Head of Programme and Administration

United Nations University

Tokyo, Japan

Experience: 5 to 10 Years

Skill Required: HR and Admin

United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) (UNU-IAS) is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system and is a UNU institute 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.


Under the general supervision of the UNU-IAS Director, the Head of Programme and Administration will provide substantive support to the Director of UNU-IAS in institutional development with a focus on research and administration. Specific responsibilities include: 

Contribute in building and strengthening UNU-IAS research programme strategies and their implementation:

  • Provide substantive support to the development of the Institute’s long-term vision and strategic plans.
  • Participate in UNU-IAS Strategy and Management Office (SMO) meetings and other decision-making mechanisms related to the strategic and conceptional positioning of UNU-IAS and the management of the Institute.
  • Coordinate different research units by organizing regular meetings and workshops to promote inter-institutional dialogue.
  • As a member of the UNU-IAS Strategy and Management Office (SMO), provide institutional support to implement UNU-IAS strategies.
  • Serve as a member of specific task forces including for the UNU-IAS Business Continuity Plan (BCP) as a critical staff member of UNU-IAS.

Build and strengthen UNU-IAS strategic partnerships, donor relations and contribute to the diversification of the donor base in line with the Institute’s strategic plans:

  • Provide substantive support and advice to the Director for institutional fundraising strategies and play a key role in institutional fundraising and mobilization of funding.
  • Manage and coordinate reporting to the Institute’s key stakeholders, including donors, other UN entities, UNU Centre and the UNU-IAS Advisory Board.
  • Coordinate and liaise with donors and other external partners, and represent UNU-IAS in relevant working groups, steering groups, and advisory groups meetings.
  • Lead outreach activities within the framework of the overall strategic direction of UNU-IAS, providing inputs into the policymaking process in the UN and by Member States
  • Lead on the negotiation and drafting of institutional arrangements such as Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and contribution agreements.

Lead the UNU-IAS Governance for Climate Change and Sustainable Development (GSD) programme and ensure that it delivers on its mandate:

  • Lead on establishing and developing policy-relevant research for the GSD programme, including grant proposal development and fund-raising activities, in collaboration with other UN organizations and international alliances such as UNESCAP and the UNFCCC Secretariat.
  • Publish research outcomes in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, reports, and policy briefs, and actively represent the institute by presenting papers.
  • Identify and make value-added contributions on emerging issues in the field of sustainability and governance that are of interest to the United Nations, member states, and policymakers, and academia.
  • Guide and lead the GSD programme by supervising the team members, ensuring that the skills of the team personnel are fully utilized and further developed in the interest and to the benefit of UNU-IAS as well as each individual.
  • Develop and coordinate the Paris Agreement Specialization of Postgraduate Degree Programmes and provide supervision for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows at UNU-IAS,

Provide substantive support and advice to the Director of UNU-IAS in the area of administrative management:

  • Provide substantive input to key administrative documents of UNU-IAS, including new internal guidelines.
  • Supervise on effective workflows within UNU-IAS administration and between other UNU institutes to enhance internal communications.
  • Contribute to the recruitment process of UNU-IAS
  • Perform the role of Certifying Officer
  • Perform other duties as assigned by Director


Education and certification:

  • Doctoral degree or equivalent, in a field related to Environmental Science, Development Studies, Education, or Sustainable Development


  • At least seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience with at least 2 years of work experience at academic or research institutions in an international environment
  • Knowledge and experience of project development and formulation and management and ideally climate change and sustainable development related issues. Knowledge of the UN governance structure will be considered as an advantage
  • Knowledge and experience of institutional development and human resource management
  • Proven record of fundraising activities and resource mobilization
  • International network in at least one of the research fields mentioned above, and experience of organizing and participating in policy-oriented international conferences
  • Excellent analytical skills as well as demonstrated ability to multi-task and to manage own workload and schedule to deliver timely results
  • Ability to work harmoniously in a multicultural environment is required; in this context, a broad range of contacts within the international community of scholars, especially in developing countries, should be demonstrated
  • Proven sensitivity to gender issues

Language Requirements:

  • English and Japanese fluency is essential, and so is computer literacy. Working knowledge of other official UN languages is an advantage.

Source: https://careers.unu.edu/o/head-of-programme-and-administration-nod