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Vacancy Announcement  

Director, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Geneva

Functions and organizational setting

The Director provides overall executive direction and management of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), an autonomous institution within the framework of the United Nations undertaking independent research on international disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and security issues. The Director acts in accordance with UNIDIR’s Statute and under the general directives of its Board of Trustees. UNIDIR works in coordination with the UN system, in particular the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), with Governments, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations. This position is based in Geneva. The successful candidate’s appointment will be limited to service with UNIDIR.

For more information on UNIDIR, please refer to its website

The core functions of the Director include:

  • To formulate the annual draft work programme and budget of the Institute for approval by the Board of Trustees and consideration by the General Assembly;
  • To lead and coordinate all the activities and work of the Institute, i.e. to oversee the development of the Institute’s research agenda and implementation of evidence-based, applied policy research projects, publications and activities; 
  • To formulate and be accountable for all expenditures authorized in the budget; 
  • To undertake fund-raising in order to support the Institute’s staff and activities, and ensure the financial sustainability of the Institute; 
  • To appoint and direct all staff of the Institute, including research fellows and consultants;
  • To establish and maintain effective relationships with Member States, donor governments and foundations, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations and to coordinate the work of the Institute with that of other international and national public and private policy and research entities in the field;
  • To represent UNIDIR at international conferences, seminars and meetings relevant to the work and activities of the Institute;
  • To undertake public information and education activities to promote the work of the Institute and carry out advocacy initiatives;
  • To serve as ex officio member of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters.

Priorities of the position

Following a period of extensive growth at the Institute, the Director will be responsible for the further strengthening of UNIDIR’s role to respond to a rapidly evolving disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and security environment. She/he will identify opportunities and develop strategies to implement UNIDIR’s mandate to undertake independent research on disarmament and related international security problems and support informed participation in disarmament processes. She/he will be responsible for the development of the Institute’s work programme and ensuring its operational and financial sustainability. She/he is required to function effectively with staff and diverse stakeholders at many levels and with broadly divergent interests. Success will be measured in terms of creating added value for the Institute and States, providing impartial expertise and high-quality research products, effective fund raising and management.

Success will depend on the following key components:

Leadership – She/he must forge and sustain strong relations with the Members of the Board of Trustees, who serve as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, to assist them in the development of their vision, approaches and recommendations. She/he must provide a research vision that is comprehensive, realistic and achievable. The Director must effectively lead and direct the Institute’s staff and researchers.

Stakeholder engagement – The Director must sustain the external visibility of the Institute, communicate clearly and concisely with a wide variety of stakeholders, and successfully produce outcomes that fulfil the Institute’s mandate. She/he must build and maintain relationships with States and key partners, applying her/his skills as an effective negotiator and influencer.

Fundraising – The Director must have a proven record as a fund raiser and be the key driver in ensuring the financial sustainability of the Institute to enable support for its activities and staff.

Management of the Institute – The Director will effectively recruit, manage, inspire and motivate people to deliver high quality research projects and programmes. She/he will ensure appropriate planning; coordination; communication and implementation plans are put into place to fulfil the Institute’s approved work plan.

Candidate Profile and Qualifications

This is a unique opportunity for a truly experienced leader to further the Institute’s delivery of expertise and in-depth research and contribute to progress in multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and international peace and security at a time of profound change.

Education: Advanced university degree in international security, international relations, political science, international law, related science or other related fields is required; a doctoral qualification is highly desirable. A record of managing and undertaking research is highly desirable.

Work experience: Over 15 years of progressively responsible experience in disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and international peace and security research or other related area. Experience at senior level positions at the national or international levels is required. Experience in grant formulation and fund-raising as well as managerial experience in international settings is required. 

Languages: English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For this post, fluency in written and spoken English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. 

Applications from women candidates are strongly encouraged. 

Interested applicants should submit a curriculum vitae, together with a cover letter outlining the reasons for their interest in and qualifications for the post to the United Nations at the following e-mail address: by 28th September 2020.