019-2021 UNU-CPR Strategy is available at

    Responsibilities of the Director

    The Director is the chief research and administrative officer of UNU-CPR and has overall responsibility for the direction, organisation, management, administration and programmes of the Centre, under the direction of the UNU Rector.

    More specifically, the Director:

    • sets the strategic direction of the Centre, exercises delegated financial and budget authorities, and has oversight of all contracts
    • oversees the development and direction of the programme of work ensuring that research outputs are of the highest quality and policy recommendations are channeled effectively to the UN system, policymakers, and other stakeholders in a manner which is compelling and accessible for maximum uptake and impact
    • maintains excellent donor relationships, increases and diversifies funding, and engages in donor and stakeholder outreach
    • works with the UNU-CPR management group
    • formally represents the United Nations University in New York, including through engagement with the UN Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies, and appearances before UN organs, including the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, and ECOSOC
    • represents United Nations University in the High-Level Committee on Programmes and serves as the UNU ‘sherpa’ to the broader Chief Executives Board for Coordination system
    • is the administrative focal point for UNU engagement with New York-based UN entities including with UN administrative and conferencing processes in the city
    • oversees the recruitment of personnel of the Centre and ensures academic excellence in all the Centre’s activities
    • promotes diversity, inclusivity and gender equality, and gender mainstreaming throughout the work of the Centre
    • co‐ordinates the programme of work of the Centre with the other activities of UNU and research and training institutions in different parts of the world, particularly in the Global South
    • is a member of the Conference of Directors of UNU institutes

    Required qualifications

    The Director’s qualifications should lend to UNU-CPR the necessary credibility in the international policy community and provide leadership and quality control in the conduct of UNU-CPR activities.

    Specific qualifications and competencies are as follows:

    • a master’s degree or doctoral qualification in public policy, political science, law, economics, international development or a related field
    • knowledge of and experience in the think-tank world
    • detailed knowledge of the UN and of its functions and activities
    • a strong international research background and publications in areas related to peace and security, political affairs, sustainable development, and/or public policy
    • expertise related to policy research, knowledge translation, and research communication is essential
    • a proven record of effective policy thought leadership in academic or research institutions, or in international/national civil service as well as significant management experience
    • a highly collaborative style with a strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of initiatives concurrently
    • demonstrated experience in financial and human resources management
    • superior writing/editing and verbal communications skills
    • demonstrated ability to interact with colleagues and others of diverse cultural backgrounds, with the research community, with political representatives, and with communities in both industrialised and developing countries
    • proven commitment to issues of human development and international security
    • fluency in English; fluency in at least one other official language of the United Nations is desirable

    UNU is an inclusive employer and endeavors to create culture of inclusiveness. Applications from suitably qualified female candidates or underrepresented groups are particularly encouraged.


    This is a Director level (D1) position and carries the standard set of entitlements and benefits of an internationally recruited UN staff position including participation in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund, the possibility of participation in a health insurance programme, education grant for eligible children, removal expenses, and home leave. These entitlements also include 30 days of annual leave plus national and UN designated holidays in their duty station. For more information about remuneration, benefits, and entitlements, please visit:

    The Rector reserves the right to appoint suitable candidates at a lower category.

    Duration of contract

    The period of initial contract would be for a two-year term with the possibility of renewal by mutual consent. The mandatory retirement age in the United Nations is 65.

    Starting date

    It is expected that the appointee will take up the position in the summer of 2020.


  • Interested applicants are encouraged to apply by email and should submit:

    • a cover letter setting out the motivations for applying for the post and how the candidate’s qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a full curriculum vitae (with publications list)
    • UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
  • By Email: