Research Fellow

Applications procedure
Related Files
    Personnel Service Agreement
    UTC -8


    This position offers a rare opportunity to contribute to evidence-based policy innovation at the United Nations by joining a young and dynamic think tank, which in just a few years has established itself as a key source of policy-relevant research, ideas, and advice on pressing challenges facing the UN and the multilateral system.

    The United Nations University is contributing to the growing debate at and beyond the UN on how to develop global policies to encourage effective, ethical, and socially beneficial development and deployment of new cyber-technologies. This has included drafting a discussion paper for the UN Chief Executives Board on cyberspace. The Research Fellow will play a key role in further developing the work of the University on these issues.

    About UNU

    The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate training, and dissemination of knowledge in 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, and serves as a platform for new and creative ideas and dialogue. In addition to UNU Headquarters, located in Tokyo, UNU has established fifteen institutes and programmes worldwide.

    The Research Fellow will operate from UNU’s presence in New York. For the first 6 months of 2018, this will be the established UNU Office in New York. In July 2018, that Office will merge with the UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), previously in Tokyo. UNU-CPR is an innovative think tank situated within the UN system while enjoying full research independence granted by the UNU Charter. Its mission is to generate policy-relevant research that informs major UN policy processes in the fields of peace and security, sustainable development, and migration.

    For more information on UNU-CPR and its work, please visit

    About you

    You are deeply interested in the rapidly shifting role of cyberspace and artificial intelligence in international relations and global governance, as well as in the role of the multilateral system in helping to foster effective global governance of “frontier” technologies. You are willing to undertake deep-dive research of these issues, drawing from a range of academic sources and policy outlets, and have the track record to prove it. You are a first-class researcher and writer. You work well under direction, but can also execute tasks autonomously. You are comfortable working in high-paced, multicultural environments, Diversity brings out your curiosity, and you are highly sensitized to gender issues.


    Working with the Head of Office, the Research Fellow will develop a policy research progamme on the global governance of new technologies, with a particular focus on cyber-enabled technologies.

    Under the supervision of the Head of Office, the Research Fellow’s responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, the following tasks:

    • conduct independent research and lead the drafting of policy briefs, articles, meeting summaries, and conference reports
    • provide drafting support to the Head of Office
    • develop the concepts and potential participant lists for convenings related to the research topic
    • provide substantive and administrative support for the organisation of meetings and seminars, working with the Operations & Events Manager and Communications Officer
    • provide research assistance as required, including but not limited to conducting library and online research, collecting and organising data on relevant issues, carrying out literature reviews, and providing drafting and editorial support
    • track major dynamics of debates on these issues in and beyond the UN system, and provide regular internal briefings to other relevant UNU personnel
    • support fund-raising for further work in this area
    • perform other research and programme support tasks as needed

    Required qualifications and experience:

    Required qualifications and experience include:

    • an advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in public policy, political science, law, journalism, development studies, international affairs, or a related field
    • at least 5 (five) years of progressively responsible experience in research, government or public service, journalism, law, or a related field
    • superb written and oral communication skills
    • a strong international research background and publications in areas related to frontier technologies, cyberspace, peace, security, global governance, and/or public policy
    • experience in policy analysis is a must, and experience in technology policy would be an advantage
    • in-depth knowledge of current research and policy debates on cyberspace, artificial intelligence, and global governance
    • knowledge of the UN and of its functions and activities is desirable
    • fluency in spoken and written English; fluency in another official UN language is an advantage
    • demonstrated sensitivity to gender issues
    • excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity


    Remuneration will be commensurate with the qualifications and experience of the successful candidate.

    Duration of contract  

    The successful candidate shall work under a Personnel Services Agreement (PSA) for a fixed period of 1 year, with the possibility of renewal. The combined duration of appointments under PSA shall not exceed six (6) years.

    The successful candidate will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations. Applications from suitably qualified woman candidates and those from developing countries are particularly encouraged.


    New York, with the possibility of some remote work

    Starting date

    February 2018

  • Interested applicants should submit their applications by email (to and must include the following:

    • a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a one-page document setting out the candidate’s answer to the following 2 questions:
      1. What should the United Nations do in the next 3 years to help ensure more effective, sustainable and responsible global governance of cybertechnologies?
      2. Describe how the blockchain works and the impact it will have in the next 10 years on global governance.
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11); please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • an updated curriculum vitae
    • full contact information of three (3) referees
    • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2017/UNU/CPR/PSA/ RF/107)
  • Send application to: