Strategic Foresight Specialist

This opening expired 1 year ago.

UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services

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Application deadline 1 year ago: Thursday 8 Jul 2021 at 23:59 UTC

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This is a P-3 contract. This kind of contract is known as Professional and Director staff. It is normally internationally recruited only. It's a staff contract. It usually requires 5 years of experience, depending on education.


The salary for this job should be between 74,649 USD and 97,747 USD.

Salary for a P-3 contract in Helsinki

The international rate of 74,649 USD, with an additional 0% at this the location, applies.

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Background Information - Job-specific

UNOPS supports partners to build a better future by providing services that increase the efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of peace building, humanitarian and development projects. Mandated as a central resource of the United Nations, UNOPS provides sustainable project management, procurement and infrastructure services to a wide range of governments, donors and United Nations organizations.

The New York Service Cluster (NYSC) supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management

The Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations. It was formed by combining the following portfolios: Grants Management Services (GMS), UN Technology Support Services (UNTSS), Development and Special Initiatives Portfolio (DSIP) It provides Services to partners' programmes that are designed, structured, and managed with a global perspective and primarily serving partners that are headquartered in New York. The SDC has a footprint of approximately 125 countries.

UNOPS has signed an agreement with the United Nations to implement the project activities for UN Global Pulse.

SG Lab Futures Initiative

UN Global Pulse is the UN Secretary-General’s innovation lab. Originally established in 2009 to harness the power of big data and artificial intelligence to protect the vulnerable during crises, UN Global Pulse operates as a globally distributed network advancing innovation in the UN’s work for people and planet. These terms of reference are the result of a strategic realignment of the UN’s innovation ecosystem, overseen by the Secretary-General’s Executive Office and a cross-pillar review team, to maximize its impact. Going forward, UN Global Pulse will serve as the Secretary-General’s cross-pillar lead and hub for experimentation and digital innovation in support of leadership priorities and in advancement of the UN Charter.

UN Global Pulse works with digital innovation, real-time data and artificial intelligence to further sustainable development, humanitarian and peace outcomes. UNGP’s vision is ‘A world in which responsible and inclusive digital innovation serves people, advances their sustainable development, and protects the planet’. Our mission is to work at the intersection of digital innovation and the human sciences to inform, inspire, and strengthen the ability of the United Nations family and those it serves to anticipate, respond and adapt to the challenges of today and tomorrow.

The goals of UNGP are: i) Advance digital innovations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, respond effectively to crises, and address emerging global challenges; ii) Facilitate development of global frameworks that maximize the impact of digital innovation, minimize the risk of harm, and create pathways to scale and sustainability; and iii) Support the transformation of the UN family into a more dynamic and resilient ‘next-generation’ institution.

The incumbent of this position will be a personnel of UNOPS under its full responsibility.

Key Results Expected

To achieve its goals, Global Pulse is recruiting a Strategic Foresight Officer based in UN Global Pulse Finland. The role contributes to catalyzing transformation in the UN. It will do so by strengthening anticipatory capacities, supporting the understanding of emerging issues as well as their impacts on the UN’s mandates and priorities, collaborating closely with a diversity of internal and external partners. The incumbent will identify and apply foresight methodologies, tools and processes to tackle challenges across the UN Family, connecting human rights, peace and security and development.

The incumbent will be responsible for developing the new foresight workstream under the SG Lab Futures Initiative. This includes the provision of substantive and technical expertise, identifying and implementing concepts, services, and processes. The incumbent will gradually build a standing strategic foresight capacity and develop an experiment pipeline. S(he) will also ensure continuous alignment with wider UNGP’s performance indicators and the strategic priorities of the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General (EOSG).

The role will collaborate with people within and outside of the UN Family. It will elicit research questions from a diversity of stakeholders, and will plan and execute sensing and scanning activities. Using diverse data sets and working with a wide range of people and organizations the role will identify trends and patterns within which it will be able to develop insights and products supporting decision making.

The incumbent will need to drive cross-disciplinary approaches with inter alia data & behavioral scientists, service design & policy experts. It will bridge forecasting and foresight, quantitative and qualitative methods in a complementary manner, provide guidelines and policy inputs that promote and incorporate ethical and safe practices.

Occasional travel and field missions may be required, as conditions allow.

