General Information

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. UNIDIR supports 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 seeks a Deputy Head of Programme for its Security and Technology Programme (SecTec). UNIDIR’s SecTec programme supports national, regional and international policy makers in understanding, and responding to, the peace, stability and security implications of technological innovations. To achieve this goal, SECTEC’s work focuses on exploration or new technologies, their potential uses and impacts in the peace and security context as well as on their potential governance. 

The Deputy Head of Programme will report to SecTec’s Head of Programme. 


Within delegated authority, the Deputy Head of Programme (Programme Officer) will be responsible for the following duties: 

  • Participates in the development, implementation and evaluation of the Security and Technology Programme, monitors and analyzes programme development and implementation, reviews relevant documents and reports; identifies problems and issues to be addressed and proposes corrective actions, supports the recruitment, management and supervision of programme’s staff, liaises with relevant parties, identifies and tracks follow-up actions.
  • Coordinates activities related to budget and funding (programme/project preparation and submissions, progress reports, financial statements, etc.) and prepares related documents/reports (pledging, work programme, programme budget, etc.).
  • Performs consulting assignments, in collaboration with the client, by planning facilitating workshops, through other interactive sessions and assisting in developing the action plan the client will use to manage the change.
  • Researches, analyzes and presents policy-relevant information gathered from diverse sources.
  • Prepares various written outputs, e.g. research briefs, draft background papers, analysis, reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.
  • Assists in policy development, including the review and analysis of issues and trends, preparation of evaluations or other research activities and studies.
  • Provides substantive support to consultative and other meetings, conferences, etc., to include proposing agenda topics, identifying participants, preparation of documents and presentations, etc.
  • Undertakes outreach activities; supports resource mobilization efforts, liaises with potential donors, coordinates preparation of proposal, progress reports, etc.; conducts training workshops, seminars, etc.; makes presentations on assigned topics/activities.
  • Participates in or lead field missions, including representing organization in relevant international fora, provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries, etc.
  • Collects and analyzes data to identify trends or patterns and provide insights through graphs, charts, tables and reports using data visualization methods to enable data-driven planning, decision-making, presentation and reporting.
  • Designs data collection tools, including survey initiatives; reviews, analyzes and interprets data, identifies problems/issues and prepares conclusions.  
  • Performs other duties as required.

Work implies frequent interaction with the following

Within UNIDIR: SecTec Head of Programme and staff, counterparts in other programmes, Directorate, Communications Team and Finance, Budget and Administration Team.

Outside of UNIDIR: Counterparts, senior officers and technical staff in relevant Secretariat units and in UN funds, programs and other UN specialized agencies; representatives and officials in national governments and intergovernmental organizations; partners in academia, civil society and private sector. 

Results Expected

Develops, implements, monitors and evaluates assigned tasks within the SecTec programme.  Provides thorough, well-reasoned written contributions, e.g., background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.  Develops and maintains effective working relationships.  Promulgates coherent policies, and consistent adherence to these by clients.  Uses resources efficiently.


The incumbent is required to demonstrate the core values of the United Nations: Professionalism, Integrity, and Respect for Diversity.

In addition, in this role, the Deputy Head of Programme will demonstrate the following competences:

  • Professionalism:  Knowledge of gender issues. Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to particular sector, functional area or other specialized field.  Ability to identify issues, analyze and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Ability to conduct data collection using various methods. Conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, including familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases.  Ability to apply judgment in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities.  Shows pride in work and in achievements; 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. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work. Able to analyze and interpret data in support of decision-making and convey resulting information to management.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Planning and 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.
  • 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.


Education:  Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in political science, international relations, international security, nonproliferation studies, policy studies, business administration, management, economics or related field is required. 

A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. A doctoral degree is highly desirable.


  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in policy-focused research programmes, project or programme management, administration or related area is required.  
  • Proven experience in research and drafting policy-relevant materials on international security, arms control and disarmament issues related to SecTec is required (policy-relevant publications must be listed in the candidate’s Personal History Profile).
  • A minimum of two years of experience in security and technology policy issues is desirable. 
  • Experience mobilizing resources and support, including with private sector and philanthropies, for policy-research activities is desirable.
  • Experience managing teams is desirable.
  • Experience with gender mainstreaming in a field relevant to the position is desirable.
  • A minimum of one year of experience in an international organization is an advantage.

Language:  Fluency in English (both written and oral) is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview.


The Deputy Head of Programme will be required to travel during the course of this assignment. The Programme Officer must complete the UN course BSAFE (online) and other mandatory UN trainings. 

How to apply

The applicant should submit:

  • A cover letter letter
  • A PDF of a UN Personal History Profile (PHP) created via Inspira
  • Name and contact details of three references (may be included in PHP)
  • A writing sample where the candidate is sole or lead author

Applications should be sent as email attachments, with the subject line “Application:Deputy Head of SecTec” to Deadline for submission of applications is 14 July 2024, midnight Geneva time.

Subject line Application:Deputy Head of SecTec

Please note

No inquires will be accepted by phone. No applications will be accepted by post. 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.