Senior Research Associate: Disaster Modelling, 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

United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS): UNU-EHS, established in December 2003, is part of the UNU system, a worldwide network of Research and Training Institutes. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks. For more information, please visit

The Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII) is hosted at UNU-EHS and is a research-to-policy and practice innovation lab. MCII aims to support and ultimately influence policy making processes that enhance resilience and protect livelihoods of vulnerable communities, through pioneering risk management and risk transfer solutions (e.g. insurance mechanisms) in combination with other approaches to manage climate related risks. For detailed information, please visit:

Climate Risk Analytics: The Risk analytics teams entails a portfolio of projects by MCII, relying on quantitative methods to better understand and inform on climate risk. The main goals for strategic impact are i) to establish analytics to support decisions in adaptation and risk management, ii) to define the “smart mix” of climate response options, including climate risk insurance and to iii) further operational concepts of improved climate risk management also through academic collaborations.


Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS, the guidance of the Head of MCII Division, and the supervision of the risk analytics team lead and the modelling lead, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks: 1. CLIMADA/ECA national calibration

  •  coordinate (with the modelling lead) and the climate risk analytics team the calibration of the ECA framework for loss and damage at the national level;
  •  Encode data inputs in python/Matlab in the CLIMADA modelling platform
  •  Ensure the timely preparation and submission of inputs to meet the project’s requirements;
  •  Ensure data quality and organize data collection as well as storage as required for the different studies
  •  Prepare specific project-related activities as required under the supervision of the modelling lead;
  •  Prepare and participate in field missions, including workshops in target countries.

2. ERA-GIZ macro-economic modelling

  •  Support the modelling effort for the integration of a macro-economic model within the open source platform CLIMADA (with Matlab/python);
  •  Bridge knowledge with other team members and partners and facilitate exchange between qualitative and quantitative project requirements;
  •  Prepare specific project-related activities as required under the supervision of the project and modelling lead;

3. Fundraising and networking

  •  Coordinate with and effectively support the climate risk analytics team efforts in proposal writing related to climate risk and analytics;
  •  Establish a network of relevant stakeholders, including private sector actors, public sector decision-makers, NGOs, community-based groups, research institutions as well as UN organisations.

4. Publications

Participate actively in writing and (co-)authoring of publications and scientific papers;

5. Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor

Key performance indicators

  •  Timely and quality coordination of inputs the calibration of ECA/CLIMADA
  •  Timely and quality development of inputs related to the modelling effort for the ERA project.
  •  High quality and level of engagement with project implementation partners.
  •  UNU-EHS/MCII are seen as a reliable and trustworthy partners by research partners, governments, donors, and civil society.



  •  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 in Remote sensing, Earth observation, Economics, environmental engineering with a background in insurance and/or climate adaptation and/or hazard modelling;



  •  three (3) year of proven professional experience in risk modelling, in the context of risk analytics, climate change adaptation, climate insurance or similar;
  •  Strong modelling skills with excellent command of Matlab and/or Python;
  •  Good command of GIS tools or remote sensing and statistical methods;
  •  Ability to explain complex process (modelling, data requirement, scenarios etc…) to non-experts audiences;
  •  Initiative seeker with an interest to professionally expand into new ways of applying and disseminating quantitative climate risk analysis and insurance;
  •  Excellent presentation and communication skills.


  •  Track record of scientific publications in academic journals;
  •  A good understanding and/or experience in technical and organizational disaster risk reduction and -management and climate change adaptation;
  •  Knowledge of data visualization tools such as Tableau or PowerBI is an asset;
  •  Experience in project management in coordinating with a broad range of actors is an asset
  •  Experience in proposal writing and design of methodological frameworks in the context of development cooperation and in coordinating with a broad range of actors is an asset;
  •  Work experience in developing countries is an asset.

Language Requirements

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


The successful candidate will be employed under a national PSA contract. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary, commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 30 days annual leave and a health insurance scheme.

UNU is not liable for any taxes that may be levied on the remuneration you receive under this contract. Payment of any such taxes remains the sole responsibility of PSA holders.

Duration of contract

This is a full-time employment on a twelve (12) months Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance, with the combined duration of appointments not exceeding six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA holders is 65 years.

This post is open to applicants from all countries and UNU will aid the successful applicant in securing a work visa for Germany, as necessary. It is, however, a locally recruited post and no relocation allowances apply. The duty station will be Bonn, Germany.

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: 30 May 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

PSA holders do no hold international civil servant status nor are they considered a “staff member” as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.

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 organization. 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.

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