Job Description


Post Number : SHS 162

Grade : D-1

Parent Sector : Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS)

Duty Station: Paris

Job Family: Social and Human Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 15-FEB 2023


UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism



Under the direct supervision of the Director-general" id="link" class="link">Assistant Director-general for Social and Human Sciences (ADG/SHS), the incumbent will be responsible for the following:

  • Provides strategic direction and leads the planning, Coordination and oversight of the social agenda in the SHS sector. She/he is responsible for advancing state of the art research and policy solutions on topics linked to societal transformation, and the incidence of global trends in our societies, be it inequalities, climate transition, demography and digital economy. She/he will develop specific programmes on the “Managing of Social Transformations” and advance the work on humanities and foresight. She/he will identify best practices in the social development field and will be an advocate of social justice. She/he will enhance the contributions of UNESCO to the UN “Common Agenda”, related particularly to the renewal of the social contract to rebuild social cohesion, the well-being agenda and the fair transition. She/he will help promote the equity-sustainability-efficiency framework.
  • Oversees the management of activities undertaken by the Division including the formulation and implementation of its annual workplan ensuring that programmed activities are carried out in a timely fashion, and coordinates work in the different concerned areas. She/he will ensure the intra-/inter-sectoral cooperation and synergies, working in close coordination with the Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP), Priority Africa and External Relations Sector (PAX), Internal Oversight Service (IOS), among other services, as well as in collaboration with UNESCO field offices to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of SHS programmes under his/her purview. She/he will also ensure coordination with other organizations of the United Nations system, donors and agencies, as appropriate.


  • Manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision; Ensures that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Division and across organizational boundaries. The Director oversees the Section for Management of Social Transformations and Foresight, the Sport Section, and the Section for the Elimination of Doping in Sport of SHS, and connects sports with social inclusion.
  • Directs and manages the work of the Division; formulates and implement the substantive work programme of the Division under his/her supervision, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery. She/he will enhance the quality of SHS knowledge products and methodological frameworks, ensuring they are of the highest standard. She/he will ensure greater impact and dissemination of knowledge products and increased visibility of UNESCO in the field of social and human sciences. As required, she/he will represent the Social and Human Sciences sector in various working groups and taskforces, and prepare documents on policy issues, reports and analytical reviews.

The incumbent works within the framework of UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy (C/4), approved Programme and Budget (C/5), Global Priority Africa and Global Priority Gender, as well as UN development initiatives such as Agenda 2030.

In particular, she/he will:

Knowledge production and quality control:

  • Steer the Social and Human Sciences Sector’s MOST (Management of Social Transformations) programme, which promotes equity outcomes in decision-making in line with an established equity-efficiency-sustainability framework.
  • Oversee the development of the Inclusive Policy Lab, ensuring it is enhanced to deliver concrete policy advice that responds to the challenges Member States face.
  • Oversee the implementation of the MOST Strategy, examining the impact of major societal trends (climate, digital, demographics, inequalities), working with field offices to develop tailor-made policy interventions for Member States.
  • Develop the MOST “Thought Leaders” programme, connecting with innovative thinking on issues linked to the social impact of Climate Change, the Digital Transformation, and inequalities.
  • Oversee the Fit For Life measurement framework (analyzing the impact of sport on societal outcomes), and the work of the Convention for the Elimination of Doping in Sport.
  • Oversee the Sector’s work on humanities and philosophy, digital anthropology, foresight and Futures Literacy.
  • Coordinate workstreams with other research areas across SHS, such as anti-racism and discrimination, gender equality and youth, on a substantive basis.
  • Ensure the effective delivery of the Sector’s flagship report on inequalities, through the partnership with La Caixa Foundation.
  • Guide, steer and oversee knowledge production across the Sector, ensuring high-quality conceptualization, framing, and implementation of advanced research methodologies on social and human sciences and social policies.
  • Provide leadership and oversight for the knowledge products, publications and methodological frameworks implemented and produced by the Sector, ensuring impact and visibility.
  • Provide intellectual leadership and oversight for the development of publications, intersectoral research, and policy Analysis; provide substantive guidance and strategic feedback and support for UNESCO’s work on social and human sciences.

