Senior Research Associate: Capacity Development for Circular Economy in the Textile Industry (Part-time 50%)

United Nations University

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, furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. UNU’s mission 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, United Nations University (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, 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.

United Nations University Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES)

UNU-FLORES is one of 13 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system. UNU-FLORES develops strategies to resolve pressing issues in the sustainable use and integrated management of environmental resources such as water, soil, waste, energy, and other geo-resources that are of concern to the United Nations and its Member States – particularly in developing and emerging economies. Based in Dresden, Germany, the Institute engages in research, capacity development, postgraduate teaching, advanced training, and knowledge dissemination to advance the Resource Nexus. For more information, please visit

Circular Economy in the Textile Industry

You will be part of the Chair for Sustainability and Textile Innovation – Phase 2 project and work alongside the Scientific Coordinator to conduct the content development and provide (online) training and qualification courses as well as support the curricula development in the respective field. Your dedication to the work also includes administrative tasks in the context of project coordination and (digital) project events. Next to some field visits, our international work also requires innovative digital didactic teaching / training concepts and collaboration solutions to convey all project activities successfully, engage actively and support inclusivity.


Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-FLORES and direct supervision of the Scientific Coordinator of Sustainability and Innovation Management, the successful candidate will be responsible for the following tasks:

1. Conduct research related to Sustainability and Textile Innovation

  • Contribute effectively to the Institute’s research programme by designing, implementing, and managing research projects related to advancing the Resource Nexus;
  • Contribute to emerging issues advancing the resource nexus that are of interest to the United Nations, its Member States, the United Nations University, and relevant policymakers;
  • Prepare research studies and management reports; and
  • Organise literature reviews and oversee the evaluation and examination of research including designing questionnaires and case studies

2. Capacity Development

  • Participate in the capacity development and outreach activities to relevant stakeholders;
  • Support with organising activities such as workshops related to the Research Programme; and
  • Participate in local and international research, policy, and outreach activities.

3. Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

  • Provide timely updates and responses to partner organisations, organise, and contribute to meetings with key stakeholders;
  • Draft project deliverables and reports, and contribute to dissemination;
  • Contribute to publications and publish in peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and policy briefs; actively represent the Institute by presenting papers where appropriate; and
  • In close collaboration with the Partnerships and Liaison Officer foster collaboration and work with current and potential research partners.

4. Educational Development

  • Co supervise staff, fellows, scholars, PhD students, master students, and interns; and
  • Contribute to the Institute’s teaching activities, especially e-learning and capacity development.

5. Institutional Development

  • Assist in fundraising activities on behalf of the Institute; and
  • Contribute to discussions regarding the Institute’s strategic and implementation plan and ensure direct reports support with the execution of the implementation plan.

6. Perform other duties as assigned by supervisor or the Director

Key performance indicators

  • Timely and quality development and implementation of the assigned performance goals
  • A high level of academic excellence including authoring publications
  • Quality and proactive level of engagement with UNU-FLORES partners (research partners, government, donors)
  • Contribution to the positive reputation of UNU-FLORES as a reliable and trustworthy partner among 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


Required Qualifications and Experience

  • A PhD or equivalent in Environmental Sciences, Textile Engineering, Circular Economy, Sustainability Development or other relevant field with at least one (1) year of post-graduate research experience in the international context (specifically experience in the Global South desirable); or
  • A Master’s degree or equivalent in Environmental Sciences, Textile Engineering, Sustainable Development or other relevant field with at least three (3) years of post-graduate research experience in or other working experience (e.g. educational institutes or industry) within an international context.
  • Knowledge/experience of developing independent research projects, methods, and proposals is required;
  • Excellent communications, writing, and analytical skills with experience in drafting complex reports, communications, and presentations is required;
  • Experience with grant writing and fundraising is required;
  • A track record of research publications in areas related to textile engineering, circular economy, or sustainable development or integrated resources management is mandatory;
  • Must demonstrate a willingness and ability to travel both nationally and internationally;
  • Experience and extensive knowledge of Microsoft Office is required;
  • (Digital) teaching experience is essential and dedicated experience in developing innovative learning and teaching formats as well as didactical concepts for sustainable development required;
  • Strong planning, organisation, and time management skills, with the ability to communicate clearly and efficiently;
  • Must be flexible with the ability to establish priorities and work within prescribed timeframes; and
  • An excellent team player with strong interpersonal skills, as demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity; and
  • Fluency in English is required.


  • Dedicated experience in developing innovative learning and teaching formats as well as didactical concepts for sustainable development;
  • Industry experience in (technical) textile engineering, sustainable materials and manufacturing, circular economy, waste management is desirable;
  • Previous experience of environmental issues of the global south, regional experience and familiarity of the world’s complexities is beneficial;
  • Experience with stakeholder engagement, outreach, and event organisation is an asset; and
  • Fluency in German and Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset.


The successful candidate will be employed under a national PSA contract, and no relocation allowances apply. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including a competitive (tax-exempt in Germany) net monthly salary of EUR 1,665, commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 15 days of 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 part-time (50%) employment for an initial duration of 1 year. This is a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU, with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration on a PSA contract with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The funding for this position is provided by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH for the project duration until 30 September 2024.

The mandatory age of retirement for PSA holders is 65 years.

Expected start date: as soon as possible


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 not 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.

Scam warning

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How to apply

How to Apply:

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

  • Apply via the apply link;
  • fill out the HP-Personal-History-Form-FINAL.docx" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form); and
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position.

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

Application Deadline: 31 July 2022

Noting that Closing date is 31-Jul-22