Office: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
Position Title: Researcher
Desired Starting Date: 1 August 2021 (Negotiable)
Duration: 12 months, with the possibility of extension
Occupational Rate: 100%
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research – UNIDIR is an autonomous institution within the United Nations that conducts independent research on disarmament and related problems, particularly international security issues. The vision of UNIDIR is a stable and more secure world in which States and people are protected from threats of arms-related violence. The role of UNIDIR is to support Member States, the United Nations and policy and research communities in advancing ideas and actions that contribute to a more sustainable and peaceful world. UNIDIR is based in the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
UNIDIR’s Security and Technology Programme (SecTec) is seeking a Researcher to work on new research and other activities to contribute to building knowledge and awareness on the international security implications and risks of specific technological innovations, in particular artificial intelligence (AI) and increasing autonomy in weapon systems, and convene stakeholders to explore ideas and develop new thinking on ways to address them.
Within UNIDIR’s Security and Technology Programme, the Researcher shall perform the following duties under the supervision of the Programme Lead:
- Conduct research and analysis:
- Producing original research and studies related to military and international security implications of artificial intelligence, increasing autonomy in weapon systems and innovations in science and technology.
- Designing and implementing multi-disciplinary and multi-method research approaches.
- Presenting research findings to internal and external audiences.
- Designing and delivering (or moderating) expert workshops and panels.
- Implement AI portfolio activities, including:
- Organizing meetings, seminars, and workshops for the AI portfolio (including, but not limited to, drafting invitations, distribution lists, agenda, logistical notes, as well as substantive preparations for, and facilitation during, project-organised events);
- As assigned, producing meeting summaries, reports, briefs and analysis papers from consultations, meetings and events held or attended by UNIDIR on issues relevant to AI and autonomy;
- Building relationships and securing buy-in on activities from key stakeholders, including funders, partners and beneficiaries;
- Supporting the programme lead in supervising implementation plans and milestones for the AI portfolio; and
- Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of activities.
- Support the development of new SecTec portfolio activities:
- Supporting the Programme Lead in the development of cross-cutting activities across the Institute’s research programmes.
- Perform other duties as required.
III. Schedule for the proposed work
A workplan for the duration of the contract will be established within the first two weeks of the contract. The Researcher will have regular communication with the Programme Lead in order to set assignments within the workplan and monitor progress. The Researcher will inform the Lead if there are any issues concerning meeting agreed deliverables and deadlines.
The Researcher is to demonstrate the core values of the United Nations: Professionalism, Integrity, and Respect for Diversity.
In addition, in this role, the Researcher will demonstrate the following competences:
- Integrity & professionalism: the successful candidate has demonstrated expertise in area of specialty and ability to apply good judgment; fair degree of autonomy, personal initiative and ability to take ownership; willingness to accept responsibilities and ability to work independently under established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality; ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially; responsive and client-oriented.
- Planning & Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
- Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
- Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
- Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors’ language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
Qualifications and Experience
An Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in international affairs, political science, or a related scientific or technical field is required. Two additional years of relevant work experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree in the specified fields of studies.
- A minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in conducting policy-focused research in the field of AI and other emerging technologies in the security context is required.
- A track record as lead author in producing written outputs on AI issues for policy-makers, including research briefs and articles, is required.
- Experience in project management is required, including: developing project activities; monitoring timelines and milestones; implementing activities within budget and on time; managing budgets; conducting follow ups on project activities; preparing and facilitating events; and evaluating and reporting on project activities.
- Knowledge of relevant multilateral processes and practices is desirable.
- Experience working with multilateral processes, in particular in areas related to AI and autonomy, is desirable.
For the position advertised, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of French and/or other official UN languages is desirable.
Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.
The Researcher is required to travel during the course of this assignment. Dates and locations will be determined during implementation of the Programme. The Researcher must complete the UN course BSAFE (online) and provide UNIDIR with a certificate of completion.
UNIDIR retains copyright of all documents and the ownership of the intellectual property resulting from all work carried out under this contract. The Researcher warrants that any written work will be original works or that where s/he incorporates copyright material from another source, copyright permission for its use will be obtained. Written output(s) may be attributed to the Researcher.
The applicant should submit:
- A completed eligibility questionnaire
- A cover letter
- A CV, or PDF of a UN Personal History Profile (PHP) created via Inspira
- A list of publications
- Name and contact details of three references.
Please note that incomplete applications will not be processed.
Applications should be sent as email attachments, with the subject line “Application: SecTec Researcher” to email@example.com. No applications will be accepted by post. Deadline for submission of applications is 24 June 2021. Closing date is midnight Geneva time.
Please note that due to the high volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Should you move forward in the process, you may be contacted for further assessment.
UNIDIR promotes the core values of the United Nations: Integrity, Professionalism and Respect for Diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.