Head of Communications, Bonn, Germany At United Nations University (UNU)

About UN University (UNU)

The United Nations University (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. For more information, please visit http://unu.edu

United Nations University Vice-Rectorate in Europe (UNU-ViE) established in 2007, is one of two Vice-Rectorates and the only one located outside Japan. UNU-ViE seeks to strengthen the presence of UNU in Europe and supports the worldwide institutional development of UNU by facilitating collaboration across UNU and the UN, and sharing knowledge and expertise through the development of joint activities and projects. In addition to its core mandate, it administers the central units providing service to both UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS. For more information, please visit: http://vie.unu.edu/.

United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) established in December 2003, is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit www.ehs.unu.edu


Reporting to the Vice-Rector in Europe (ViE) /Director of UNU-EHS, the Head of Communication is responsible for the following duties: 1. Manage the Communications Team and serve on the EHS Management Team

  •  Lead and direct a team of communication personnel, plan and allocate work assignments, mentor and evaluate personnel, participate in the recruitment and selection of new personnel and in the development of training programmes related to communication skills.
  •  Manage the day-to-day operations of the communications unit, including budget submission, allocation and monitoring, personnel planning and implementation of administrative policies. Monitoring and evaluation of unit’s work.
  •  Serve as a member of the management team and participate in institution-wide initiatives as directed by the Vice-Rector/Director.
  •  Serve as a Certifying Officer for UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS and as Officer-in-Charge for the Vice-Rector/Director and Deputy Director, when assigned.

2. Develop communications strategy and provide strategic communications advice

  •  Conceptualize, design and execute the overall UNU-EHS and UNU-ViE communication strategy, programmes and activities for UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS.
  •  Provide strategic advice and expertise to the Vice-Rector/Director, management team and communications unit on a wide range of communication topics, methods and approaches, anticipate and resolve communication related issues, including mitigation and management of reputational risks.
  •  Take the lead in strategy, planning, development and implementation of global communication campaigns (e.g. around UNU-EHS participation in key UN conferences, the launch of UNU-EHS flagship publication), work closely with research leads to develop campaign messaging and themes. Build strategic partnerships with partners, donors and UN agencies to amplify messaging and increase impact.

3. Develop media and digital outreach strategies

  •  As the principal liaison to media, respond to media inquiries and proactively position UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS in the global media landscape. Build and maintain strong networks with journalists. Conduct or manage media training for senior staff. Identify developing stories and monitor UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS media presence through media monitoring tools.
  •  Facilitate the development and implementation of UNU-EHS and UNU-ViE digital outreach strategy in line with UNU-EHS and UNU-VIE objectives and priorities, including messaging, audience identification and choice of social media platforms. Conduct or manage social media trainings for senior staff. Facilitate the production of website content, monitor user traffic and engagement, advice on continuous website development.

4. Production of publications and various communications materials

  •  Prepare and facilitate the preparation of high-quality communication products, such as press releases, website features, social media posts and newsletter articles and Op-eds. Facilitate the production of UNU-ViE and UNU-EHS publications from raw content to publishing.
  •  Identify the need for, and manage the production of specific types of communications products and content (e.g. videos, audio, photography, animations, interactive infographics,) either by supervising in-house production or hiring and managing external vendors.

5. Build and strengthen strategic partnerships and proposal development

  •  Prepare and facilitate the preparation of communication and outreach objectives, strategies and budgets for large research proposals. Once grants are received, manage staffing, facilitate strategy and activity implementation and serve as lead liaison to partners and donors for all communication related issues.
  •  Develop and coordinate strategic partnerships with key constituencies, including partners, donors and other UN agencies. Represent UNU-EHS and UNU-ViE and internal and external coordination groups, such as the UNU Global Communication Group, the UN Communication Group Bonn and the UN Climate Change Communication Group

6. Perform other duties as assigned by the Director

Key performance indicators

  •  Production and distribution of high-quality communication products tailored to relevant target audiences around all key communication opportunities for UNU-ViE/EHS (e.g. flagship publication launch, COP)
  •  Timely and quality provision of communications strategy advise to Director and management team;
  •  Timely and accurate coordination of communications campaigns and projects to ensure they are on time, on scope, on budget, in line with the annual Comms workplan;



  •  Inclusion — Take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin or any other aspect of identity
  •  Integrity — Act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards
  •  Humility — Demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others
  •  Humanity — Act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet


  •  Connect and collaborate — Build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  •  Analyse and plan — Seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions and plan action
  •  Deliver results with positive impact — Hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
  •  Learn and develop — Pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  •  Adapt and innovate — Demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


Education and certification

  •  Master’s degree or equivalent in communications or other relevant social sciences


  •  At least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in strategic communications in an academic or development setting, some of which preferably in an international setting;
  •  Exert knowledge of digital/social channels and tools;
  •  Experience in drafting communications strategies, complex reports, communications and presentations is required;
  •  Demonstrated ability to develop and deliver high quality communications products to external partners, particularly across the UN agencies and partners.
  •  Excellent verbal and written skills in English across a range of communication formats (academic publications, program reports, policy briefs) knowledge of other official UN languages or language of the duty station would be an asset.
  •  Strong track record in contributing communication expertise to the resource mobilisation effortsof UNU-ViE/EHS.
  •  Excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  •  Other Desirable Skills: Initiative, strong conceptual abilities, sound judgment, resilience and an interest in development work

Language Requirements

  •  Fluency in English is required
  •  Knowledge of the other UN official working language or language of the duty station is an asset.


UNU offers an attractive, tax exempt compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy.

For more information please see: https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=SAL

Duration of contract

This is a full-time, fixed-term appointment. The initial appointment will be for one (1) year with the possibility of renewal on a fixed-term appointment basis, subject to satisfactory work performance. For academic positions, the combined duration of fixed-term appointments with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for United Nations staff is 65 years.

Expected start date: As soon as possible

How to Apply:

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  •  Fill out the UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  •  provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form);
  •  provide a cover letter setting out how the qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position;
  •  answer a few questions that are tailored to the position; and
  •  apply via the apply link.

You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

Application Deadline: 7 June 2023


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references.

Special notice

Staff members of the United Nations University are international civil servants subject to the Rector’s authority. They may be assigned to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations University. The Rector reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a level below that advertised.

UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities to apply and become part of the organisation. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are also encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.

Scam warning

UNU does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Should you receive a solicitation for the payment of a fee, please disregard it. Furthermore, please note that emblems, logos, names and addresses are easily copied and reproduced. Therefore, you are advised to apply particular care when submitting personal information on the web.



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July 2024