The United Nations University Vacancy: Research Associate - Tokyo, Japan

Organizational Unit: UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

United Nations University objectives
The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, postgraduate training and the dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. The University functions 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 innovative ideas and dialogue. 

UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
UNU-IAS is a new UNU institute, created in January 2014 by consolidating the former UNU Institute of Advanced Studies and UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP). It is based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo. The mission of UNU-IAS is to serve the international community through policy relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, including its social, economic and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS builds on a strong tradition of UNU research and capacity development in Japan, undertaken in collaboration with a global network of professionals and scholars, particularly in Africa and Asia.

International Satoyama Initiative (ISI) The Satoyama Initiative is a global effort to realize societies in harmony with nature, through promoting the maintenance and rebuilding of socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS) for the benefit of biodiversity and human well-being. The International Satoyama Initiative (ISI) at UNU-IAS is supporting this concept through a range of activities, including (a) network building, (b) capacity building, (c) outreach and communication, and (d) research activities.

For details, please visit HERE and HERE. 

Under the overall supervision of the UNU-IAS Director, and under the direct guidance and supervision of the Project Director of the International Satoyama Initiative (ISI), the Research Associate will be responsible for the following duties:
  • Assist in design, co-ordinate and/or implement knowledge management activities for further development of the Satoyama Initiative and the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI).
  • Assist in organization of research-related meetings and workshops including co-ordination of their intellectual contributions.
  • Implement and facilitate the research activities planned under ISI in the areas including ecosystem services, sustainability, resilience, traditional knowledge, community development from the aspects of policy and practice.
  • Publish academic papers and promotion-oriented materials on scientific or knowledge-based activities under ISI.
  • Support various activities of IPSI Secretariat when requested.
  • Contribute to activities of the post graduate and other training courses when requested.
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned or required by the Project Director.

Required qualifications and experience

  • A PhD degree in the area of biodiversity, ecosystem management, environment, development, social sciences, or other related discipline.
  • Sound record of or potential for publication of the above mentioned research areas with focus on policy and/or practice.
  • Knowledgeable about international policy and/or science mechanisms or agreements on relevant areas including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
  • Having a few years of progressively responsible relevant work experience is desirable.
  • Teaching experience is desirable.
  • Experience in management of research programmes is an asset.
  • Excellent communication skills with proficiency in both oral and written English and Japanese.
  • Ability to prioritize tasks, to complete them within a limited time frame and to handle multiple concurrent activities.
  • A good team player with strong inter-personal skills, demonstrated by the ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity. 
Remuneration will commensurate with qualifications and experience, and can range from JPY 360,000 to 420,000 per month. There are no other fringe benefits. 

Duration of contract
This is full-time employment on a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) with UNU-IAS. Initial appointment will be for one (1) year, with the possibility of renewal subject to satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of appointments shall not exceed six (6) years.

This is a locally recruited post; no relocation expenses or allowances apply. The successful candidate will be employed under a local contract and will not hold international civil servant status nor be a “staff member” as defined in the United Nations Staff Rules and Regulations. UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

Applications from suitably qualified women candidates are particularly encouraged. 

Starting date
March 2016 (negotiable)

How to apply:
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 curriculum vitae and a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organizations)
  • a list of publications relevant to the research areas of environment, development, or social sciences, or a related discipline
  • an indication of the reference number of the vacancy announcement (2015/UNU/IAS/PSA/RA/53)
Please note that applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

Closing Date: 29 Jan 2016

All information available at: HERE