Technical Officer, Behavioural and Cultural Insights

Full Time
Copenhagen, Denmark
Posted 5 months ago

Purpose of the Post:

The purpose of the position is to contribute technically to WHO’s work on behavioural and cultural insights, with a focus on the cultural contexts of health and well-being project (CCH) and to support the development of evidence-based guidance and the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of country level behavioural and cultural insights projects.

Objectives of the Insights Unit and of the immediate Strategic Objectives:

The Division of Country Health Programmes (CHP) assists country efforts to reduce the burden of non-communicable and communicable diseases and address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health, and promotes policies and actions for health through stewardship of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network. It focuses on health promotion measures; prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, and risks related to tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and the harmful use of alcohol; communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, and vector-borne and neglected tropical diseases; elimination and control of vaccine-preventable diseases and advocacy for increased use of vaccines; containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance; addressing existing and emerging environmental health risks, and supporting violence and injury prevention. A determination to ensure universal access to people-centred quality health services across the continuum of care is matched by enriching the evidence base for policy design and interventions using social, cultural and behavioural approaches, to drive implementation of innovation at national, regional and local levels.

With the Insights Unit flagship initiative, the Regional Office intends to invest in new insights that can help to build a culture of health in which everyone is enabled to make healthy choices, in their daily lives and in the way they use health services. The initiative will promote the use of insights into these social, behavioural and cultural factors to improve health literacy, as well as the design, procedures and provider behaviour at the interface between citizens and their health and social care services. It will foster new scientific understanding on how these factors and the design of policies and service delivery processes interact to assist countries in optimising uptake of services, adherence to treatment, self-care, and individual and collective ways of living (including in view of the social adaptations required in response to the COVID-19 crisis). By engaging disciplines beyond the bio-medical sphere, including the social sciences and the medical humanities, this initiative will help health authorities improve the way their services respond to their citizens’ expectations for respectful and people-centred care.

Summary of Assigned Duties:

The purpose of the position is to contribute technically to WHO’s work on behavioural and cultural insights, with a focus on the cultural contexts of health and well-being project (CCH) and to support the development of evidence-based guidance and the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of country level behavioural and cultural insights projects.

The incumbent will contribute to three main areas:

A. Technical guidance and products:
(i) provide technical support and advice to countries to implement behavioural and cultural insights related research, with a focus on evidence synthesis, good practice, scale-up and evaluation (for instance in relation to arts and health);
(ii) support the development of guidance and other products for the Insights Unit’s online resource centre;
(iii) contribute to mappings of evidence and best practice related to social, behavioural and cultural insights for health policies and programmes;
(iv) contribute to developing normative guidance on incorporating behavioural and cultural aspects in the design of public health policies and programmes, initiatives and activities.

B. Collaborating with experts:
(i) contribute to an ongoing mapping of capacities in the Region, potential collaboration partners and donors;
(ii) assist in preparing relevant meetings, such as expert group meetings, symposiums, and workshops;
(iii) contribute to coordination and network management of a wide, multi-disciplinary group of stakeholders from both the medical humanities and social sciences, to accelerate the use of cultural and behavioural insights for health policy decision-making at both a country and regional level;
(iv) support the implementation of a communications and advocacy strategy aiming to build strong and collaborative relationships within the European stakeholder community, including media and government relations, and raise awareness regarding the importance of behavioural insights and cultural contexts of health;
(v) contribute to the establishment and maintenance of relevant collaborating centres in the Region;
(vi) contribute to efforts to create linkages among WHO technical experts and managers across the Regional Office and Country Offices and among behavioural and cultural insights transformers;
(v) provide technical advice in relation to arts and health research and implementation.

C. Building capacity and supporting Member States:
(i) support policy makers in leveraging behavioural and cultural insights to create effective health policies and programmes;
(ii) support Member States to implement behavioural insights and cultural context related research, projects, evaluation, documentation and guidance;
(iii) coordinate the delivery of training programmes and workshops related to social, behavioural and cultural insights.


Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
Producing Results
Building and promoting partnerships across the Organization and beyond

Functional Knowledge and Skills:

Demonstrated knowledge of international public health/health policy and medical humanities or social science research.
Demonstrated ability to communicate and engage with experts and stakeholders from different fields, including policy-makers, researchers and civil society
Excellent interpersonal communication, written communication and presentation skills.
Strong analytical and research skills.
Ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as helping others to do the same.

Educational Qualifications:

Essential: University degree (Bachelor’s level) in medical humanities, public health, political or social sciences, international relations, psychology, medical anthropology, sociology or other relevant field.
Desirable: Advanced university degree (Master’s level) in any of the above.


Essential: At least two years of experience in researching and implementing health related humanities, social science or behavioural insights projects at a policy level. Experience in working with international projects and/or in a multi-cultural environment.
Desirable: Relevant experience working with(in) WHO, the UN system or in intergovernmental organizations. Experience working in an environment that generates research (particularly in the medical humanities or social sciences). Demonstrated experience in supporting publications, such as working with synthesis reviews, fact sheets and other information products.

Language skills:

Fluency in English required. Working knowledge of either French, Russian or German an asset.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 46,472 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 1150 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


•This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
•Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
•A written test may be used as a form of screening.
•In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
•Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
•For information on WHO’s operations please visit:
•WHO is committed to workforce diversity.
•WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
•WHO has a mobility policy which can be found at the following link: Candidates appointed to an international post with WHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.
•Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.
•*For WHO General Service staff who do not meet the minimum educational qualifications, please see e-Manual III.4.1, para 220./ul>

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