Job: UNESCO Chief of Section For Capacity Building In Science and Engineering 2020

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO

The Section provides an overarching platform to fulfil UNESCO’s unique mandate in the basic sciences, engineering and STEM education. Its purpose is to build human and institutional capacities in the basic sciences and engineering through the development of policy, research, networks, educational and training activities. The Section also services the International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP) and is the focal point for cooperation with ICTP, TWAS, CERN, SESAME and Scientific Unions and Institutions, with the UNESCO-affiliated centres and Chairs in the field of STEM and manages the related science prizes.

Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences (ADG/SC) and the direct supervision of the Director of the Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building (SC/PCB), the incumbent, as Chief of Section for Capacity Building in Science and Engineering, will be responsible for designing, leading and coordinating  the implementation of UNESCO’s work in the field of capacity development for research, education and innovation in  the Basic Sciences and Engineering.  The incumbent will support the Member States in the implementation of strategies to increase science capacity including the use of science for sustainable development to implement the 2030 Agenda. In addition, the incumbent will be responsible for the overall management of the Section and its staff. More specifically, the incumbent will be expected to perform the following duties:

Long Description

  • Direct the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of basic and engineering sciences programme.
  • Provide intellectual leadership and guidance to the Section in order to develop, drive and ensure the delivery of the expected results approved by UNESCO’s governing bodies in the field of basic and engineering sciences capacity development for research, education and innovation, and deliver expert advice and a comprehensive programme to Member States.
  • Provide intellectual leadership and advice in mobilising full spectrum of basic sciences and engineering to address complex interlinked global challenges.
  • Contribute to the strengthening and extension of scientific networks and developing training opportunites for young scientists for the promotion of scientific capacity, in particular through UNESCO-affiliated Centers, Chairs and Institutes, and the International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).
  • Coordinate science and engineering publications, disseminate guidelines and other policy and capacity development materials, documents and technical products and information to Member States.
  • Facilitate dialogue and exchange across expertise and throughout networks on emerging trends, and best practices in the field of STEM and engineering.
  • Actively network to create synergies and increase visibility, strengthen and identify key partnerships, establish and pursue alliances on cross–organizational  issues  and mobilize extrabudgetary funding for the implementation of the programme.
  • Contribute to the work of working groups and task forces in preparation of the Natural Sciences Sector strategy documents, recommendations and decisions for the consideration of the Senior Management Team.

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COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)
Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Building partnerships (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Making quality decisions (M)
Managing performance (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)


  • Advanced University degree (Masters or equivalent) in the field of basic and/or engineering sciences.

Work Experience

  • Minimum 10 years of progressively responsible relevant work experience in programme management in  the field of basic sciences, science and technology, and or engineering, of which at least 5 years acquired at the international level.
  • Proven experience in high-level policy advice to Member States or decision makers and in capacity building in science, and or engineering technology and innovation.
  • Experience in conceptualizing research, teaching and/or training in STEM disciplines; and an established record of scientific publications including lead authorship in science and or engineering research and innovation
  • Proven experience in fund raising and resource mobilization.
  • Proven experience in forging partnerships and cooperation, and in driving global science advocacy initiatives.
  • Proven experience of large scale programme design at national, regional or international levels in the field of basic sciences and or engineering
  • Proven experience in leading, managing and motivating teams and staff.
Skills and competencies
  • Knowledge of, and commitment to UNESCO’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • Demonstrated managerial competency
  • Strong conceptual, analytical, organizational and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to take initiative and master assignments with a high degree of autonomy and acute political awareness and sensitivity.
  • Sound judgement and decision-making skills.
  • Demonstrated leadership and supervisory ability, including the capacity to maintain effective working relations in a multicultural environment.
  • Proven ability to communicate, advocate, and negotiate effectively with stakeholders at all levels within and outside the Organization.
  • Capacity to build, develop and maintain partnerships and interact with a range of partners.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, with proven ability to provide high quality, clear and concise presentations, documents, reports and recommendations.
  • Good IT skills including a working knowledge of office software.


  • Excellent knowledge of English.

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To Apply

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  • Ph.D. or equivalent degree in the field of Natural science, and/or engineering.

Work Experience

  • High level university teaching and research experience and/or service, including in developing countries, in the field of basic  and or engineering sciences.
  • Experience in designing, developing and implementing programmes within government or the private sector in the field of Science and or engineering.
  • Knowledge of and experience in international science and or engineering programmes and policy setting processes.
  • Experience with specialized agencies of the UN system and/or professional NGOs and /or organizations for international technical cooperation.
  • Experience in leading/working with multi-donor/and or multi-stakeholders science and/or engineering project design, implementation monitoring and evaluation at national, regional or global level
  • Experience in leading and managing an international team of experts and/or staff in scientific programmes
  • Experience in organizational reform leading to transformational changes in programme implementation.


  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations and/or the UN system.


  • Knowledge of French.
  • Knowledge of another UNESCO official language (Arabic, Chinese, Spanish or Russian).
UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc. For more information in benefits and entitlements, please consult ICSC website.

Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.

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Read more on UNESCO Careers website