UNDP works in 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and exclusion, and build resilience. As the UN’s development agency, UNDP plays a critical role in helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2022-25 aims to build a more agile, anticipatory UNDP that embraces complexity, actively manages risk, continually adapts and seeks to learn alongside delivering results.  



The Strategy and Futures (S&F) Team in the Executive Office supports the UNDP Administrator in building a more agile, anticipatory UNDP, alert to the trends and changes of an uncertain world and ready to respond to many different futures.


The S&F Team is responsible for two pillars of work: strategy and futures. The pillars intersect and inform each other. The strategy pillar is responsible for shepherding the Strategic Plan and for providing direction to the corporate systems that underpin our planning and reporting. This includes developing the organization’s strategic plans and driving the midterm review of the plans. The futures pillar’s focus is to connect, cohere and amplify the various futures efforts across UNDP, linking people and resources of knowledge and experience, and to establish a futures ecosystem, enabling UNDP to achieve stronger development impact.  



Duties and Responsibilities

The S&F team is hiring 3-5 fellows, from around the globe, who are passionate about imagining the future of sustainable development. Collectively, the fellows will provide analytical and research support to the S&F Team. They will be required to work closely with members of the S&F Team, and potentially other units in the Executive Office and across UNDP, including Country Offices.


 The Fellows will have the following duties and responsibilities:



Identify and interpret signals and trends

  • Support the consolidation of UNDP’s recently-established “Future Trends and Signals System” (FTSS), where UNDP staff capture signals of change (political, economic, social, technological, environmental, values) relevant to UNDP’s mission.
  • Receive training on using the system.
  • Scan weekly for signals across various geographies and themes.  Research the background to signals and themes identified as significant.
  • Support sensemaking from the FTSS: grouping and categorizing signals; identifying emerging trends; generating insights and meaning for UNDP.
  • Support and lead weekly “Signals Studios” where UNDP staff meet to discuss the insights they extract from the FTSS, and how they can use them productively




Support the integration of foresight into UNDP’s work

  • Support collaboration between the S&F team and other parts of UNDP (Regional Bureaus and Country Offices) aimed at embedding futures and foresight in their work (eg workshops to examine their strategy through a foresight lens)   
  • Use various futures methodologies to integrate futures and foresight into UNDP decision-making
  • Help to design and deliver effective communications on futures and foresight throughout UNDP and beyond (eg slides or videos for presentations, written guidance)
  • Help to develop (and possibly deliver) training on futures and foresight for UNDP staff
  • Support follow-up to the UNDP “Signals Spotlight 2023” report
  • Contribute to or lead on other reports, blogs or other resources on foresight for UNDP




Support strong networks on futures and foresight

  • Support maintenance of the UNDP Futures Portal, a one-stop-shop resource for futures & foresight on the UNDP intranet
  • Help to keep the UNDP Futures Network energetic and active, and to expand beyond UNDP to other UN agencies, external partners etc




Add new & creative thinking to the S&F team

  • Offer diverse perspectives by providing honest and authentic thinking on futures methodologies and on future of development trends 
  • Capture and document UNDP’s journey around using strategic foresight
  • Support other activities as relevant and needed




  • Offers creativity and innovative thinking
  • Strong interest and motivation in working on futures and in an international organization
  • Good analytical skills in gathering and consolidating data and research for practical implementation
  • Can analyse quantitative data and draw lessons/insights from their analysis
  • Initiative-taking person with a goal-oriented mind-set
  • Communicates effectively, orally and in writing, when working in teams
  • Good at organizing and structuring a mix of tasks and responsibilities
  • Meets deadlines
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Responds positively to feedback and differing points of view
  • Approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude

Required Skills and Experience


Candidates must meet one of the following educational requirements:

  • Currently enrolled in a Master’s or other advanced degree in social sciences, such as public administration, economics, international relations, political science, futures studies, behavioural science, development studies or a related area; or
  • Completed an advanced degree within the last 3 years


Academic (or equivalent professional experience) in futures studies or foresight is desirable.


Work Experience:

  • Candidates must have at least one year of work experience
  • Experience in futures, strategic foresight, or systems thinking and design is highly desirable
  • Experience in disciplines outside of international development will be considered favorably



IT skills:

  • Essential: proficient user of Microsoft Office productivity tools (e.g., Excel; Teams; PowerPoint; Word)
  • Desirable: familiar with data management tools (e.g., Airtable, Google Sheets/Forms), familiar with Miro and other virtual collaboration tools
  • Design and other digital skills are an advantage (or the ability to learn quickly)

Language skills:

  • English proficiency is required
  • Knowledge of another language is an advantage