Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons vacancy search engine

Head, Laboratory (P-5)

About Us



The OPCW’s Verification Division works towards achieving chemical disarmament and preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons through participation in the planning and oversight of inspections at both military and chemical industry facilities. The division also manages declarations while maintaining and strengthening the scientific capabilities of the Organisation, especially its laboratory component. The division also conducts Technical Assistance Visits at the request of States Parties.


The Division is responsible for the day-to-day operation of OPCW’s verification regime. It is a key element of the Secretariat, using trustworthy and science-based information to implement all aspects of the Convention including decisions from the Policy Making Organs.


General Information

  • Contract Type
    Fixed-term Professional
  • Grade
  • Total Estimated monthly remuneration depending on post adjustment and family status: USD
  • Closing Date


Job Summary

The OPCW Laboratory is at the center of a network of excellence comprising more than 20 laboratories across the world, designated for the analysis of authentic samples, providing a high degree of confidence that chemical analyses are conducted rigorously and to the highest standards.


The Laboratory provides support to routine inspections and non-routine in-the-field missions. It assists in training and certifying inspectors on analytical equipment and procedures; and maintains the OPCW Central Analytical Database (OCAD).

Main Responsibilities


As an enthusiastic and self-motivated scientist you will be responsible for leading the OPCW laboratory of 12 staff. Along with your excellent communication and coordination skills you will work with other teams in the multidisciplinary matrix and with partners.


Your strong background and proven track record in the field of analytical chemistry will help you in providing state of the art methodologies, techniques related to chemical forensics and preparing inspectors for on-site analysis. In your role as Head of Laboratory, you will establish and lead with the objective to execute and report on data of false/positive identification analysis.


In addition, you will be responsible for analysis of bio-molecules and working with quality management systems in order to meet high quality expectations of internal/external stakeholders. Management of annual budget, training and capability building exercises will also be part of your job’s portfolio. 


To see the complete job description, please click here.

Qualifications and Experience


You should have a MSc in Analytical Chemistry or a closely related field of chemistry including biochemistry.



PhD in Analytical Chemistry or a closely related field of chemistry including biochemistry.

Knowledge and Experience

Make sure you have at least 10 years of experience after Masters’ degree in laboratory work including preferably 5 years’ experience in managing a laboratory and 3 years working with chemistry related to the chemical weapons convention (or a highly related field, such as pesticides).



  • At least 3 years working at an OPCW Designated Laboratory or a Laboratory seeking OPCW designation or with an equivalent record of activity. 
  • Background in the evaluation of data and the risk of false positive identification in analysis.
  • Experience in the analysis of biomolecules.
  • Experience in quality management systems.
  • Experience in the handling of highly toxic chemicals and materials.
  • Specific knowledge of the analysis of chemical weapons related materials as well as knowledge of the chemistry of scheduled chemicals is highly desirable.
  • Recent experience in the planning and building of a new laboratory facility or major renovation of an existing laboratory facility is also highly desirable.


Skills and Competencies

To succeed in this role you will need the following skills and competencies:



  • Knowledge of the issues in identification of chemicals using modern analytical techniques with an emphasis on chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques. 
  • Basic understanding of the role of false positives and misidentifications in analysis preferably with respect to the specific problems of chemicals covered by the Chemical Weapons Convention. 
  • Basic understanding of general analytical methods, their limitations and of modern instrumentation needed to apply these methods in field as well as laboratory situations.
  • Basic understanding of sample collection, contamination control and chain of custody.


  • Ability to manage teams in working on technical projects, ability to work within a multi-cultural environment, exposure to quality management systems.
  • Recent experience in the planning and building of a new laboratory facility or major renovation of an existing laboratory facility is also highly desirable.


Fluency in English is essential and a good working knowledge of one of the other official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish) is desirable.

Additional Information

This fixed-term appointment is for the duration of two years with a six-month probationary period, and is subject to the OPCW Staff Regulations and Interim Staff Rules.

The OPCW is a non-career organisation with limited staff tenure. The total length of service for Professional staff shall not exceed 7 years.

The mandatory age of separation at the OPCW is 65 years.

Fixed-term staff members participate in the OPCW provident fund. A monthly staff contribution is met with a doubled amount by the OPCW to ensure separating staff have the capital necessary to move on to new challenges.

The Director-General retains the discretion to not make any appointment to this vacancy, to make an appointment at a lower grade, or to make an appointment with a modified job description. Several vacancies may be filled.

Only applications submitted before the closing date and through OPCW CandidateSpace will be considered. Only applicants under serious consideration for a post will be contacted.

Applications from qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged.

OPCW General Terms and Conditions


Important notice for applicants who are currently insured under the Dutch Social Security system

Although headquartered in the Netherlands, the OPCW is not a regular Dutch employer but a public international organisation with its own special status. Please be advised that if you are currently insured under the Dutch Social Security system, you will be excluded from this system as a staff member of the OPCW. You will consequently be insured under the organisation’s system. The above also applies to your dependents unless they are employed by a regular Dutch employer, they are self-employed in the Netherlands, or are receiving Dutch social security payments.

Please refer to the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment for more information about the possible consequences for you and your dependents, such as exclusion from ‘AWBZ’ and ‘Zorgverzekeringswet’ coverage: ‘Werken bij een internationale organisatie’.