Academic Programme Advisor

United Nations University

Tokyo, Japan

UNU is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge in furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The mission of UNU is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

For the past four decades, UNU has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development, and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU's work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals' full breadth, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

About Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)
The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise that think tanks in the UNU system and is based at the university’s headquarters in Tokyo, dedicated to advancing global efforts towards a more sustainable future. UNU-IAS serves the international community through policy relevant research and capacity development focused on sustainability, integrating its social, economic, and environmental dimensions. The activities of the institute are in four thematic areas: i) governance for sustainable development, ii) biodiversity & society, iii) water & resource management, and iv) innovation & education. The work of UNU-IAS is directed towards priority issues for the UN system and Member States, contributing to high-level policymaking and debates to address problems of global concern. For more information, please visit


Under the supervision of the UNU-IAS Director, the Academic Programme Advisor will manage a set of academic programmes and projects and develop relevant activities in the institute’s four thematic areas, serving as Academic Director. Specific responsibilities will include:

Manage the UNU-IAS postgraduate degrees and training programmes, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Provide academic oversight and leadership of the UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programmes, including the double degree programme, joint certificate programme, and credit transfer system with other leading universities;
  • Design and coordinate courses, delivering lectures and supervising students;
  • Collaborate with other UNU institutes’ postgraduate degree programmes, including on joint fundraising; and
  • Develop and maintain novel online and hybrid lecture modalities.

Lead academic and research activities focusing on achievement of the following results: 

  • Develop, plan, and manage academic and research activities as well as publication and dissemination efforts in the programme area(s) by mobilising professional academic networks;
  • Produce original, policy-oriented research and develop policy recommendations on issues relevant to the wider UN community, as well as providing oversight on the quality and implementation of such research and policy recommendations; and
  • Monitor and evaluate activities including joint research projects, submitting periodic reports and preparing descriptions of programme activities as required.

Run fundraising activities for the institute focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Develop and maintain collaborative links with the UN system and international organisations, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Japan Foundation for the United Nations University (jfUNU), and private sector institutions, representing UNU-IAS in related conferences and meetings;
  • Secure external funding for academic and research activities in the programme areas; and
  • Formulate project proposals and assess external proposals and refine them for implementation by UNU-IAS or for submission for external funding.

 Advance outreach activities, focusing on achievement of the following results:

  • Enhance networks between UNU-IAS and universities in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region through the SDG–University Platform (SDG–UP);
  • Disseminate research outputs through policy papers, participation in conferences, and media commentary; and
  • Plan and organise scientific meetings and workshops.

 As a manager, participate in the regular academic and management meeting of UNU.

  • Represent as an overall academic management of educational and capacity development programmes at strategic management office meetings at UNU-IAS;
  • Lead and participate in the regular faculty meeting at UNU-IAS; and
  • Represent UNU-IAS at UNU-wide academic committee meetings.

Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Timely and quality development and implementation of the UNU-IAS postgraduate degree programmes, training programmes and collaborative academic activities
  • Solid and sustainable fundraising achievement, including scholarships for graduate students and tuition income of certificate courses
  • Enhanced network with universities in Japan and overseas as well as the business community and civil society, contributing to the visibility of UNU-IAS
  • Timely and quality submission of performance evaluation of personnel
  • Timely development and implementation of relevant rules and regulations for the academic programme


Education and certification:

  • Advanced university degree (Ph.D.) in international development, sustainability, or a field related to sustainability science


  • At least ten (10) years of relevant, progressively responsible experience in university-level teaching, research, and programme development, or within international organisations or research/training institutions.
  • Detailed knowledge of the UN system and of its functions and activities;
  • Demonstrated ability and experience in the development, planning, implementation and evaluation of research and training programmes;
  • Demonstrated experience in financial and human resources management;
  • Experience of leading and managing educational programmes in higher educational institutions;
  • A strong international research background, with proven academic achievements in relevant fields and an excellent publication record;
  • Significant, demonstrable experience in managing complex programmes and projects, resource mobilisation, and partnerships;
  • Knowledge of, and familiarity with, funding sources and a proven ability to raise external funds;
  • Excellent communications and writing skills, with fluency in both oral and written English;
  • Excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required
  • Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset.