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Senior Operations Officer


Post Number : 1ITSC0875TP

Grade : P-5

Parent Sector : Natural Sciences Sector (SC)

Duty Station: Trieste

Job Family: Administration

Type of contract : Fixed Term

Duration of contract : 2 years

Recruitment open to : Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline (Midnight Paris Time) : 27-JUL-2020


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




Founded in 1964 by the late Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam and located in Trieste (Italy), the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) seeks to accomplish its mandate by providing scientists from developing countries with the continuing education and skills that they need to enjoy long and productive careers. The Operations Division provides ail services and support to the stakeholders of ICTP related to Knowledge Management, Scientific Calculations and Simulations, Information and Communication technology, Security, Facility and Safety Management, Guest House management, Records Management, Transportation and Procurement.


Under the supervision of the Director, ICTP, the incumbent will be responsible for providing vision and innovation and managing the Operations Division to implement the strategic decisions taken by the Director, ICTP and its Steering Committee and deliver high performance and quality critical business functions. The incumbent will perform the following duties:

Long Description
  • Provide policy guidance on conceptual strategy development of the areas under responsibility and implementation of relevant overall strategies to provide fully satisfactory client services. Formulate, direct and implement the substantive programme of work of the Operations Division in compliance with the decisions made by governing and legislative bodies.

    Advise the Director, ICTP on strategic issues and opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Institute, especially related to the Operations Division.

    Serve as chairperson of the ‘Directorate Management Committee’ (DMC) that advises the Director, ICTP on matters on major importance to the Centre, including budget, finance, building management, security, conference and visitor services, major IT projects and HR initiatives and interaction with internal and external auditors.

    Build and further develop strategic partnerships with UNESCO and external organizations, including major high computing data centres, universities and other scientific organizations in Italy and abroad,  to ensure effective interaction on joint projects and secure necessary services.


  • Provide leadership and direction to the managers/team leaders within the Operations Division in order to ensure effective and efficient delivery of support services and to enable implementation of changes and improvements in compliance with the decisions made by the ICTP Director and the governing and legislative bodies. Define performance standards and goals for the delivery of services to clients, ensure programme delivery, coordinate diverse projects, liaise with other organizations in the United Nations System and other relevant stakeholders, as appropriate.

    Carry out programmatic/administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Operations Division, including preparation of budgets proposals, reporting on budget/programme performance, recruitment of new staff, coaching and developing of staff and evaluation of their performance. Ensure that existing processes are regularly reviewed and developed, present and agree on proposals for continuous improvement to create best practice environment.

Long Description
  • Oversee high performance computing (HPC) services to the research groups and the scientific community that enables them to excel with their scientific results and to disseminate science. Define the strategy for the HPC in-house cluster and the usage of external data centers in collaboration with the scientific community. Define the strategy on how to support the scientific community with regards to the development and maintenance of complex scientific programming code and management of the growing amount of data. Collaborate with the scientific institutions to develop the strategy for the joint innovative study programmes for advanced scientific coding and data management. Advise ICTP Director and senior managers on the technology and innovative collaboration models to disseminate science.
Long Description
  • Provide advice to the Director, ICTP on the current business model and opportunities to streamline processes, taking into account the UNESCO general framework. Ensure that ICTPs specific core business model is taken into consideration in future developments.

    Collaborate with the Directors of relevant UNESCO administrative divisions in order to agree on strategies that enable ICTP business model and ensure high efficiency.
    Guide and oversee the projects that are performed in collaboration with UNESCO and ensure the continuity of the operations during the implementation of changes.


  • Proactively collaborate with other UN organizations in the country, in particular for procurement and security controls. Ensure the best possible leverage on common interest and activities. Ensure that UN and UNESCO rules and procedures are adhered and reporting is provided to the lead organization of the country.

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)
Communication (C)
Accountability (C)
Innovation (C)
Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)
Planning and organizing (C)
Results focus (C)
Teamwork (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 (Masters or equivalent degree) in business administration, management, economics, political science, engineering, information technology, or a related field.


  • Minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience in information technology and knowledge management, building and facilities management, administration, property or contract management or a relevant field, of which preferably 5 years at international level.
  • Demonstrated experience in managing significant material, human and financial resources.
  • Experience in the design and implementation of enterprise wide IT systems and end to end processes.
  • Experience in high performance computing.
  • Experience in leading the implementation of large projects in the area of administrative management or information technology.



  • Ability to propose innovative approaches, enabling the institute to satisfy its specific business needs within the UNESCO framework.
  • Strong organizational skills with ability to establish plans and priorities and effectively implement them.
  • Sound capacity to make proper judgement and take decisions with significant impact to the material and financial resources of the organization and safety and well-being of its staff.
  • 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 (written and spoken) of English.  





  • Experience in planning and managing large budgets.
  • Solid experience in administrative management in the organizations of the United Nations Common System.



  • Good working knowledge of Italian to effectively interact with local authorities, counterparts and service providers.



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.


For more information in benefits and entitlements, please consult ICSC website.


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 applies a zero tolerance policy against all forms of harassment.

UNESCO is committed to achieve and sustain 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. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities, as well as nationals from non-and under-represented Member States (last update here) 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.