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Programme Specialist (Social and Human Sciences)


Post Number : SHS 322

Grade : P-4

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) : 16-OCT-2022


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



The focus of the Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS) at UNESCO is to foster inclusive societies, by prioritizing policies that benefit those at the bottom of the income distribution, and those that have been most affected by crisis.

Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences Sector (ADG/SHS), guidance from the Director for Partnerships and Outreach and direct supervision of the Chief of Section, the incumbent in this role is responsible for the UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformation (MOST) programme, focused on major trends affecting societies (inequalities, environmental, digital) and promoting inclusive societies.   
More specifically, the incumbent will be expected to: 

  • Maximize the contributions of the MOST program to Member State policies, promoting knowledge creation, brokering, capacity-building, and dissemination within the MOST Comprehensive Strategy 2022-2029, linking with leading institutions and experts within the pillars and thematic priorities of the MOST programme. 
  • Promote integrated social science analytical frameworks, and innovative methodologies to improve understanding of the complex interaction contributing to different trends in our societies. S/he will advance and oversee research contributing to the MOST programme, including in partnership with different institutions linked to the program. 
  • Design and implement spaces for intergovernmental knowledge-policy dialogue, creation and exchange, enabling Member States to share knowledge-informed agendas and define action modalities to fulfil them, for example, through MOST Ministerial Forums and high-level initiatives at leading global forums such as World Sciences Forum and COP 27, among others. 
  • Advance the Inclusive Policy Lab which crowdsources knowledge and translates it into inequality-reducing policies using an online platform and a network of in-country projects. 
  • Under the guidance of Executive Secretary of MOST, coordinate secretariat services for the sessions of the Intergovernmental Council and meetings of its Bureau and the SAC based on the Statutes and Rules of Procedure of MOST, and document and maintain the digital and shared institutional memory of the MOST programme. 
  • Lead and coordinate programme planning, budgeting, commissioning and contracting, activity implementation, monitoring and evaluation and reporting for activities under the MOST strategy. Mobilize resources for programmes and projects and coordinate funding initiatives. Prepare briefings, statements, reports for formal reporting as required. Perform any other relevant duties that may be required by the senior management of the sector. 
  • Advance the implementation of UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy (C/4s), the approved Programme and Budget (C/5), the MOST Comprehensive Strategy 2022-2029, and global development plans such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  
  • Work to advance gender equality and introduce gender approaches in the analytical work. 
  • Support the mobilizing of funds to deliver. 

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.
  • Expertise in social policy and particularly major trends affecting societies (inequalities, environmental, digital) and/or promoting inclusive societies. 

Work Experience

  • A minimum of 7 years of progressive professional experience relevant to social sciences research, social policy and social transformation of which preferably 3 years have been acquired at the international level. 
  • Experience in managing intergovernmental processes and secretariats, and designing, implementing, and coordinating strategies, programmes and activities related to social transformation and research. 
  • Proven track record in fund-raising and other resource mobilization mechanisms.

Skills and competencies 

  • Recognized scientific research, publication, writing and critical thinking competencies. 
  • Strong qualitative and quantitative research skills, and project management, along with resource mobilization. 
  • Proven ability in programme management, including the monitoring and reporting of programme activities and related financial and substantive aspects. 
  • Leadership and expertise, including the ability to manage and motivate staff and teams and to maintain effective working relationships in a multicultural environment. 
  • Capacity to build and maintain effective working relations with national and international authorities, academic and non-government institutions, intergovernmental organizations, including through networking. 
  • Excellent coordination and interpersonal skills. 
  • Ability to participate effectively in high-level negotiations with internal and external partners. 
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to prepare and present findings and recommendations on issues clearly and concisely. 


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



  • PhD in Social Sciences with a history of publications in fields including inequality and exclusion, development of population, environmental change, and society, governance of regional and global commons, or digital transformations and societal disruption.  

Work Experience 

  • Proven knowledge creation and brokering experience.
  • Professional experience in the United Nations system or other multilateral organizations and/or in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral settings/cooperation and development.

Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of UNESCO’s work, and familiarity with SHS Sector activities.
  • Familiarity with the work and general functioning of international organizations and/or the United Nations System.


  • 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 post is 111 891 USD.

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


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line 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.