Job Opening

Posting Title: Scientific Affairs Officer (Safe Handling and Disposal), P3
Department/Office: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Duty Station: VIENNA
Posting Period: 15 April 2020 - 14 May 2020
Job Opening Number: 20-Natural and Life Sciences-UNODC-134584-R-Vienna (E)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
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Org. Setting and Reporting

The position is located in the Laboratory and Scientific Service (LSS), Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The incumbent will work under the overall guidance of the Chief, Laboratory and Scientific Service and under the direct supervision of a Scientific Affairs Officer.

For more information on UNODC, please visit our website:


Within limits of assigned authority, the Scientific Affairs Officer will undertake activities in the context of the on-going Forensic and Scientific work programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), designed to maintain and strengthen capabilities of forensic laboratories as well as non-forensic personnel to safely investigate, handle and dispose of chemicals used in the manufacture of drugs, and to enhance the capacity of Member States to provide scientific support to drug control and crime prevention activities. The incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

•Contribute to activities to strengthen the capacity of forensic and non-forensic personnel to identify, investigate, safely handle, and dispose of substances under international control, new psychoactive substances, synthetic drugs including synthetic opioids, precursor chemicals and equipment used in their illicit manufacture.

•Provide substantive scientific guidance to the continuing development of the UNODC forensic services programme on the identification, investigation, safe handling and disposal of substances and equipment used in the illicit manufacture of drugs as well as the dismantling of clandestine laboratories and related crime scene investigation activities.

•Support the operational supply reduction activities of UNODC programmes and those of international partners. Provide scientific support to national law enforcement and other relevant government agencies implicated in counter-narcotic efforts aimed at safely handling, dismantling and disposing of substances and equipment used in the illicit manufacture of drugs.

•Promote the use of good laboratory practices. Assist with the establishment of quality assurance procedures, guidelines and policies. Contribute to the development of new approaches for improving laboratory performance, and promote the use of scientifically informed standard operating procedures for the investigation of related crime scenes by forensic and non-forensic personnel.

•Coordinate and substantively backstop the development and delivery of UNODC forensic science capacity building activities and technical assistance programmes related to safe-handling, disposal and associated crime scene investigation. Draft substantive guidelines for analytical methods and procedures in line with findings and identified best practices. Disseminate reports to participating laboratories, relevant Government agencies and other interested partners.

•Prepare and draft a variety of written outputs, such as background papers, analyses, briefings, presentations, regular and ad-hoc reports, studies, responses to internal/external requests for scientific information related to the UNODC laboratory and scientific services programme, particularly in the area of safe handling and disposal of chemicals used in illicit drug manufacture and related crime scene investigation activities. Draft parts, or contribute to the preparation, of progress and assessment reports, appraisals, work plans. Liaise on relevant substantive issues with counterparts in UN and UNODC, both in Vienna and in the field, officials of other organisations and specialised agencies.

•Perform other work-related duties, as required.


Professionalism: Has knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches relevant to scientific areas of drug control. Has knowledge of policies and practices in international drug control, as well as the mandates of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Has knowledge of major aspects of the work of analytical/forensic laboratories and of UNODC’s activities in this. Has knowledge of training methodologies and approaches relevant to scientific areas of drug control and crime prevention including crime scene investigation, safe handling and disposal and drug and precursor identification and analysis. Has knowledge of various research methodologies and sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Is able to analyse data, conduct complex evaluations and propose meaningful actions to improve performance. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organisational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise. Is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position. Shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Planning & Organising: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies. Identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required. Allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work. Foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning. Monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary. Uses time efficiently.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in organic, analytical, pharmaceutical chemistry, forensic science or related fields is required. A first-level university degree in similar fields in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional work experience in the field of drugs, drug control and drug analysis is required.
Specialised practical experience in safe handling, disposal and related crime scene investigation is required.
Working experience in the development and delivery of related training material and packages is required.
Working experience in programme and project development and monitoring is desirable.
Experience with the United Nations system or similar international organization programme policies, guidelines and procedures is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised, fluent in English is required. Knowledge of French, Spanish or Russian is desirable. Working knowledge of other UN official languages is an asset.


Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise and a competency-based interview.

Special Notice

This is a project post. Filling of this position is subject to funding availability and the initial appointment will be for a period of one year. Extension of appointment against this position is subject to extension of the mandate and/or availability of funding.

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

Vienna is an H and a family duty station.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.
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