Functional Responsibilities

The incumbent will work under the supervision of the Programme Manager of UNGP Finland in addition to working under the substantive supervision of the Programme Management Specialist (Focal Area Lead in Strategic Foresight) ; and will be responsible for the following duties:

  1. Team management and strategic direction
  2. Strategic Development and Research and Analysis
  3. Knowledge creation, capacity building and reporting
  4. Communication and partnerships

Team Management and Strategic Direction

  • Coordinate and guide the work of the internal team and external contributors, including consultants and the related contractual and supervisory responsibilities
  • Strategic development and oversight of the foresight work stream including its alignment with the overall vision & objectives of the UNGP Network & EOSG;

    Strategic Development and Research and Analysis

  • Development & oversight of a strategic foresight experiments portfolio. This will include the creation of a pipeline of emerging needs and projects together with internal and external partners;

  • Provision of technical expertise across the foresight value chain, including data scanning, analysis & sensemaking, and visualisation of insights;
  • Ensure strategic integration of foresight with and across programmatic objectives and processes supporting broader organisational transformation goals;
  • Ensure the adoption of tools and processes to specific contexts, employing methods and approaches that promote inclusive, safe and ethical approaches;
  • Manage budgets and procurement activities supported by the administrative staff;
  • Development of foresight product roadmaps. These will support sustainable adoption, contextualisation, uptake and continuous development of new foresight offerings and services;
  • Maintain knowledge of technologies, trends, developments and approaches applied in futures and foresight;

    Knowledge creation, capacity building and reporting

  • Absorb foresight capacity development tasks targeting internal and external partners, including documentation of best practices, developing tools, resources, training, guidelines and policy development;
  • Ongoing monitoring and reporting tasks, development of M&E and portfolio impact management approaches;

Communication and partnerships - Create impactful visualisations, communications and engagements around emerging trends and issues catering for the senior UN decision-makers and agenda setters; - Strategic communications, partnerships, resource mobilisation, and expert ecosystem development in the substantive area; - Represent Global Pulse at events, workshops and conferences as required; - Planning and facilitating co-creation sessions with diverse groups of stakeholders.

Perform other duties as may be reasonably required and in line with the incumbent’s scope of services above.

Impact of Results

Support UN leadership, including country operations, in accessing futures and foresight capacity to identify emerging risks and opportunities, develop mitigation strategies, and inform strategic planning contributing to the overall vision and mission of the UN Global Pulse.

Education/Experience/Language requirements



  • Advanced university degree preferably in international development, computational social sciences, social sciences, behavioural sciences, economics, interaction design or another relevant discipline is required.
  • A first degree and an additional two years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.



  • A minimum of five (5) years of relevant experience in any combination of strategic planning/development/consulting and/or project or product management, strategic foresight, innovation, data, development, innovation or design research, digital development or other related fields.
  • A minimum of three (3) years of experience on futures and foresight work in organizational settings.

Desirable: (The following experiences are optional. Candidates who do not have them are welcome to apply)

  • Experience working in the humanitarian and development sectors, including experience in international organisations or government contexts or sub-government entities, such as think tanks or innovation accelerators.
  • Experience in working in a developing country context on planning and implementing multi-stakeholder innovation programmes.
  • Track record of delivering high-quality research, analysis (preferably quantitative and qualitative approaches) and communicating the insights through accessible multimedia formats for action and results.
  • Ability to manage relationships with partners, including government, universities, UN organisations, NGOs, and the private sector.

  • Experience with computational social sciences, scripting, coding algorithms, and web design required for data access, analysis, and presentation.

  • Experience in evaluating, adapting, sharing and scaling digital innovation for development and humanitarian outcomes.
  • Experience working with agile project management and portfolio management
  • Experience in working at a startup or intrapreneurial position in an emerging organisational context.


  • Fluency in English (read, write, speak) is required.
  • Knowledge of another United Nations official language is an advantage.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: Fixed Term Contract level: P3 Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link:


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.(for levels IICA-2, IICA-3, LICA Specialist- 10, LICA Specialist-11, NOC, NOD, P3, P4 and above) Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles. Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role). Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries. Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements. Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving. Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

Background Information - Sustainable Development Cluster

Based in New York, the Sustainable Development Cluster (SDC) supports diverse partners with their peacebuilding, humanitarian and development operations.

The SDC’s services include grants management, development and special initiatives support, and technology support to the UN and UN agencies.

The SDC is part of the New York Service Cluster that supports the United Nations Secretariat, as well as a broadening community of other New York-based United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral partners in the delivery of UNOPS mandate in project management, infrastructure management, and procurement management.

Added 1 year ago - Updated 1 year ago - Source: