The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in research, capacity development, and the dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. UNU encompasses 14 institutes and programmes located in 12 countries around the world. The United Nations University is not a traditional university in the sense of having a faculty, campus, or students. It carries out its work in cooperation with other research institutions, international organizations, and individual scholars and scientists throughout the world.

The mission of the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is to “help resolve pressing water challenges that are of concern to the United Nations, its Member States, and their people, through knowledge-based synthesis of existing bodies of scientific discovery; cutting-edge targeted research that identifies emerging policy issues; application of on-the-ground scalable solutions based on credible research; and, relevant and targeted public outreach. To learn more, visit our About page.

Appointments are limited to service with UNU-INWEH and staff cannot expect any transferability to other positions within the UN Secretariat or any other UN agency.

“The academic and administrative staff of the University shall be selected with a view to achieving its stated objectives. The basic criteria for selection shall be the highest standard of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to appropriate representation in terms of geography, social systems, cultural traditions, age and sex.”

– Charter of the United Nations University, article VIII, paragraph 1

An individual may be employed by UNU under one of three basic types of contracts: a fixed-term (staff) appointment, a Personnel Service Agreement, or a consultant/individual contractor contract.

“Staff members” engaged under fixed-term appointments

The terms and conditions of service of staff members employed by the United Nations University are governed by the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and the UNU Personnel Policy. Staff member positions include academic and administrative appointments in the Professional (P), National Officer (NO) and General Services (GS) job categories.

All staff member positions are fixed-term appointments. A fixed-term appointment does not carry any expectancy, legal or otherwise, of renewal or conversion, irrespective of the length of service.

For academic staff, initial appointment shall normally be for a fixed term of two years, with the possibility of renewal for an additional fixed term of two years, not to exceed a combined total appointment of six years.

For administrative staff, initial appointment shall normally be for a fixed term of two years, with the possibility of renewal on a rolling, fixed-term basis, subject to UNU requirements and excellent performance.

“Personnel” engaged under a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA)

The terms and conditions of service of personnel engaged under a PSA are not governed by the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, but only by the UNU Personnel Policy.

Personnel engaged under a PSA may be involved in either academic or administrative work. Initial appointment shall normally be for a period of one year, with the possibility of renewal on a rolling, fixed-term basis; however, the combined total appointment shall not exceed six years.

“Individuals” employed as a consultant or an individual contractor

The terms and conditions of service for individuals engaged as a consultant or individual contractor shall be directly linked to work assignment as set out in the contract. A consultant may accumulate no more than 24 months of accrued service within a consecutive thirty-six month period, while an individual contractor may accumulate no more than nine months of accrued service within a consecutive twelve-month period.

For more information, please read the full United Nations University Personnel Policy.

The working language of UNU is English. Consequently, fluency in written and spoken English is essential, and it is advantageous to be proficient in one or more of the other languages commonly used in UNU especially French, Arabic, and Spanish.

The organization offers attractive remuneration packages and benefits to attract staff of the highest quality. Starting salaries are based upon academic and professional qualifications, as well as the level of the post. The base salary scales are set by the UN General Assembly.

Salaries and benefits are exempt from national income taxes. Other benefits include: paid annual leave at the rate of 30 days per year; 10 “UNU official holidays” in lieu of national holidays; and generous sick leave entitlements. For staff members employed as UN officials, the following conditions also apply: A UN “staff assessment” (a UN income tax) is deducted from gross salaries. Dependency allowances, in the form of higher net salaries for a dependant spouse or allowances for dependant children may be provided. Additional benefits include: a contributory health insurance scheme; and group life assurance coverage. All UN staff members are required to contribute to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF). The mandatory retirement age is 62.

Assistance with visa formalities is provided to all staff members who need it. Please read the vacancy announcement carefully to understand if a relocation entitlement is included.

Remember, we only accept applications for advertised vacancies. We do not maintain a roster, nor do we hold applicant details on file, pending a suitable vacancy. If you have previously applied for a vacancy at UNU-INWEH, this does not mean we still have your details on file – if you see a new position for which you believe you are qualified, please send us another application.

Before making an application to the UNU-INWEH, have you read the qualifications and requirements for the advertised position in which you are interested? All applicants must meet or exceed the minimum selection criteria for the advertised position.

The application package must be submitted electronically and should include:

  • A separate cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  • A completed and signed UNU Personal History form <downloadable here>. Please do not submit your curriculum vitae, and avoid using similar forms provided by other UN organizations;
  • A full contact information of three referees (including e-mail addresses); and
  • The reference number of the vacancy announcement.

Other requirements may be imposed for specific positions; please read the Vacancy Announcement very carefully. The coverletter must describe the ways in which the education and work experience of the applicant meet the requirements of the post. The application package should be prepared preferably as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file(s) and attached to an e-mail sent to the specified email address. Incomplete applications that do not include all of the requested information will not be considered.

The UNU Personal History Form can be downloaded here: <click here>. Please avoid using similar personal history forms used elsewhere in the UN system.

All offers of appointment are contingent upon the candidate passing a pre-employment medical examination.

Staff members are selected solely on merit. While recruiting only the most able and technically competent candidates, we strive for balance in gender and nationality representation. We do not set country or gender quotas, but we do try to ensure that the diversity of UN member states is reflected in the composition of our staff. Where competing candidates exhibit equal merit, preference is given to candidates from developing countries or regions and every effort is made to achieve a balanced gender distribution within the organisation.

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