Senior Scientific Affairs Officer

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Vienna, Austria
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. UNEP provides the secretariat for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), which is based in Vienna. Its mandate is to evaluate the sources of ionizing radiation and their effects on human health and the environment for the General Assembly, the scientific community and the public. Governments and organizations throughout the world rely on the Committee’s assessments as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk and establishing protective measures. The incumbent will be under the direct supervision of the Secretary of the Committee and the overall supervision of the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme through the Director of the Science Division undertake the following duties. The incumbent’s role is to support the Secretary and the Committee in performing their work according to their mandates, roles and responsibilities.


1. Scientific tasks:
• Support the Committee in development and implementation of scientific evaluations, in particular related to biological and health effects due to radiation exposure. According to the project, manage the scientific experts involved in assembling the scientific data, rigorously review data and technical vocabulary to ensure accurate and timely submission of highly technical documents, such as UNSCEAR reports, to the Committee for approval; direct subordinates in project implementation, monitoring and assessment; direct review of scientific documents and reports; identify priorities, problems and issues to be addressed and propose corrective actions; liaise with relevant parties; identify and initiate follow-up actions.
• Supervise and as required prepare various written outputs of the Secretariat, including background papers, analysis, substantial sections of reports and studies, and inputs with regards to radiation effect and sources to UNSCEAR publications.
• Direct scientific research and evaluation of results for exposure level of atomic radiation, carried out by technical experts, in particular at workplaces and medical settings. Further, present information gathered from diverse sources to the Committee.
• Manage survey initiatives on medical and occupational exposures; guide and develop design of data collection instruments; review, analyze and interpret responses, identify problems/issues.
• Serve as a focal point for collaboration on data collection; provide authoritative technical advice and assistance to, and engage with relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental bodies, Member State officials, international and other organizations on planning, evaluating strategies, at global, regional or national levels.
2. Managerial tasks:
Under the guidance of the Secretary:
• Ensure effective utilization, supervision and development of staff and consultants; Guide, evaluate and mentor staff and consultants.
• Take the lead in establishing partnerships with other experts and stakeholders (e.g. governments, research institutes, academia, UN system and other international organizations, NGOs, the private sector, etc.) to discuss emerging topics in the field of medical and occupational radiation and its effects on human and the environment; present the Secretariat’s work and Committee’s findings in this field.
3. Outreach tasks:
• Plan and direct, with support of UNIS and other relevant parties, targeted campaigns to further improve awareness of the Committee and its findings and facilitate knowledge sharing in an easy to understand scientific language and appropriate dissemination of information, and ultimately ensure that the latest thinking is available to relevant multipliers in government and incorporated into development programmes and other initiatives.
• Represent the Committee, its secretariat and/or the United Nations Environment Programme at relevant national and international conferences, fora and present scientific work and findings of the Committee; coordinate and chair and/or contribute substantively to scientific seminars, general training programmes, workshops and expert group meetings.
4. Deputy functions:
In the absence of the Secretary:
• Represent the Secretary of the Scientific Committee, e.g. in liaison with Member States and the General Assembly.
• At diplomatic level coordinate provision of substantive services to inter-governmental and UN bodies (e.g. the General Assembly); as well as top ranking official of the United Nations.
• Assist Member States and facilitate the negotiation process and promote a constructive dialogue and collaboration in support of the UNSCEAR Report to the General Assembly, as well as the Resolution for the General Assembly on Effects of Atomic Radiation.
• Coordinate and facilitate the preparation of accurate highly technical scientific parliamentary documents on effects of atomic radiation for the annual session for the Scientific Committee’s review and approval.
• Represent the Secretary at the Committee’s session (plenary or the sub-group meetings) and guide productive and constructive negotiations of detailed scientific discussions.
• Support Member States and the Informal Contact Group of the States member of UNSCEAR with regards to the work of UNSCEAR and hold annual presentations to non-scientist diplomats of Member States informing about UNSCEAR work and its findings. Represent the Committee, its secretariat and the United Nations Environment Programme at international, regional and national meetings. Provide support to and make presentations at consultative and intergovernmental meetings, including conferences.
• Perform other work-related duties.


• Professionalism: Proven knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to biological and health effects of atomic radiation. Ability to identify key strategic issues, opportunities and risks. Ability to generate and communicate broad and compelling organizational direction. Ability to communicate clearly links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals. Demonstrated ability to provide innovative technical leadership by performing and/or overseeing the planning, development, and management of operation. Demonstrated ability to negotiate and apply good judgment. Proven ability to analyze complex data and produce reports leading to sound policy recommendations for achieving sustainable development. Solid understanding of the historical role of the Scientific Committee since its inception in 1955. Ability to think strategically, to identify key emerging sustainable development issues and related policy implications. Show pride in work and in achievements; demonstration of professional competence and mastery of subject matter. Conscientiousness and efficiency in meeting commitments, observation of deadlines and achieving results. Motivated person by professional rather than personal concerns; showing persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; and remaining calm in stressful situations.Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
• Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
• Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; and takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
• Managing Performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; and appraises performance fairly.
• Vision: Identifies strategic issues, opportunities and risks; clearly communicates links between the Organization’s strategy and the work unit’s goals; generates and communicates broad and compelling organizational direction, inspiring others to pursue that same direction; and conveys enthusiasm about future possibilities.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in biology, medicine, physics or similar scientific discipline ideally with a specialization in either radiation biology or epidemiology. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible experience in radiation science (e.g. physics, biology or epidemiology) at least five (5) of which should be at the international level is required
Experience in evaluating effects of medical or occupational exposure is desirable.
Experience in presenting scientific reports/evaluations at international fora is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the UN Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in oral and written English is required including highly specialized language. Knowledge of other UN languages is desirable.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview

Special Notice

Appointment against this position is for a period of one year and may be subject to extension. Staff Members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staffs are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

Staff members of the United Nations Secretariat must fulfill the lateral move(s) requirements, or geographical to be eligible to apply for this vacancy. Staff members are requested to indicate all qualifying lateral or geographical move(s) in their Personal History Profile (PHP) and cover note.

Internal Applicants – when completing the PHP, ensure ALL fields, ALL professional experience and contact information are completed and up to date. This information is the basis for the hiring manager to assess your eligibility and suitability for the position and to contact you.

Individual contractors and consultants who have worked within the UN Secretariat in the last six months, irrespective of the administering entity, are ineligible to apply for professional and higher temporary or fixed-term positions and their applications will not be considered.

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply on-line as soon as possible after the job opening has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the job opening. On-line applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an email acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please resubmit the application, if necessary. If the problem persists, please seek technical assistance through the Inspira "Need Help?" link.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.