APPLY Now for the UNU- FLORES Doctoral Research Fellowship 2022: Impact of Ukraine conflict on food security with a focus on East Africa

Deadline : 09 October 2022

This project aims to research the impact of the Ukraine conflict on food security with a focus on East Africa. While Africa is yet to recover from the repercussions of COVID19, the Russia-Ukraine war has posed an additional challenge for most African countries to manage food supply chains, access fertilisers and protect food security. Currently, 15 countries, including 4 in East Africa, import more than half of their needs in wheat from Ukraine and Russia ( Benin, Somalia, Egypt, Congo, Namibia, Rwanda, DRC, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Tanzania, Sudan, Cabo Verde, Tunisia, Burundi, Libya), and they remain highly dependent on these imports for staple goods. Food prices have soared in these contexts, and social protection programmes are too weak to offset the impact on vulnerable groups, compounding hunger and undernourishment risk. The effect will be felt for years regarding the availability and pricing of food items. This project is funded by the Saxon State Ministry for energy, climate protection, environment and agriculture (SMEKUL) and conducted in close collaboration with the United Nations Development Coordination Office within the context of the design and operationalisation of the UN Sustainable Development project with a focus in Tanzania.

Key Questions:

  • What sort of policy transformation(s) are needed to optimise the resilience, productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems in countries that are heavily dependent on food imports as currently from Russia and Ukraine?
  • How can a recovery strategy for food security be leveraged to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the Ukraine crisis has put at risk? What synergies, trade-offs and financing mechanisms are needed to design and implement the strategy through an SDG lens?
  • How can climate mitigation and adaptation tools be integrated into planning and decision-making processes about recovery from the Ukraine crisis? What policy innovations are needed for food systems to incorporate and address climate risk?

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of supervisors at both UNU-FLORES and Technische Universitaet Dresden. Students will also collaborate with fellow doctoral students and senior scientists in research, event organisation and participation, publications where possible, and contribute to the Implementation Plan of UNU-FLORES and the mission of the United Nations. As a facet of the project, the students must consider the impact of their research on communities, and the potential for their research to be transferred upon completion of the doctorate.


Under the overall authority of the Director of UNU-FLORES and the direct supervision of the Hear of Research Programme (AID), the successful candidate shall be responsible for the following tasks:

1. Perform research work related to the project Resilience and Resource Nexus in Food System

  • Research, write, and publish papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Develop a robust methodology to analyse policy to reduce risks, recover food security, and enhance the resilience of the food system to external environmental and economic shocks by integrating the Resource Nexus perspective; and
  • Support the development of a Resource Nexus approach for/in agri-food system considering climate mitigation and adaptation.

2. Provide support in knowledge dissemination and advocacy

  • Develop strategies for the dissemination and transfer of knowledge to other regions that face similar challenges;
  •  Publishing results in the appropriate media and presenting findings at conferences and seminars; and
  • Report research progress to the supervising team and in the project management system of UNU-FLORES.

3. Assist with capacity development

  • Organise activities such as workshops related to the research project; and
  • Contribute to the Institute’s capacity development activities.

4. Provide support for educational development

  • Work closely alongside the supervising ream with the eventual goal of co-supervising master theses in the research field; and
  • Contribute to the Institute’s educational programme and events.

5. Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor or the Director

Key Performance Indicators

  • Timely and quality development and implementation of the project plan;
  • Timely submission and successful completion of the final Doctoral Thesis;
  • Presentation of at least one paper at a conference or seminar;
  • Contribution to the positive reputation of UNU-FLORES as a reliable and trustworthy partner among research partners, governments, donors, and civil society;



  • Inclusion — take action to create an environment of dignity and respect for all, regardless of age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, geography, grade, language, nationality, racial identity, religion, sex, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, social origin or any other aspect of identity
  • Integrity — act ethically, demonstrating the standards of conduct of the United Nations and taking prompt action in case of witnessing unprofessional or unethical behaviour, or any other breach of UN standards
  • Humility — demonstrate self-awareness and willingness to learn from others
  • Humanity — act according to the purposes of the United Nations: peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet


  • Connect and collaborate — build positive relationships with others to advance the work of the United Nations and work coherently as One UN
  • Analyse and plan — seek out and use data from a wide range of sources to understand problems, inform decision-making, propose evidence-based solutions and plan action
  • Deliver results with positive impact — hold oneself and others accountable for delivering results and making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves
  • Learn and develop — pursue own learning and development and contribute to the learning and development of others
  • Adapt and innovate — demonstrate flexibility, agility and the ability to think and act in novel ways


Required Qualifications and Experience 

  • An excellent academic profile including a Master’s degree at least grade 2.5 or equivalent according to the German system in Political Science, Economics, Agro-economy, Governance, Systems Analysis, Environmental Policy or other relevant disciplines with an emphasis on food system transformation;
  • Relevant professional experience of at least one year, predominantly in time and preferably in an East African regional setting;
  • Experience with the agricultural-based economic development of Tanzania is an asset;
  • Knowledge and concepts of food system resilience research;
  • A strong methodological skillset for qualitative and quantitative analyses is required;
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesise complex information, regulations and policies and translate them into impactful communications and publications;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills (academic and non-academic) are required;
  • A team player with strong interpersonal skills, Initiative seeker; Strong planning, organisation, and time management skills, strong ability to carry out work independently; interest in interdisciplinary and multicultural, multi-ethnic work environments;
  • Must be flexible with the ability to establish priorities and work within prescribed timeframes;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in English is required; 
  • Proficiency in Swahili is required; Knowledge of German and/or another UN official working language is an asset.

Duration and remuneration

UNU-FLORES will provide a monthly salary of EUR 1,566 for the duration of the Doctoral Research (up to a maximum of 3 years). Funding is provided by the Saxon State Ministry for Energy, Climate Protection, Environment and Agriculture (SMEKUL). This stipend is expected to cover relocation, living and education expenses. While the Doctoral programme is tuition-free, semester fees of approximately EUR 250-300 will need to be paid directly to TU Dresden for enrollment. For additional information on the programme and the admission procedure, please visit our website.

The duration of the initial contract is for one (1) year. This is a Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract is offered as a full-time position with UNU-FLORES, with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration of a PSA contract with UNU may not exceed three (3) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA is 65 years.

 Starting Date: as soon as possible

How to Apply:

To apply to UNU, you will not need an account. Instead, we ask that you:

  • Apply via the apply line
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form);
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position; and
  • Please submit the following documents as one PDF file (on the apply page where it requests the P11 form):
  1. fill out the UNU P11 form (please do not use similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  2. A completed and signed Doctoral Programme application form
  3. A short research proposal (max two pages) describing how you would approach the research topic;
  4. Copies of ALL university transcripts, including the German equivalent grade;
  5. Copy of TOEFL/IELTS or evidence proving that English was the language of instruction for at least one of the previously completed degree programmes, in the form of a letter issued by the relevant university authority
  6. Abstract of MSc thesis (or equivalent);
  7. Two reference letters;

Candidates who do not provide all required documents will not be considered. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

You may wish to refer to the UN Values and Behaviours Framework for more information.

Application Deadline: 09 October 2022

Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by a competency-based interview, background checks and references.

Special Notice
PSA holders do not hold international civil servant status, nor are they considered a “staff member” as defined in the UN Staff Rules and Regulations.
UNU is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply and become part of the organization. Applications from developing countries, and from women are strongly encouraged. Eligible internal applicants are also encouraged to apply.

UNU has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNU, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.

Information about UNU rosters

UNU reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement. We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNU.




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