With over 40 years of experience, UNIDIR is an autonomous institution within the United Nations that conducts independent research on disarmament and related problems; particularly international security issues.

Our specialized focus on disarmament and arms control sets us apart from other think tanks. Our status within the United Nations system enables us to engage with and support Member State deliberations. Our role is to provide ideas and advice and to facilitate dialogue that can advance multilateral arms control and disarmament.

Researcher – Space Security Programme


Position Title: Researcher 

Contract: Temporary

Occupational rate: 100%

Desired Starting date: 1 April 2023 

Duration: 12 months, with the possibility of extension

Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Remuneration: IICA-2


The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) is an autonomous institution within the United Nations that conducts independent research on disarmament and related problems, particularly international security issues. The vision of UNIDIR is a stable and more secure world in which States and people are protected from the threat of arms-related violence. The role of UNIDIR is to support Member States, the United Nations and policy and research communities in advancing ideas and actions that contribute to a more sustainable and peaceful world. UNIDIR is based in the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

UNIDIR’s Space Security Programme is building knowledge and awareness on the international security implications and risks that surround the space domain and the use of space technology, as well as contributing to the efforts of policymakers to keep outer space peaceful and secure for all humankind.


Within UNIDIR’s Space Security Programme, the Researcher will perform the following duties under the supervision of the Head of Programme:

1. Conducting research and analysis:

  • Produce original research and studies related to space security issues;
  • Prepare working papers and presentations on space security-related issues;
  • Monitor discussions to identify key issues in Space Security requiring further technical analysis;
  • Support the Head of Programme with the development of research design and methodologies to facilitate the implementation of the Space Security Programme’s research priorities.

2. Assist in management and implementation of research activities under the Space Security Programme:

  • Help establish project plans and milestones;
  • Support the coordination of project activities and budgets with the Head of Programme, relevant Researchers and institutional staff; 
  • Liaise with partners from States, regional organizations, the United Nations and expert NGOs for implementing Space Security research activities;
  • Organize meetings, seminars, and workshops for Space Security, covering the full lifecycle of activities (including, but not limited to, drafting invitations, distribution lists, agenda, logistical notes, as well as substantive preparations for, and facilitation during, Space Security programme events) in collaboration with colleagues in the WMD programme;
  • Produce meeting summaries, reports, briefs and analysis papers from consultations, meetings and events held or attended by UNIDIR on issues relevant to space security;
  • Assist in monitoring and evaluation of project implementation, including preparation and production of publications, donor reports and other official documents.

3. Undertake day-to-day planning and organization of Space Security, including (but not limited to): 

  • Support the preparation of meetings, events and workshops on space security;
  • Support the Head of Programme in outreach activities with relevant stakeholders to promote the programmes work;
  • Organize and maintain documentation and records.

4. Support the design, development and review of Space Security Programme strategies and projects:

  • Assist in drafting proposals and concept notes on space security related issues;
  • Support the Head of Programme and relevant Researchers by leading and/or participating in consultations with stakeholders in the development of concepts and strategies. 

5. Assists in providing policy guidance and support for UN policy processes:

  • Provide support to the Chair of the Open-Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats and other related international processes as required.
  • Draft briefs, memos, backgrounds on space security; 
  • Assist the Chair of the OEWG and other relevant bodies, as required, in gathering policy positions and recommendations on emerging issues as well as for issues covered under the existing projects;

6. Assist in other duties as assigned by the Institute’s management. 

Schedule for the proposed work

A workplan for the duration of the contract will be established within the first two weeks of the contract. The Researcher will have regular communication with the Head of Programme in order to set assignments within the workplan and monitor progress. The Researcher will inform the Head of Programme if there are any issues concerning meeting agreed deliverables and deadlines.


The Researcher is to demonstrate the core values of the United Nations: Professionalism, Integrity, and Respect for Diversity.

In addition, in this role, the Researcher will demonstrate the following competences:

  • 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.
  • 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; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
  • 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.
  • Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Qualifications and Experience


Advanced university qualification (Master’s degree or equivalent) in international affairs, political science, international law, public administration, disarmament and arms control, international security or a related field is required. Doctorate or equivalent qualification in international affairs, political science, international law or a relevant scientific or technical field is desirable.


  • A minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience in the field of disarmament and arms control, international security or a related field, of which at least 2 years in the field of Space Security is required.
  • A proven track record of drafting written outputs, including meeting summaries, conducting original research and analysis, is required. 
  • Computer competency, including but not limited to Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), is required.
  • A successful track record in project management is required, including in the following areas: designing project activities; monitoring timelines and milestones; implementing activities within budget and on time; overseeing and guiding research activities of team members; and conducting follow up on project activities.
  • Knowledge of gender issues or experience with gender mainstreaming in a field relevant to the position is desirable.
  • Knowledge of current international debates and recent developments in space security is required.
  • Experience in of multilateral processes regarding space security, and experience working at an international or regional organization is desirable. 
  • Existing relationships with relevant stakeholders, including regional organisations, UN agencies and programmes working in the field of cyber security is desirable. 


For this assignment, fluency in English (both written and oral) is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is desirable.


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


The Researcher may be required to travel during the course of this assignment. Dates and locations will be determined during implementation of the Programme. The Researcher must complete the UN course BSAFE (online) and provide UNIDIR with a certificate of completion.


UNIDIR retains copyright of all documents and the ownership of the intellectual property resulting from all work carried out under this contract. The Researcher warrants that any written work will be original works or that where s/he incorporates copyright material from another source, copyright permission for its use will be obtained. Written output(s) may be attributed to the Researcher.

To apply

The applicant should submit:

  • A cover letter
  • UN Personal History Profile (PHP) created via Inspira 
  • Name and contact details of three references.

Applications should be sent as email attachments, with the subject line “Application: SPACE Researcher” to unidir.recruitment@un.org. No applications will be accepted by post. Deadline for submission of applications is 16 February 2023. Closing date is midnight Geneva time. 

Please note that due to the high volume of applications received, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Should you move forward in the process, you may be contacted for further assessment.

UNIDIR promotes the core values of the United Nations: Integrity, Professionalism and Respect for Diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.

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