Job Opening

Posting Title: Scientific Affairs Officer (Forensic Early Warning), P3
Department/Office: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Duty Station: VIENNA
Posting Period: 11 August 2023 - 24 September 2023
Job Opening Number: 23-Natural and Life Sciences-UNODC-215779-R-Vienna (E)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Sorry, this job opening is no longer available.

Org. Setting and Reporting

The position is located in the Laboratory and Scientific Services (LSS), Drugs, Laboratory and Scientific Services Branch (DLSSB), Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Vienna, Austria. The incumbent will work under the direct supervision of the Drug Control Officer leading the Technical Cooperation (LSS) and in close consultation with the Scientific Affairs Officer leading the United Nations Laboratory.

For more information on UNODC, please visit


Within limits of assigned authority, the incumbent 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 national drug testing and forensic laboratories, 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 specific duties:

• Coordinate the operation and provide substantive scientific guidance to the continuing development of the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on synthetic drugs, including its toxicology module.
• Serve as the focal point for the UNODC Early Warning Advisory on synthetic drugs, expanding its portfolio of activities, reach and partnerships.
• Provide guidance and advice to other relevant UNODC programmes and those of national and international partners on early warning on synthetic drugs to better inform their operational activities. Liaise with strategic partners and counterparts in the forensic field including academia, international organizations, forensic laboratories and associations, with a view to developing best practices and technical cooperation activities and fostering engagement on the Early Warning Advisory.
• Conduct in-depth forensic data analysis and promote the use of forensic laboratory analytical data, including toxicology data in early warning systems in the review process for changing the scope of control of substances under the three international drug control conventions.
• Collect and analyze data to identify trends or patterns and provide insights through graphs, charts, tables and reports using data visualization methods to enable data-driven planning, decision-making, presentation and reporting.
• Translate analytical data using effective visualization tools to aid decision making and inform Member States policy development in support of implementing international scheduling decisions.
• Develop standardized forensic training programmes and reference materials under the UNODC Global Forensic and Scientific Services Programme for use by technical assistance providers worldwide.
• Develop best practice guidelines, technical assistance tools and training materials, for use by Member States, to expand and reinforce specialized substantive expertise in the scientific and forensic field and related cross-cutting areas.
• Provide substantive backstopping to consultative and other meetings, conferences, etc., to include proposing agenda topics, identifying participants, preparation of documents and presentations, making presentations on assigned topics/activities, delivering technical training, ensuring requisite follow-up, etc.
• Prepare/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 particularly on synthetic drugs. 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 organizations and specialized agencies.
• Provide substantive input or contribute to the preparation of progress and assessment reports, appraisals, work plans.
• Coordinate and/or participate in technical field and assessment missions, including provision of forensic expertise and guidance to counterparts, government officials and other parties and drafting mission summaries, etc.
• As required, contribute to the monitoring of expenditures and utilization of funds in assigned areas of responsibility, and fund-raising in relation to Scientific and Forensic support projects, in particular the Early Warning Advisory on synthetic drugs.
• Liaise on relevant substantive issues with counterparts in UN and UNODC, both in Vienna and in the field, officials of other organizations and specialized agencies. As required, coordinate the work of support staff members, mentors and guide Interns and Associate Experts in their work.
• Perform other work-related duties as required.


Professionalism: Has knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts, approaches, policies and practices relevant to scientific areas of drug control and crime prevention, as well as the mandates of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Has knowledge of major aspects of the work of forensic sciences institutions and laboratories and of UNODC activities in this field. Has knowledge of UN programme policies and practices. Has knowledge of various research methodologies and sources, including electronic sources on the internet, intranet and other databases. Is able to analyse scientific data, conduct complex analyses and translate data into meaningful knowledge, maximizing data visualization methods and tools, propose meaningful guidance and actions to drive impact. Has ability to analyze and interpret data in support of decision-making and convey resulting information to management. 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.

Communication: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational 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.


Advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent) in the forensic sciences, analytical, organic or pharmaceutical chemistry, toxicology or a related field 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 related to drug control is required.

Professional work experience in the field of drug forensics or drug analysis is required.

Work experience with early warning systems on emerging drug or other health threats is required.

Experience at the international level in areas related to drug control is desirable.

Work experience in programme and project development and monitoring is desirable.

Experience with analytical data visualization including graphics software, data visualization tools and other data processing applications and database systems is desirable.

Practical experience in delivering training activities in the forensic sciences is desirable.

Work experience within the United Nations system and/or other similar international organizations is desirable.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the position advertised fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another United Nations official language is an advantage.


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 the appointment will be subject to extension of the mandate and/or the availability of the funds.

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.

Applicants, who successfully go through a competitive recruitment process and are recommended for selection and/or inclusion in the roster of pre-approved candidates for subsequent job openings at the same level and with similar functions, may have their application information and roster status shared with other UN Organizations. Such applicants may be contacted by other UN Organizations for similar job openings, subject to the confirmation of their interest. Placement on the roster is no guarantee of a future selection.¿

At the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the recruitment and employment of staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to geographic diversity.¿ All employment decisions are made on the basis of qualifications and organizational needs.¿ The United Nations is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The United Nations recruits and employs staff regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds or disabilities. Reasonable accommodation for applicants with disabilities may be provided to support participation in the recruitment process when requested and indicated in the application.

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

Vienna is classified in the H category (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.

Reasonable accommodation may be provided to applicants with disabilities upon request, to support their participation in the recruitment process.

The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across duty stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.

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.
Home | Privacy notice | Site map | Fraud alert | Contact Us
Copyright 2023 United Nations. All rights reserved