Partnership engagement: Strategic expansion of research networks:

  • Promote a multidisciplinary approach to better understand complex policy issues. She/he will be acquainted with complex system thinking and resilience frameworks.
  • Promote new socio-economic thinking and contribute to advancing the intellectual underpinnings of the United Nations’ Secretary General report “Our Common Agenda”, particularly in relation to the renewal of the social contract to rebuild social cohesion and the well-being metrics.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with current and potential donors in the framework of the UNESCO Resource Mobilization Strategy. She/he will mobilize funds for the Division’s programme and projects.
  • Establish, develop and maintain partnerships with top research and academic institutions.
  • Build and leverage networks with institutions and experts associated with the production of SHS-related knowledge, including UNESCO Chairs and category II centres, among other stakeholders.
  • Foster, manage and coordinate ongoing relationships with partners to ensure greater impact and dissemination of SHS knowledge products and increased global visibility and impact of SHS and of the Organization as a whole.

Management of designated sections:

  • Launch and sustain a research programme on innovative policies that address inequalities in the framework of the Sector’s cooperation with La Caixa Foundation.
  • Provide intellectual leadership on innovative applied research, including with strong knowledge of quantitative methods and Data Analysis.
  • Promote teamwork to ensure coordination, collaboration and synergies among senior managers. Provide information, guidance and support to staff members to ensure timely and high-quality results.
  • Ensure that staff members meet appropriate organizational, efficiency, accountability and integrity standards while delivering high-quality, impactful outcomes.
  • Perform other related duties to support ADG/SHS on all related matters, as required.

Other duties, as required:

  • Represent UNESCO in high-level internal and external meetings and conferences.
  • Represent ADG/SHS, whenever necessary.
  • Participate in the senior management mechanisms of the SHS Sector, UNESCO, and the United Nations system, where relevant.
  • Additional activities that may be required to ensure the success of the Sector.
COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial) Communication (C) Accountability (C) Innovation (C) Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C) Planning and organizing (C) Results focus (C) Teamwork (C) Professionalism (C) Building partnerships (M) Driving and managing change (M) Leading and empowering others (M) Making quality decisions (M) Managing performance (M) Strategic thinking (M) - For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in the field of social and human sciences, public policies, economics, or other related fields.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of progressive relevant professional experience, with a focus on policy development, including at least five years at the international level.
  • Strong experience in conducting, overseeing and publishing innovative research in leading journals on social and human issues to promote inclusive societies, including through quantitative methods, data analysis and state of the art analytical frameworks.
  • A proven track record of successfully establishing and maintaining partnerships at a global, local and community level.
  • A proven capacity to connect with leading intuitions on social and human agendas and a strong knowledge of state-of-the-art research in the field of countering inequalities.
  • Demonstrated experience in advocacy and resource mobilization.
  • A strong and proven record of innovative applied research.

Skills and competencies 

  • Commitment to the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction, and priorities.
  • Capacity for institutional leadership, a high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, diplomacy, tact and political astuteness.
  • Capacity to provide intellectual leadership to guide staff, and an ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large and diverse body of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity, and to oversee ongoing training and staff development.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues and opportunities, and associated risks.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and excellent management abilities, including a capacity to administer multiple programmes and projects, financial and human resources, while exercising appropriate supervision and controls.
  • Excellent organizational skills, including the capacity to establish plans and priorities and to implement them effectively.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to manage relationships at all levels.
  • Excellent communication skills, both orally and in writing; and demonstrated ability to interact with a wide range of high-level partners.


  • Excellent knowledge (written and spoken) of English or French and good knowledge of the other language.


  • PhD in social and human sciences, economics, public policies, or related fields.

Work Experience 

  • Professional experience in the United Nations System and/or in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral settings/cooperation and development.


  • Knowledge of other official language of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/or Spanish). 


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. The approximate annual starting salary for this position is US $152,484.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.

Please note that UNESCO is a non-smoking Organization.




Please note that all candidates must complete an online 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.



UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

Apply Now