Research Associate – Data Analysis and Geographical Information System (GIS) Projects

Research Associate – Data Analysis and Geographical Information System (GIS) Projects

United Nations University-Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS):

UNU-EHS, established in December 2003, is part of the UNU system, a worldwide network of Research and Training Institutes. Its mission is to advance human security through knowledge-based approaches to reducing vulnerability and environmental risks.


The position is split between the two sections on Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES) and Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning (VARMAP). EVES conducts original, policy relevant research addressing the vulnerability and resilience of social-ecological systems, where the concept of ecosystem services is of central importance. Specifically, EVES aims to understand how social-ecological systems are affected by diverse environmental hazards such as water and land degradation, floods, and droughts as well as how ecosystems can support disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Besides original research, the section advocates for ecosystem-based solutions, for example, through engagement in the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR). In the frame of the DELTAS project, EVES seeks to develop a Global Delta Vulnerability Index (GDVI) and works in the Mekong, Amazon and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna deltas.

VARMAP develops and applies conceptual frameworks and scientific methods to assess socio-economic vulnerability and risk in the context of natural hazards, environmental change and societal transformation. The section explores opportunities to reduce risks and to evaluate competing adaptation options. The section has a strong focus on urban areas and rural-urban linkages and is particularly interested in the trends in vulnerability and adaptive capacity as societies undergo wider cultural, economic, demographic and political transformation. VARMAP convenes an interdisciplinary team and has a wide network of scientific and practical partners. It draws on a mixed methods approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative tools for the analysis. The section combines a global focus with clusters of specific regional expertise, notably in Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, West Africa and Europe.


Under the authority of the Director of UNU-EHS and the supervision of the Head of the Environmental Vulnerability & Ecosystem Services (EVES) section and the Head of the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management & Adaptive Planning (VARMAP) section, the successful candidate will be entrusted with the following tasks:

• Conduct the analysis of secondary and primary data using descriptive, bi- and multivariate statistical methods including regression models;
• Set-up and run GIS projects for the integrated geo-spatial analysis and visualization of spatial as well as other statistical data related to risk and vulnerability;
• Conduct data mining at global and national providers of socio-economic and environmental statistical data and base data for GIS applications;
• Perform data cleaning, quality checks, processing and systemization of secondary statistical data as well primary data gathered in household surveys;
• Provide technical support and guidance to the development and calculation of vulnerability and risk indices.

Qualifications and Experience Requirements:

• Masters or higher degree, in Geosciences, Geographical Information Systems, Statistics, Geography, Spatial Planning, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Management or other relevant discipline;
• Minimum one (1) year of relevant working experience;
• Advanced knowledge of ArcGIS (especially spatial analyst);
• Advanced statistical skills and experience with statistical software packages (preferably SPSS);
• Advanced skills in the design and layout of maps and other graphs to illustrate research results in vector-based graphics environments (e.g. Adobe Illustrator or InDesign).

Reference Number: 2015/UNU/EHS/PSA/RA/25

Application Deadline: 12 April 2015

Starting Date: As soon as possible.

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