Office: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR)
Position Title: Senior Researcher
Occupational Rate: 100%
Desired Starting Date: 1 March 2022
Duration: 10 months, with the possibility of extension
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 Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programme works to support progress in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, addressing all aspects of the nuclear dilemma, from delivery vehicles and security policies to the benefits and risks of nuclear technology. The programme also contributes to policymakers’ efforts to keep the world free of biological and chemical weapons.
Within UNIDIR’s WMD Programme, the Senior Researcher will perform the following duties under the supervision of the Programme Lead:
1. Carry out research and related tasks as part of the WMD Programme including the development of project concepts in the WMD field and assisting the Space Programme and other WMD Programme workstreams requiring additional advice, research support, and supervision as necessary.
2. Manage and implement the Programme’s work related to “Nuclear Risk Reduction”. This phase of the project builds upon completed mapping and framework development work. It will entail further exploration of the possibilities for preventive nuclear risk reduction measures in select regions and contexts. Tasks will include:
Production of a series of profiles focusing on friction points that can drive escalation among States, especially in the context of strategic chains and risks at the intersection of nuclear and other technological domains;
Production of associated publications that present concrete options to reduce risk at each key step in a crisis situation;
Organisation of a series of closed-door consultation workshop events with practitioners and experts to explore aspects of the risk reduction issue and feed into materials described above;
Delivery of public presentations of research findings, including at the 2022 United Nations General Assembly First Committee and other relevant international discussions on nuclear weapon risk reduction;
Undertake outreach for the project, including short opinion editorials and public presentations of research findings;
Monitoring project expenditure, bringing concerns to the attention of Institutional staff as necessary;
Maintaining project documentation, including drafting narrative and financial donor reports;
Conducting monitoring and evaluation tasks for the project as assigned;
Regular communication with WMD Programme Lead and UNIDIR management to ensure the successful execution of the project; and
Development of and fundraising for further phases of research related to or stemming from the project in cooperation with senior management.
3. Provide support for the Programme’s work around nuclear dialogue, building on earlier work in the Disarmament, Deterrence, and Arms Control Dialogue. Tasks will include general research, contributing to the organization of workshops, assisting in the procurement and development of papers, and other support tasks as requested by the Programme Lead and UNIDIR Director.
4. Assist in other duties as assigned by the Programme Lead and the Institute’s other senior managers. These tasks include advising them on developments related to the Senior Researcher’s fields of expertise and assisting the Programme Lead and the Institute’s other senior managers with Programme management 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 Senior Researcher will have regular communication with the WMD Programme Lead to monitor progress on assignments. The Senior Researcher will inform the WMD Programme Lead if there are any issues concerning meeting agreed deadlines.
IV. Performance Indicators
The Senior Researcher will be evaluated at the end of their contract. Performance indicators include:
1. Assignments are completed on tie and to the satisfaction of the WMD Programme Lead.
2. Engagement is professional, team oriented and positive.
3. Active participation in the activities of Institute.
4. The Senior Researcher demonstrates the core values of the UN and the core competencies described below in the discharge of their duties.
The Senior Researcher is to demonstrate the core values of the United Nations: Professionalism, Integrity, and Respect for Diversity.
In addition, in this role, the Senior Researcher will demonstrate the following competences:
Professionalism: Demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter. Is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results. Is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns. Shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges. Remains calm in stressful situations. Ability to take ownership and demonstrate a willingness to accept responsibilities. Ability to apply good judgment; exercise a fair degree of autonomy, and personal initiative including to work independently within established procedures in a politically sensitive environment, while exercising discretion, impartiality and neutrality. Ability to manage information objectively, accurately and confidentially. Knowledge of relevant stakeholders in the field of WMD arms control and disarmament, including international and non-governmental organizations, researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. Commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of work.
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.
Managing performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority. Makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member. Accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills. Monitors progress against milestones and deadlines. Regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff. Encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative. Actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff. Appraises performance fairly.
V. Qualifications and Experience
Advanced university qualification (Master’s degree or equivalent) in international affairs, political science, international law or a relevant scientific or technical field is required. Doctorate or equivalent qualification in international affairs, political science, international law or relevant scientific or technical field is desirable.
A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in the field of disarmament and arms control, international security or a related field is required.
At least 7 years of progressive experience in the field of nuclear disarmament is required.
A proven track record of drafting written outputs and producing policy-relevant publications is required (please include publications in PHP.
A successful track record in project management is required, including in the following areas: designing project activities; monitoring timelines and milestones; implementing activities within budget and on time; overseeing and guiding research activities of team members; and conducting follow up on project activities.
Knowledge of gender issues or experience with gender mainstreaming in a field relevant to the position is desirable.
For this consultancy, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of another official UN languages is an advantage.
Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.
The Senior Researcher may be required to travel during the course of this assignment. Dates and locations, should travel be required, will be determined during implementation of the Programme. In the event that travel is required, the Senior 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 Senior 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 Senior Researcher.
The applicant should submit:
A cover letter
a CV, or PDF of a UN Personal History Profile (PHP) created via Inspira
Name and contact details of three references
Applications should be sent as email attachments, with the subject line “Application: WMD Senior Researcher” to email@example.com. No applications will be accepted by post. Deadline for submission of applications is 30 January 2022. 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.