UNU System

UNU institutes, programmes, and operating units

UNU System Header Photo

The United Nations University encompasses 13 institutes located in 12 countries around the world. The global UNU system is coordinated by UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

UNU Headquarters

UNU Centre – Tokyo

UNU Centre – Tokyo (Japan) serves as the programming, planning and administrative headquarters unit of the University. It comprises the Office of the Rector, Administration and Finance Services, the Campus Computing Centre, and the Office of Communications.

UNU Centre – Putrajaya

UNU Centre – Putrajaya (Malaysia) assists the UN University system as an adjunct administrative, human resources, and financial services unit.

UNU Vice-Rectorate in Europe

The UNU Vice-Rectorate in Europe (UNU-VIE, Bonn, Germany) supports the worldwide institutional development of UN University, facilitates collaboration between UNU and the United Nations (and particularly with the UN agencies in Bonn), and shares knowledge and expertise through the development of joint activities and projects.

UNU Institutes


The UNU Biotechnology Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNU-BIOLAC, Caracas, Venezuela) supports training and research at the intersection of science, technology, and society, demonstrating how modern biotechnology can encourage social and economic development.

The programme’s aim is to prepare and qualify professionals in biotechnology through focused training and capacity development. Activities are organised throughout the LAC region and are carried out in collaboration with an international network of highly qualified academics and researchers who are experts in biotechnology.


The UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR, New York, NY, USA) combines research excellence with deep knowledge of the multilateral system to generate innovative solutions to current and future global public policy challenges.

Based at UNU Centre in Tokyo from 2014–2017, UNU-CPR relocated to New York City in 2018 and merged with the former UNU Office at the United Nations.


The UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS, Bruges, Belgium) generates policy-relevant knowledge about new forms of governance and cooperation on the regional and global level, and about patterns of collective action and decision-making.

UNU-CRIS focuses on issues of imminent concern to the United Nations, such as the 2030 Development Agenda and the challenges arising from new and evolving peace, security, economic, and environmental developments regionally and globally, and develops solutions based on research on new patterns of collective action and regional governance.


The UNU Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV, Guimarães, Portugal) supports the United Nations system and UN Member States in transforming the mechanisms of governance and in building effective governance capabilities through strategic applications of digital technologies. The aim is to contribute to inclusive social and economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace. UNU-EGOV is hosted by the University of Minho (Guimarães, Portugal).


The UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS, Bonn, Germany) is the academic arm of the United Nations and acts as a global think tank. The mission of the Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) is to carry out cutting edge research on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change. The institute’s research promotes policies and programmes to reduce these risks, while taking into account the interplay between environmental and societal factors.


The UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES, Dresden, Germany) aims to advance the resource nexus for all environmental resources (water, soil, waste, energy, and other geo-resources) that are of concern to the United Nations and its Member States — particularly in developing and emerging economies, and in scientific, educational, managerial, technological, and institutional aspects.


The UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS, Tokyo, Japan) is a research and teaching institute dedicated to realising a sustainable future for people and our planet. UNU-IAS serves the international community by producing evidence-based knowledge and solutions to inform policymaking and address priority issues for the UN system.


The UNU International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) is the designated UN think tank on global health, serving as a policy translation hub for UN member states, agencies and programmes.

The Institute generates policy-relevant analysis by applying a gender lens to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of health programmes. UNU-IIGH also supports capacity development of local decision-makers and stakeholders to engage effectively with global health challenges within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA, Accra, Ghana) focuses four core areas: conducting research on natural resources management issues in Africa, supporting capacity development of key stakeholders (universities, research institutions, and individuals) across the continent, offering policy-relevant advice to various stakeholders (including African governments), and sharing and transferring knowledge.

The Institute operates from its main office in Accra, Ghana and carries out some of its programme activities through a network of operational units in five African countries.


The UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH, Hamilton, ON, Canada) focuses on water for development, working primarily with countries in the Global South and addressing water issues of global significance. Water is the entry point to all UNU-INWEH’s activities, including environment and health. The Institute addresses primarily continental water resources challenges.

UNU-INWEH works to bridge the gap between the wealth of evidence and research that exists on water resources and the practical needs of political leaders and decision-makers in low- and middle-income countries.

UNU Macau

The UNU Institute in Macau (UNU Macau, Macau SAR, China) works at the intersections of information and communication technologies (ICT) and international development. The institute conducts policy-relevant research and generates solutions that address key issues expressed in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through high-impact innovations and frontier technologies.

Through its research, UNU Macau encourages data-driven and evidence-based actions and policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


The Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, Netherlands), is a research and training institute, which collaborates closely with Maastricht University. UNU-MERIT aims to advance societal policy and innovation research, provide education and mobilise knowledge in order to unlock the full potential of innovation for achieving inclusive sustainable development. The research agenda of UNU-MERIT on ‘Comprehensive Innovation for Sustainable Development’ focuses on the interconnected risks and opportunities of innovation, as they relate to climate change, digital transformation, poverty and inequality, migration and population, and the future of work.


The UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER, Helsinki, Finland) provides economic analysis and policy advice with the aim of promoting sustainable and equitable development for all.

The institute began operations over 30 years ago in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency – providing a range of services from policy advice to governments as well as freely available original research.

Over the period 2019–23, UNU-WIDER research is focused on the interlinked development challenges of transforming economies, states, and societies in support of achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three key concerns integrated throughout the research programme arefragility and risk, empowerment, knowledge and capacity.

False claims of affiliation with UNU

We are aware that some institutions falsely claim to be affiliated or associated with the United Nations University. UNU monitors these claims and takes appropriate action to demand that these institutions cease and desist from making such claims.

In particular, please be aware that UNU is not affiliated or associated with, does not authorise or endorse, and is not in any way connected, formally or informally, with:

  • UNUGP USA (The American University for Global Peace) or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries
  • IFUNA (Indian Federation of United Nations Associations) and United Nations University (Delhi); UNU does not have any institutes, programmes, or other institutions in India
  • the company Casemix Solutions Sdn Bhd, established in Malaysia
  • United Nations Academy of Somalia (UNAS; UN Academy), founded in Mogadishu, Somalia
  • United Nations University: International Agricultural Development Academy (国連大学:国際農業開発アカデミー)
  • TCM University for the United Nations (California, USA)
  • TCM University for the United Nations LLC (California, USA)
  • United Nations Science and Technology University (California, USA)
  • United Nations University (California, USA)
  • United Nations University of Science and Technology (California, USA)
  • United Nations University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (California, USA)
  • United Nations University UNU Universal Buddhism and Rabbinical Judeo-Christian Seminary Institute of Religious Studies (California, USA)
  • University of California San Diego, Model United Nations (California, USA)
  • University of United Nations (California, USA)
  • World Peace of United Nations University (California, USA)

The global UNU system encompasses 13 institutes located in 12 countries, coordinated by a headquarters unit in Tokyo. You are encouraged to only contact those UNU institutes listed on the official webpage for the UNU system

UNU is not liable in any way for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of your engagement with, or representations made by, any institution that is not an official UNU entity as listed on the above UNU system webpage.

Information on specific research projects, events, academic programmes, scholarships, fellowships, and internships can be found only on the main UNU website or at official individual UNU institution websites.