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Head of Research at the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

World Maritime University (WMU)
Sweden (SE)
Grade P5
Closing date
26 Dec 2023

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Earth Science, Environmental Science, Life Science
Job Type
Director, Head of Department
Employment - Hours
Full time

Grade: P5

Duty Station: Malmö, Sweden

Duration of contract: Two-year fixed-term appointment. Further renewals may be given subject to funding and satisfactory performance.

Deadline for Applications: 5 November 2023.


Organizational setting

The World Maritime University (WMU) is established by the International Maritime Organization. WMU’s mission is to be the world centre of excellence in postgraduate maritime and ocean education, professional training and research, while building global capacity and promoting sustainable development. With the University’s new strategic directions, specifically expansion of its mandate to include ocean-related matters, and strengthening ocean research, WMU is well positioned for this collaborative partnership with the Nippon Foundation.

The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute (Ocean Institute) operates within the framework of the WMU and a world-leading centre of excellence for ocean research, dialogue, capacity building and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The advertised position is funded by The Nippon Foundation of Japan.


Main purpose

The Head of Research will report to the Director of the Ocean Institute and will be appointed to a full Professorial position at WMU. She/he will work with the Director to foster excellence in ocean research, dialogue, capacity building and policy support in meeting ocean obligations, addressing existing and emerging challenges, and advancing the opportunities inherent in contemporary ocean governance and the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Head of Research will work with a multidisciplinary team of research staff to deliver on a range of projects including: the ratification and implementation of the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement; the women empowerment for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development; marine debris, Sargassum marine spatial planning in the Eastern Caribbean, robotics and AI in the maritime domain; as well as C2B2, a programme for a sustainable blue economy in Sweden.


Duties, responsibilities

The Head of Research will provide support and advice to the Director in implementing the research programmes and projects for the Ocean Institute, including developing the next range of initiatives for the period 2024-2028.

The successful candidate will support the development of an extensive international network of collaborators on a range of ocean-related issues with capacity for high impact, integrated research activity both within and across groups in academic and/or industry settings.

The successful candidate under the direction of the Director, will be expected to:

  • Support the Director in the implementation of the research agenda of the Institute;
  • Formulate and manage future programmes of the Institute including the design of a technical assistance and capacity-building programme including a new range of offerings for the period 2024-2028 including on the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement;
  • Generate external research income and resources to sustain, deepen and expand the research profile and capacity of the Institute;
  • Manage large scale interdisciplinary research programmes and processes in partnership with intergovernmental bodies and in line with donor requirements;
  • Provide leadership in the conduct of oceans research, both natural and social sciences, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary;
  • Publish peer review publications in top tier academic journals, and in academic monographs, as well as deliver other academic outputs in line with programme requirements;
  • Support principle investigators, and supervise PhD candidates, as well as post-doctoral fellows;
  • Administer the systems that are in place to monitor and evaluate projects with a view to ensuring accessible data is on hand for mandatory record keeping, reporting and auditing of research programmes and projects;
  • Foster links with the IMO and other intergovernmental bodies concerned with the law of the sea and ocean affairs;
  • Represent the Institute at international and national fora, present reports and chair technical and policy meetings at multilateral and regional settings, including high level stakeholder advisory groups;
  • Assist in the design and implementation of conferences, seminars, symposiums and stakeholder engagement events on issues of relevance to the broader ocean and climate emergency research and academic communities;
  • Create and support linkages with the maritime research as appropriate;
  • Undertake special projects and other duties as may be assigned by the President or by the Director of the Institute.


Minimum requirements – education, experience and language skills



  • The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in ocean law, governance, policy or related disciplines.



  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in working in the higher education sector. A strong record of internationally recognised research and publication in fields of the Law of the Sea, the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement, ocean governance, or ocean policy;
  • Thorough knowledge of IMO, other UN institutions with ocean-related mandates, and international ocean organizations, their aims, objectives and activities;
  • A strong history of academic achievement, including postgraduate teaching, and supervision of research;
  • Excellent management and leadership skills and a track record of success in obtaining large research grants, managing research programmes with a focus on ocean governance and policy.




Fluency in spoken and written English.


Knowledge of another UN language would be an advantage.


Desirable Qualifications, Competencies and Professional Experience

  • An understanding of WMU and its mission, and strong commitment to the delivery of the highest practicable standards in pursuing its mandate;
  • Experience in developing and attracting research projects and stakeholder engagement;
  • Ability to conceptualize, design, plan and implement research work, including analysis and ability to lead effectively research work and guide and coordinate the work of the research team;
  • The ability to enthuse and motivate and supervise research and support staff;
  • Excellent Communication skills;
  • Diversified working experience, especially at the international level;
  • Computer literacy;
  • The ability to work in a collaborative and supportive way;
  • Ability to demonstrate gender-sensitive and non-discriminatory behaviour and attitudes.


For more information on how to apply, please click the Apply button.

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