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Data Scientist/Advisor, UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence


Parent Sector : Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS)

Duty Station: [[Home-based with possibility of travel]]

Classification of duty station: [[filter12]]

Standard Duration of Assignement : [[filter13]]

Job Family: Social and Human Sciences

Type of contract : Non Staff

Duration of contract : From 7 to 11 months

Recruitment open to : External candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 10-AUG-2022


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




UNESCO, as a world laboratory of ideas, creator of international standards, policy adviser and creator of capacities, has the mandate to promote the development of science and technology from ethical, human and rights approaches. In this framework, UNESCO developed the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that was adopted by its General Conference in its 41st session, being approved by acclamation by 193 member states. This normative instrument translates the what of AI ethics into the how of public policies, offering concrete ways for the implementation of the ethical framework of universal principles and values.

As part of the Recommendation, UNESCO pledged to (1) develop a readiness assessment methodology to assist interested Member States in identifying their status at specific moments of their readiness trajectory along a continuum of dimensions; and (2) ensure support for interested Member States in terms of developing a UNESCO methodology for Ethical Impact Assessment (EIA) of AI technologies, sharing of best practices, assessment guidelines and other mechanisms and analytical work. 


To ensure these tools reflect the needs of Member States, businesses and other stakeholders, UNESCO has embarked on a number of consultation initiatives, such as creating expert groups and running a survey of government officials responsible for AI governance. Developing insights from sources such as surveys or analysis of existing governance mechanisms can help UNESCO steer its work to create greater value added in its work. Innovative data science techniques and data sources also offer new opportunities to gather evidence to inform these efforts.


This post will gather evidence to shape UNESCO’s work on ethical AI via a range of approaches, such survey analysis, analysis of existing documents and policies and stakeholder consultation. The post holder will be expected to suggest new approaches to gather evidence. The post will also take part in shaping the design of the Readiness Assessment and Ethical Impact Assessment tools along as well as other policy initiatives surrounding the Recommendation on Ethical AI. 

Long Description


Scope of the assignment:


Under the authority of the Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences, under the technical guidance of the Director AI and Chief of Executive Office and the Chief of Section for Bioethics and ethics of science, the selected consultant will support the development of Readiness Assessment and Ethical Impact Assessment tools based on:


Producing research

  • Analyse results from the survey of government practices on ethical AI;
  • Propose, run and analyse other surveys where appropriate;
  • Develop innovative approaches to gather data and evidence around ethical AI using data science techniques;
  • Coordinate other initiatives around evidence and analysis supporting UNESCO’s work on the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI.



  • Communicate evidence and research outputs in an impactful manner to influence UNESCO’s policy development process;
  • Help develop and deploy the relevant communication strategy, also by means of contributing to blogs and op-eds in leading media platforms
  • Liaise with stakeholders to gather views and ensure buy-in throughout analysis and development of policy.


Implementing the Recommendation

  • Support UNESCO’s development of a Readiness Assessment and Ethical Impact Assessment methodologies.

Long Description

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Accountability (C)
Communication (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Professionalism (C)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



Academic qualifications:


•    Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in data science, statistics, economics or another relevant quantitative subject. 

Long Description

Professional experience and skills:


•    Excellent knowledge of data science coding languages such as Python or R;
•    A practical understanding of AI and machine learning;
•    Excellent capacity to communicate research outputs, including data visualization;
•    Experience of policy-applied research in AI and innovation policy;
•    Familiarity/working directly with UN/multilateral organizations, and other IOs in this field (OECD in particular)
•    Excellent knowledge of English;
•    Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including interacting with various actors and working effectively and respectfully in a multicultural environment. 


•    Minimum of 5 years of national and international relevant professional experiences in data science, economic research, and/or public policy.


•    Demonstrated experience in leading data science-driven analysis for policy impact 
•    Theoretical understanding and experience on the opportunities and risks around AI developments
•    Communication skills adapted to technical and general audiences




•    PhD in technical/STEM disciplines or economics
•    Fluency in French an asset



Interested candidates should click on “Apply Now”, then download and complete the Employment History form (Word file). At the end of the Word file, insert extra pages with the following required information:

•    A statement indicating how their qualifications and experience make them suitable for the assignment;
•    A written proposal comprising:
•    An approach and methodology for the assignment in line with the terms of reference;
•    The amount to be charged for the assignment, which should be quoted in US dollars on a monthly basis for a 11 month period (full-time working).


Upon completing the Word file with all the requested information above, upload the file at the “My Employment History Form / My Documents” section of the online application form. Only applications with the above requested information will be considered.

Complete the rest of the required sections of the online application form (please make sure to include a list of publications), and submit the application.


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.