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Project Assistant (NPSA)


United Nations University – UNU-WIDER





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Job description

About UN University (UNU)

The United Nations University (UNU) is an international community of scholars engaged in policy-oriented research, capacity development and dissemination of knowledge, furthering the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. UNU’s mission is to contribute, through research and capacity building, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States.

For the past four decades, United Nations University (UNU) has been a go-to think tank for impartial research on human survival, conflict prevention, sustainable development and welfare. With more than 400 researchers in 12 countries, UNU’s work spans the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change. UNU maintains more than 200 collaborations with UN agencies and leading universities and research institutions across the globe.

United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)

UNU-WIDER is one of 14 research and training Institutes that comprise the think tanks in the UNU system.

UNU-WIDER is a leading international development economics think tank. The Institute provides economic analysis and policy advice with the aim of promoting sustainable and equitable development for all. The Institute began operations in 1985 in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today, it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency — providing a range of services from policy advice to governments, as well as freely available original research. More information on UNU-WIDER and its current work programme are available at


Under the overall supervision of the Associate Programme Officer and in day-to-day coordination with research project teams in assigned projects, the Project Assistant will work on a wide spectrum of project support functions. Together with other colleagues, the Project Assistant will be supporting the delivery of the Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) programme as well as other research projects. Under the DRM programme, the Project Assistant will initially be assigned to SOUTHMOD – simulating tax and benefit policies for development project as well as smaller projects under the Institute’s work programme. This project works closely with colleagues within UNU-WIDER as well as the broad SOUTHMOD network consisting of revenue authorities, research institutions and other UN entities across the globe.

1. Ensures project support to assigned projects at UNU-WIDER

  • Serves as project support for the coordination and monitoring of project implementation activities.
  • Liaises across the Institute and with project network (project managers, communications and administrative personnel, as well as external consultants) related to project administration and performs the projects’ requisitioner role related to external contracts, finance, and procurement.
  • Plans procurement needs and prepares needed documents for goods and services.
  • Prepares contract requests for approval, monitors all project contracts, and coordinates with the consultants and service providers engaged by the projects.
  • Supports project managers in the formulation of work plans with particular attention to timelines, budget, and procurement plans.
  • Identifies inconsistencies and brings them to the attention of management.
  • Provides back-up support for travel arrangements as required.

2. Provides support for effective financial and administrative control of assigned projects

  • Drafts narrative and financial project reports and other project related materials.
  • Monitors basic budgets, expenditures, and maintains a record of approved project budgets and revisions.
  • Prepares and submits project expenditure and budget status reports when requested.
  • Analyzes and interprets rules and regulations of UNU and assists in providing solutions to issues related to finance, logistics and day-to-day administrative activities.
  • Ensures project related records are properly maintained and any project assets are properly managed.
  • Exercises quality control functions for outgoing documents and electronic content; proofreads and edits texts for adherence for format, grammar, punctuation and style.

3. Ensures facilitation of knowledge sharing within the Institute, and among partners and external stakeholders

  • Assists project managers with facilitating and documenting meetings internally and with partners.
  • Organizes workshops, seminars, learning events, training, and other events, including arrangement for venues, logistics, transportation as well as documentation of events in collaboration with project manager.
  • Works closely with communications colleagues to ensure knowledge mobilization and outreach of project outputs.
  • Drafts lessons learned and best practices relevant to project implementation.
  • Supports knowledge sharing within the Institute.
  • Provides accurate, prompt, and appropriate information and reports to supervisor on administrative and finance matters of the projects.
  • Takes part in institutional working groups and task forces when required. 

4. Performs other duties as assigned by supervisor

Key performance indicators

  • Timely and quality project support provided to assigned projects.
  • Timely and quality delivery of regular reports and work plans.
  • Ensures timely administrative and logistical support for assigned projects.
  • Maintains positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders.



  • 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:

  • Completed High School degree; or Bachelor’s degree in business administration, Social Sciences, or other related field. 
  • Minimum of three (3) years of work experience for Bachelor’s degree holder or five (5) years of work experience for completed high school diploma holder, in a relevant field
  • At least one (1) year of experience working in an international organization is an advantage.
  • Demonstrated ability to support the planning, monitoring, and implementation of projects.
  • Working knowledge and experience in using MS Office.
  • Knowledge of the UN system and key development issues is an advantage.
  • Knowledge of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system (preferably Oracle/PeopleSoft) would be an asset.
  • Ability to work in a high paced environment.
  • Ability to establish priorities, multi-task and work within tight timelines.
  • Excellent team player with strong communication and interpersonal skills, and ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required
  • Knowledge of another UN official working language is an asset.


The successful candidate will be employed under a national PSA contract. UNU offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary of EUR 39,627.92 commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the candidate. Benefits include 30 days annual leave and a health insurance scheme.

UNU is not liable for any taxes that may be levied on the remuneration you receive under this contract. Payment of any such taxes remains the sole responsibility of PSA holders.

Duration of contract

The duration of the initial contract is 1 year. This is Personnel Service Agreement (PSA) contract with UNU, with the possibility for renewal subject to requirements and satisfactory work performance. The combined duration on a PSA contract with UNU may not exceed six (6) years. The mandatory age of retirement for PSA holders is 65 years.

Expected start 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 link;
  • fill out the UNU P11 form (please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations);
  • provide a motivation statement (in the P11 form); and
  • answer a few questions that are tailored to the position.

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

Application Deadline:  29 January 2023


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

Special notice

The position is limited to persons who have (1) the Finnish nationality, (2) the necessary residence/work permits for Finland, or (3) the right of residence in Finland as an EU/FTA citizen. UNU does not sponsor a working visa for this position.

PSA holders do no 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.

Scam warning

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