Executive Director (Re-advertisement)


Post Number : 1ITSC0824VC

Grade : D-1

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Trieste

Job Family: Natural Sciences

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 03-JAN-2024


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



Within the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO, the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) promotes international cooperation in science in the interests of peace and sustainable development.

The main objectives of the Academy are to recognize, support and promote excellence in scientific research in the South; to provide promising scientists in the South with the research facilities necessary for the advancement of their work; to facilitate contacts between individual scientists and Institutions in the South; to encourage North-South and South-South cooperation between individuals and centres of scholarship; and to promote scientific research on major challenges faced by developing countries.


Under the overall authority of the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences and the guidance of the TWAS Steering Committee and the TWAS Council as regards the programmatic direction, the incumbent will be responsible for providing intellectual, strategic and operational leadership in the development, management, planning and execution of TWAS international scientific cooperation programmes, in line with the Organization’s policies and procedures and within the framework of UNESCO’s approved Programme and Budget (C/5). The incumbent shall also be responsible for the coordination of the work with the associated organizations hosted by the Academy; the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and the Inter academy Partnership, bringing together renowned networks of academies of science and medicine.

Long Description

In addition, the incumbent will:


  • Provide leadership, guidance and effective internal control to the work of TWAS staff in relation to the implementation of all TWAS programme activities, including the preparation of annual programmes, reports, action plans and budget projections to the UNESCO governing bodies and donors;
  • Develop synergies with UNESCO programmes in the field of basic sciences, including the International Basic Science Cooperation and explore and develop opportunities for joint initiatives within the UNESCO family in this field;
  • Develop innovative approaches to promote South-South cooperation in the area of the basic sciences and the development of new networks in applied sciences with leading international organizations in view to promote scientific excellence for sustainable development in the South towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030;
  • Provide strategic leadership for resource mobilization;
  • Act as Secretary to the meetings of the TWAS Steering Committee and the TWAS Council.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (C)
Making quality decisions (M)
Driving and managing change (M)
Building partnerships (M)
Leading and empowering others (M)
Strategic thinking (M)
Managing performance (M)
Professionalism (C)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Ph.D in one of the fields of the Natural Sciences.


Work Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of progressively responsible professional experience in scientific research and administration, at international level. 
  • Demonstrated leadership experience in a scientific environment with experience in human resources and finance management.
  • Successful experience in fund-raising from governments and the private sector, and international funding and technical assistance organizations and agencies.

Skills and Competencies

  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization's mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO programmes and policies and of international development policies and institutions in science technology and innovation.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and to build relationships with diverse groups of organisations and individuals, relevant environmental scientific research institutions, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, including through networking.
  • Capacity to provide scientific and intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large and diversified group of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • High sense of professional integrity and political sensitivity; demonstrated ability to interact with a wide range of high-level partners.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, in front of a broad range of constituents, as well as the news media.
  • Excellent judgment and decision-making abilities including strong analytical and negotiation skills.
  • Ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks.
  • Good understanding of science, technology and innovation needs of developing countries.



  • Excellent knowledge of English (oral and written).



  • Other degrees or short- to medium-term training in disciplines relevant to the post.


Work experience

  • Experience in the field of international relations and diplomacy, multilateral cooperation, development;
  • Experience in conducting policy dialogue at government and non-government levels or public and private sectors.
  • Experience in research work and/or teaching at university or in a research institution.
  • Broad knowledge of Basic sciences, Research Innovation and Engineering, with field experience.


Skills and Competencies

  • Strong global professional network.



  • Knowledge of other official languages of UNESCO (French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish).
  • Knowledge of Italian.


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 salary for this post is US $ 138,996.

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 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.