Press Release

UNU Names Dr Shen Xiaomeng as Next Vice-Rector in Europe and Director of UNU-EHS

Dr Shen Xiaomeng will join UNU in the concurrent roles of UNU Vice-Rector in Europe and Director of UNU-EHS (Bonn, Germany), effective 1 August 2020.

The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Shen Xiaomeng to the concurrent roles of UNU Vice-Rector in Europe and Director of the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), effective 1 August 2020.

UNU-EHS, based in Bonn, Germany, conducts research on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change, and promotes policies and programmes to reduce these risks. As Director, Dr Shen will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer of UNU-EHS with responsibility for the institute’s direction, organisation, and programmes.

As UNU Vice-Rector in Europe, Dr Shen will facilitate collaboration between UNU and stakeholders in and outside of the United Nations; contribute to high-level policy development with other United Nations entities and regional/national bodies; and guide UNU outreach efforts to Geneva-based UN entities, the European Commission, and European academic and research institutions.

Dr Shen has worked since 2011 with the then International Bureau of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) at the Project Management Agency of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt-Projektträger; DLR-PT). She joined DLR-PT as Senior Scientific Officer (2011‒2012), with a focus on multilateral science and technology development in Asia and Oceania. Since 2013, she has served as Deputy Head of the Department for Cooperation with Asia and Oceania; as Head of the Cooperation with East Asia and Oceania unit; and as Coordinator of the European Commission’s EURAXESS Worldwide initiative, advocating for the mobility of young scientists.

Before joining DLR-PT, Dr Shen worked with UNU-EHS as a Resident Scholar and PhD Researcher (2004‒2008), and then as an Associate Academic Officer (2008‒2010) with a focus on the cultural and socio-economic dimensions of social vulnerability, comparative cultural perceptions of social vulnerabilities, and culture-sensitive bottom-up approaches to enhancing social resilience.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr Shen back to the UNU family,” said UNU Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General David Malone. “Her expertise in international science administration — together with her first-hand knowledge of the work of UNU-EHS — will enhance the institute’s robust research and training activities and enrich UNU’s important work within Europe and beyond. I would also like to thank Dr Zita Sebesvari for ably steering UNU’s efforts in Bonn since the departure of the previous Director, Prof. Dirk Messner, at the beginning of the year.”

Dr Shen holds a BA degree from the Beijing Foreign Studies University, an MA degree from the University of Bonn, and a PhD degree from the University of Bonn/UNU-EHS (with a focus on flood risk perception and communication in different cultural contexts). She is co-author of a recent comparative study on German and Chinese innovation systems for the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation established by the German Federal Government.

“I’m proud to be re-joining UNU as Director of UNU-EHS and Vice-Rector in Europe,” said Dr Shen. “UNU-EHS is a world-class research institute, and the office of the Vice-Rector in Europe provides vital support for the worldwide institutional development of UNU. I’m looking forward to working with UNU-EHS and UNU-ViE colleagues to contribute to the growth and success of the global UNU network.”

Media Contact:

Janine Kandel, Head of Communications at UNU-EHS and UNU-ViE; tel: +49 228 8150219

About the United Nations University (UNU)

UNU, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a go-to think tank for impartial research on the pressing problems of human survival, development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers worldwide, UNU’s core mission is to generate research that makes a difference on the big issues and encourages the rethinking of existing policies and perspectives.

About the UNU Vice-Rectorate in Europe (UNU-ViE)

UNU-ViE in Bonn, Germany, supports the worldwide institutional development of UNU, facilitates collaboration between UNU and the United Nations, shares knowledge and expertise through the development of joint activities and projects, and promotes UNU’s cooperation with UN agencies in Bonn and with other local and regional stakeholders.

About the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)

UNU-EHS in Bonn, Germany, conducts cutting-edge research on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change. Research areas include climate change adaptation incorporating insurance-related approaches, environmentally induced migration and social vulnerability, ecosystem services and environmental deterioration processes, and tools to analyse risks linked to natural hazards. The institute offers a joint MSc degree programme with the University of Bonn on “The Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security”.

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