Innovation Specialist

United Nations Children's Fund

Stockholm, Sweden

Experience: 5 to 10 Years

Skill Required: HR and Admin

The Office of Innovation’s Venture Fund is a pooled funding vehicle specially designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify clusters or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology – so that UNICEF can both shape markets and learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children. We invest in solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. 

UNICEF has identified drone technology and drone-based services as a means to strengthen and improve its work in global health and community resilience. The Office of Innovation, in collaboration with the UNICEF ICT Directorate, is supporting the organization to better understand these opportunities, address key considerations on the use of drones, and craft a practical way forward for UNICEF to globally leverage this technology in protecting and advancing the rights of children. 

UNICEF has established implementation hubs to test drones for humanitarian and development applications. These hubs provide new platforms for data collection, stakeholder engagement and youth capacity building. 

Through the UNICEF Venture Fund, UNICEF has invested in six drone startups developing open source software and hardware solutions to support the use of UAS in humanitarian use cases. These seed investments to entrepreneurs will accelerate the development of digital public goods in the drone technology sector. These digital public goods can be either the design and blueprints to build low-cost and long-endurance drones for the delivery of medical supplies under an open-source license, or open-source algorithms to model precipitation and floods that help to better identify households at risk. In collaboration with the DPG Alliance, UNICEF has launched an open-source toolkit to make more accessible drone-related software, data, designs and content. 

The UNICEF Office of Innovation (OOI) is looking for a Drones Lead to provide technical and strategic coordination to the drones-related engagements of the Ventures team. 

In collaboration with the Ventures team, develop and execute the Ventures’ team’s engagement strategy for UAVs as a priority frontier technology area

  • Identifying and monitor new trends for exploration, capturing where relevant for internal learning
  • Design, develop and manage a strategic roadmap for UAVs to apply to organizational needs and external trends
  • Identify and coordinate financial and technical resources required to meet the organizational need.
  • Project manage and support UAV initiatives led by UNICEF, when UNICEF itself is looking to use emerging technology
  • Support Country Office pilots related to UAVs with remote and in person missions, as appropriate.
  • Work in close collaboration with relevant CO/RO/HQ Divisions/Offices/Teams to support development of new UAV initiatives.
  • Identify and support opportunities to leverage drone technology in collaboration with ICTD, EMOPS and Programme Group, with particular reference to Humanitarian use cases.
  • Develop and make available technical standards, toolkits and other relevant capacity building tools, with a focus on Digital Public Goods.
  • Act as focal point on relevant internal and UN-wide working groups
  • Working with OOI’s partnership and communications team, capture experiences and lessons from across initiatives and early-stage pilots.
  • Guide the Venture Fund’s investment strategy on UAVs
  • Identify and support promising solutions at early stage and support sourcing and selection efforts
  • Provide technical assistance to solutions receiving support from the Venture Fund – at seed and growth stages
  • Facilitate access to networks, technical expertise and other resources for Fund supported solutions
  • Advocacy and partnership building
  • In close collaboration with OOI’s partnership and communications team, identify partnership opportunities and manage collaborations, particularly with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
  • Lead any external representation with technical partners and platforms relevant to this role, including for advocacy purposes.
  • Develop OOI’s key messages and engagement platform to shape UAV-related technical standards and practice among private sectors, government partners and other relevant stakeholders.

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…


  •  An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in engineering, physics, aeronautics, business administration or other relevant fields.
  • A first University Degree in a relevant field combined with 2 additional years of professional experience may be accepted in lieu of an Advanced University Degree.


  • A minimum of five years of relevant professional experience in technology product development, project, and partnership management. 
  • Demonstrated experience in project management related to unmanned aerial technologies. 
  • Experience with government relations (Civil Aviation Authorities, Telecommunication Authorities, Ministries of Health, Transport, Education, among others). 
  • Demonstrated experience of the commercial drone/aviation industry and with UAS regulations and frameworks.
  • Familiarity with open-source principles and digital public goods. 
  • Experience working in the private sector or managing corporate partnerships.
  • Experience implementing and scaling new projects or technologies in UNICEF programme countries is an asset
  • Experience engaging with stakeholders from different backgrounds and coordinating multi stakeholder activities.
  • Demonstrated outstanding analytical and quantitative skills, and the ability to conduct independent research.
  • Experience working in a decentralized team.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate clearly complex issues for a non-technical audience.
  • Experience and/or familiarity with humanitarian is considered an asset.

Language Requirements:

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