Scientific Affairs Officer (Head of UN-SPIDER Bonn Office), P4

By martin.hilljegerdes | Fri, 5 Apr 2024 - 14:00
Scientific Affairs Officer (Head of UN-SPIDER Bonn Office), P4
Bonn, Germany
24-NLS-UNOOSA-231089-R-BONN (R)

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is the United Nations office responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. As such, UNOOSA is also the custodian of Space for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. UNOOSA carries out its mandate, which focusses on strengthening international cooperation in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space and advancing the use of space science and technology for achieving sustainable development, including through the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN-SPIDER). UN-SPIDER has as mission to: "Ensure that all countries and international and regional organizations have access to and develop the capacity to use all types of space-based information to support the full disaster management cycle". As such, its work is directly relevant to UNOOSA’s Space4ClimateAction strategy. This post is located within the UN-SPIDER Programme and based in the UN-SPIDER Office in Bonn. The Scientific Affairs Officer (Head of UN-SPIDER Bonn Office) works under the direct supervision of the Director of UNOOSA.

For more information on UNOOSA, please visit the following website:

Within delegated authority, the Scientific Affairs Officer (Head of UN-SPIDER Bonn Office) will be responsible for the following specific duties:

  • Support the implementation of the UN-SPIDER programme as mandated by the General Assembly and in accordance with the Plans of Work reviewed by the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the United Nations General Assembly. Support the implementation of the activities of the UN-SPIDER Programme assigned to the staff based in Bonn. This involves all the programme activities related to Knowledge Management including the development and maintenance of the Knowledge Portal;
  • Support the development of an overarching UNOOSA Space4Climate Action Strategy, working closely with the Director and Senior Advisor and other Heads of Sections / Teams as required.
  • Ensure synergies and coordination, working closely with the other UN-SPIDER offices in Vienna and Beijing, and, when required, carry out common activities to achieve the objectives of UN-SPIDER programme.
  • As Head of the Bonn Office, responsible for managing and carrying out all administrative activities and responsibilities related to that office, including budgetary and finance matters, funding-related, staff administration, as well as fund-raising for the Programme, ensuring close adherence to United Nations and UNOOSA administrative rules, regulations and policies;
  • Provide expert advice to Member States, with a specific focus on Africa in support also of the wider UNOOSA Africa strategy, and to other UN entities and programmes in matters related to the use of space-based technologies for disaster risk reduction, emergency response and humanitarian assistance, through, inter alia, participating in and/or leading field missions, provision of guidance to external consultants, government officials and other parties, and drafting of mission reports. Work closely with nominated UN-SPIDER National Focal Points and engage with the established UN-SPIDER Regional Support Offices;
  • Maintain liaison and assist Member States in taking advantage of potential opportunities in the area of capacity building and institutional strengthening in support of disaster risk reduction and emergency response;
  • Ensure synergies of the UN-SPIDER Programme with the activities carried out by the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, including the activities of the UN-affiliated Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education;
  • Support coordination of the broader work of the Office for Outer Space Affairs in the area of adaptation to climate change, working closely with organisations within the United Nations system including the Bonn-based Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - UNFCCC, the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University (UNU-EHS) and any other U.N. entities involved in disaster management.
  • In carrying out these activities, develop, implement and evaluate the actions needed, monitor and analyse the development and implementation of these actions, review relevant documents and reports, identify problems and issues to be addressed and initiate corrective actions, liaise with relevant parties, and ensure follow-up actions;
  • Support UN-Space (the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism on space related activities) efforts, and organize and support, as needed, expert meetings to strengthen inter-agency coordination on the use of space-based technologies, ensuring that available opportunities are easily accessed and used by the United Nations system;
  • Provide support to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space as well as to its Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, including preparing and submitting specific reports on the activities of the UN-SPIDER Programme;
  • Research, analyse and present information gathered from diverse sources. Organize and prepare written outputs, e.g. draft background papers, analysis, sections of reports and studies, inputs to publications, etc.;
  • Collect and analyze data to identify trends or patterns and provide insights through graphs, charts, tables and reports using data visualization methods to enable data-driven planning, decision-making, presentation and reporting;
  • Represent UNOOSA in Bonn and interact with national authorities in Germany for liaising on other relevant UNOOSA activities;
  • Perform other work-related duties as required.
  • Professionalism: Has knowledge and professional competence in the area of space-based technologies and space applications solutions applied to risk and disaster risk reduction, emergency response, humanitarian assistance and/or sustainable development and planning or environmental monitoring. Has ability to identify issues, analyse and participate in the resolution of issues/problems. Has ability to develop sources for data collection. Has conceptual analytical and evaluative skills to conduct independent research and analysis, particularly a familiarity with and experience in the use of various research sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Is able to apply judgement in the context of assignments given, plan own work and manage conflicting priorities. Has ability to analyze and interpret data in support of decision-making and convey resulting information to management. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
  • Planning & Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.
  • Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients" and seeks to see things from clients' point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients' needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.

Managerial Competencies

  • Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of gender balance in staffing.

An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in applied space science, geospatial science (including geography and geosciences), information systems, regional and international development or related engineering discipline is required. A first-level university degree in similar fields in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible professional experience in defining and implementing global and regional programmes in the use of space-based technologies or information technology and related technological fields for sustainable development and environmental monitoring is required.

Work experience in providing technical expert support in the areas of developing information technology solutions, disaster risk reduction, emergency response and/or humanitarian assistance is required.

Work experience in the development and implementation of capacity building and knowledge management and transfer activities in developing countries is desirable.

Work experience within the United Nations system or similar international organizations is desirable.

Experience in data analytics or related area is desirable.

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this position, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of German is desirable. Knowledge of another United Nations official language is an advantage.
Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise and a competency-based interview.

At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity.

All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs. The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect.

The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.

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

For this position, applicants from the following Member States, which are unrepresented or under-represented in the UN Secretariat as of 29 Feb 2024, are strongly encouraged to apply: Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Belize, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Libya, Liechtenstein, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Nauru, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Vanuatu.

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

Bonn is classified in the H category and as a family duty station.

Applicants, who successfully go through a competitive recruitment process and are recommended for selection and/or inclusion in the roster of pre-approved candidates for subsequent job openings at the same level and with similar functions, may have their application information and roster status shared with other UN Organizations. Such applicants may be contacted by other UN Organizations for similar job openings, subject to the confirmation of their interest. Placement on the roster is no guarantee of a future selection.

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.

Reasonable accommodation may be provided to applicants with disabilities upon request, to support their participation in the recruitment process.

By accepting a letter of appointment, staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c).  Further, staff members in the Professional and higher category up to and including the D-2 level and the Field Service category are normally required to move periodically to discharge functions in different duty stations under conditions established in ST/AI/2023/3 on Mobility, as may be amended or revised.  This condition of service applies to all position specific job openings and does not apply to temporary positions.

Applicants are urged to carefully follow all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira, and to refer to the Applicant Guide by clicking on “Manuals” in the “Help” tile 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.