Senior Policy Advisor and Head of Programme — Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace

Closing date

The Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace programme is a newly formed cluster of projects that includes small, bespoke policy research for senior UN policymakers as well as large, multi-year and multi-stakeholder initiatives on a range of peace, security and prevention topics.

The projects designed in the Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace programme will take account of new trends that are redefining conflict actors and settings, as well as both UN prevention and resolution strategies; this includes, mediation, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and protection of civilians. It also includes emerging topics such as technological disruption, disinformation, trust deficits and changing approaches to multilateral cooperation. The Programme will deliver authoritative insights into the changing nature of conflict, and practices that can sustain peace in an increasingly polarized and networked world. The Senior Policy Advisor and Head of Programme will actively partner with the UN system and Member States to assess research needs, entry points for impact, and develop a research programme and mobilize resources to deliver empirically-grounded research insights to this policy audience.

The Head of Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace programme will provide intellectual leadership and oversight for existing projects and launch new initiatives that align with the objectives of the programme. There is significant room and appetite for innovation and to extend UNU-CPR’s already rich network of partnerships to new audiences and research groups.

About you

You have extensive knowledge of the UN’s conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, including the architecture, financing and key operational actors. Recent academic literature, public opinion, and political currents related to these themes will be familiar and accessible through your networks. Your prior experience will demonstrate you have the capacity to translate empirical research findings into practical policy guidance for senior UN and government actors. You are an excellent writer capable of producing rigorous, accessible reports and mentoring staff to deliver written products of the highest quality. You have experience communicating research ideas and research findings in clear and compelling ways for diverse audiences in both closed-door and large public forums.

Over the course of your career, you will have mobilized resources to support policy research and dissemination activities in support of your own work and the work carried out by teams under your supervision. Experience conducting research in field settings and/or with human subjects is especially helpful. You are politically astute, comfortable working with civil society, scholars, and senior government representatives, charismatic and empathetic, and have a proven track record working as a coalition-builder. You thrive in innovative and purpose-oriented settings and are committed to diversity, equality, and building a workplace that values excellence, empathy, and individual growth equally.


This role reports to the Director of Programmes and the Executive Director.

The Senior Policy Advisor and Head of Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace Programme will be responsible for developing and implementing three-year research and resource-mobilization plan for the Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace Programme, as well as supervising and mentoring project personnel. In addition, they will be responsible for generating policy reports, op-eds, and insights for the UNU-CPR websites, as well as new media offerings that disseminate the programme’s findings to new audiences.

Required qualifications and experience

Required qualifications and experience include:

  • a PhD in a relevant academic discipline is strongly preferred but may be substituted by an advanced degree and a strong publication record;
  • at least 10 years of relevant policy research experience, or a combination of field and research experience;
  • deep knowledge and experience of the United Nations, its principal agencies, and bodies involved in peace and conflict, as well as UN-Member State dynamics;
  • exceptional drafting ability and experience editing academic reports and shorter communications;
  • demonstrated success in fund-raising and in managing donor relations;
  • English is the working language of UNU-CPR; knowledge of other official UN language(s) is desirable;
  • self-direction and the ability to establish priorities, multi-task, and report work activities in a timely and proactive manner, and work within tight timelines;
  • solid interpersonal and problem-solving skills demonstrated by the ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity and gender parity.

At UNU-CPR, we value creativity, curiosity, openness, and respect. The centre is an inclusive environment welcoming of diversity, where personnel are encouraged to share experiences and perspectives, and support colleagues that challenge the status quo. It is an empowering space that offers all personnel, irrespective of status or background, the opportunity to innovate and enrich our shared community.

How to apply

  • Interested applicants should submit their application online through Impactpool by 11 July 2021 and must upload the following documents:

    • a cover letter setting out how your qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations
    • a full curriculum vitae with a list of publications

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