Head of Section / Senior Research Scientist (Amended)


Post Number : 1ITSC 0810TP

Grade : P-5

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-OCT-2023


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



Under the supervision of the Director of The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), and the coordination of the Senior Coordinator (Research and Partnerships), the incumbent will lead the Mathematics Section of ICTP, supervising a team of 10-15 research scientists, defining new research directions, planning and engaging resources necessary for their implementation. The incumbent will promote the mission of ICTP in the developing world and will help design and implement joint activities within the Research and Partnerships Division. In coordination with the heads of the other scientific Sections, the incumbent will lead efforts to ensure scientific excellence in the areas of Mathematics through proper recruitments of scientists and research fellows. The incumbent will build strategic scientific partnerships and collaborations, represent ICTP at major international scientific events, promoting networking and scientific information sharing, and will provide guidance and mentoring to junior scientists. 


The incumbent will perform the following duties:

Long Description

Scientific Research Leadership:

  • Identify, develop and manage research activities, and provide strategic advice on research priorities to the Senior Coordinator (Research and Partnerships).
  • Build partnerships and collaborate with leading research institutions worldwide to exchange scientific information and establish collaboration on scientific programmes.
  • Identify resources needed for the new research programmes, select staff and research fellows. 
  • Ensure a high level of scientific excellence in the implementation of existing research programmes. Provide overall scientific guidance and mentoring to staff, fellows, associates and visitors to the Centre.
  • Represent ICTP at major international scientific meetings, reporting on the results of the research and presenting opportunities for collaboration


Programme Leadership:

  • Provide authoritative technical advice to the Director and to the Senior Coordinator (Research and Partnerships) on the scientific aspects of ICTP educational and training programmes in the field of Mathematics. Serve as a major expert contributor to the formulation of scientific agreements with institutions and governmental bodies.
  • Contribute to the efforts of the Institute Advancement Unit by presenting new research and collaboration opportunities and advocate the need for capacity building in the field of Mathematics in developing countries
  • On request of Senior Coordinator (Research and Partnerships), represent ICTP in meetings with international and national institutions while  being part of  the  scientific governing and advisory boards of ICTP

Long Description

Education and Training:

  • Teach in the International programmes and Diploma programme of ICTP, supervise Diploma theses, provide scientific supervision and mentor M.Sc & Ph.D. students
  • Participate in the selection of the Diploma students, M.Sc. and Ph.D. students  


Scientific Organisation and Outreach:  

  • Establish cooperation with scientists from developing countries and identify their scientific needs in the area of Mathematics
  • Formulate appropriate recommendations to address these needs within ICTP programmes
  • In consultation with the Senior Coordinators, decide on the scientific meetings to be held and organise ICTP external activities in developing countries
  • Apply for and manage individual research grants.

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)
Managing performance (M)
Making quality decisions (M)
Strategic thinking (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.



  • Advanced University degree (Ph.D. or equivalent) in Mathematics, Physics, or related disciplines.



  • Minimum of ten (10) years of relevant post-doctoral research experience in Mathematics or a related field, of which preferably 5 years at international level.
  • Proven publication record of high caliber and international recognition.
  • Technical expertise to handle complex scientific issues and determine new research directions
  • Experience in the design, implementation and management of scientific projects
  • Experience in the teaching and/or mentoring of undergraduate and postgraduate students 
  • Experience in donor relations and/or scientific outreach
  • Experience in coordinating and managing research collaborations and projects with developing countries 
  • Demonstrated experience in supervising teams



  • Ability to propose innovative research directions and approaches.
  • Strong organizational skills with ability to establish plans and priorities and effectively implement them
  • Broad scientific perspective to be able coordinate the diverse research priorities of the Centre
  • Capacity to provide intellectual leadership to guide staff, as well as ability to build trust, manage, lead and motivate a large number of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain partnerships and to ensure a high-level coordination and cooperation with internal and external stakeholders
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills



  • Excellent knowledge (spoken and written) of English.



  • Experience in planning and managing significant budgets.
  • Experience in organizing scientific conferences and events.
  • Experience in international collaboration, such as educational and training activities in low and middle income (LMI) countries.



  • Knowledge of Italian or of another official UNESCO language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, 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 119,159.34 US $.

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.