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Science Policy Adviser (P-5)

Principal Functions

Under the general direction of the Director, Strategy and Policy and in accordance with the OPCW Core Values of Integrity, Professionalism and Respect for Diversity/Gender Equality, the Science Policy Adviser performs the following duties;


The work of the Science Policy Adviser involves leading the Secretariat’s activities in monitoring science and technology, to include keeping abreast of developments both in science and technology and in arms-control policy, as well as analysing those developments and communicating to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders the implications for Chemical Weapons Convention implementation that might arise.

The Science Policy Advisor is expected to help lead the OPCW’s efforts to remain scientifically and technically fit for purpose, influencing science policy decisions, and developing and providing guidance on scientific programs that further the Organisation’s objectives.

In particular, the incumbent performs the following duties:

  1. Develops robust science policy advice for the Director-General, and for his reports to and interactions with the OPCW Policy-Making Organs – drawing on e.g. technical advice from the Scientific Advisory Board.
  2. Serves as Secretary to the Scientific Advisory Board and organises meetings and workshops of the Board and its temporary working groups. This function supports the Scientific Advisory Board’s mandate to monitor developments in science and technology in order to enable the Director-General to render specialised advice to States Parties.
  3. Provides scientific advice, guidance and oversight on cross-cutting scientific activities across the Secretariat. Provides leadership and management of such activities as appropriate.
  4. Supports and, where appropriate, coordinates and/or leads scientific activities to be held at the Centre for Chemistry and Technology (CCT). Communicates with prospective external donors, builds and maintains relationships, and secures project-based funds for scientific activities to be held in the CCT.
  5. Assists in promoting the collaborative aspects of the CCT through organising scientific workshops and technical symposia therein.
  6. Serves as an internal resource to provide advice and technical information on science and technology topics for units across the OPCW. Proactively engages staff across the OPCW on scientific topics.
  7. Coordinates and influences science communication with technical and non-technical stakeholders of the Chemical Weapons Convention, especially delegations from Member States and other international oganisations.
  8. Monitors longer-term scientific and technological developments (e.g. emerging, converging and disrupting technologies and trends and driving forces for technological change), and evaluates the implications for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  9. Actively communicates with scientists in academia, industry and other relevant sectors on aspects of science and technology that impact on implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (including the multiple uses of chemistry).
  10. Promotes the work of the OPCW and its mission and objectives at conferences, workshops and symposiums.
  11. Engages with other international scientific advisory mechanisms, as well as in nonproliferation and security-related forums to share experiences and continue to develop effective science-decision maker interaction.
  12. Helps to formulate technical questions for the Scientific Advisory Board and its temporary working groups.
  13. Supervises junior level staff and/or interns.
  14. Performs other duties as required.

Knowledge and Experience


    Degree doctorate or equivalent in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field, preferably in the physical or life sciences.



      A minimum of 10 years post-degree experience, with a minimum of 5 years of providing science-based policy advice in the international context, either in the public or private sector.


      1. Experience in disarmament, arms control and/or non-proliferation;
      2. Experience in implementing or analysing the implementation of science-based international instruments;
      3. Active participant in networks of scientific societies and organisations;
      4. A successful track record of publications in peer-reviewed scientific and/or patent literature. Interdisciplinary technical publications are an asset;
      5. Post-doctoral research experience is an asset.
      6. Experience in managing scientific activities is an asset.

      Skills and Abilities (key competencies):

      Substantive knowledge and understanding:

      1. A strong understanding of scientific and technological principles and approaches across STEM disciplines and application sectors;
      2. Familiarity with driving forces and trends in scientific and technological change that can be drawn upon to develop related policy recommendations;
      3. Strong ability to frame technical questions in order to help solve policy problems;
      4. Advocate of scientific literacy to aid decision making processes.

      Working with others:

      1. Excellent stakeholder management skills, including ability to deliver results through others and ability to deliver high-quality results under pressure;
      2. Thorough understanding of the complexities of working in an international environment (including the different points of view of a diverse membership);
      3. Exquisite communication skills – both oral and written – and ability to engage in effective dialogue with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders on diverse scientific and technical topics;
      4. Proven ability to influence, persuade and mobilize agreement and action on complex issues;
      5. Excellent interpersonal skills: ability to work in teams and in multi-cultural environments;
      6. Strong leadership skills; provides others with a clear direction; motivates and empowers others;
      7. Challenges the status quo, contributes and tries out innovative approaches and insights.

      Personal impact:

      1. Excellent analytical skills (e.g., quickly identifying the essence of a complex issue);
      2. Ability to command the professional respect of scientists, and productively engage with and inform non-technical professionals;
      3. Innovative, resourceful and creative, but also having the ability to generate ideas that can be grounded in reality and implemented in practice;
      4. Strong sense of initiative, including ability to plan, conduct and report on activities independently;
      5. Demonstrated commitment to continuous learning and on-the-job development;
      6. Comfortable working on open-ended trans-disciplinary issues in a complex and dynamic international environment.

      Language Requirements

      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.