Selection criteria

Per Administrative Instruction 2015/5, applications for the Sabbatical Leave Programme shall be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

a) Relevance of the project of study or research to the Organization and to the current functions or potential career path of the staff member;

b) Potential benefit to and impact on the Organization’s work;

c) Feasibility of the project of study or research, including whether it can be completed within the proposed period;

d) Appropriateness of the planned methodology;

e) Quality of the proposal, including demonstrating awareness of the latest developments in the area of the project of study or research;

f) Suitability of the staff member and the proposed institution to carry out the project of study or research.


Selection procedure 

A selection committee will review the application in a competitive manner in accordance with the criteria above. The committee shall be composed of representatives of the Academic Council on the United Nations System and senior United Nations staff members with experience in the substantive areas of the proposals submitted for consideration.

The committee will make recommendations for endorsement to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management; the ASG will make the final selection decisions.

The selection decisions are final. Each applicant and his or her HoE will be informed of the decision, regardless of the result of the application.

The selected staff members will be requested to accept in writing, within 20 working days of being informed by the Office of Human Resources, the specified conditions of the award.

A sabbatical leave of up to four months may be approved and must commence within one year of selection.

Under exceptional circumstances, such as exigencies of service or illness, staff members may request, through their HoE, a deferral of sabbatical leave to the subsequent year. If such a request is needed, the staff member must write to the HoE, copying, to request the deferral. For the deferral to take place, the HoE must respond in writing – again copying - to confirm that the new dates are approved.


Next Steps

Staff members who are selected for the sabbatical shall request, via Umoja, special leave with full pay for the sabbatical leave period. No additional payments will be made by the United Nations to the staff member to cover the expenses of the sabbatical leave.

Staff members may receive scholarships or stipends to support their sabbatical leave from entities other than the United Nations with the prior approval of the Office of Human Resources. Staff members must apply in writing to the Office of Human Resources at least four weeks before the beginning of the sabbatical leave period for such approval. Application guidelines and conditions are detailed under section 6 of ST/AI/2015/5.

Within two months of the end of the sabbatical leave or within two months of additional time approved under section 5.3 of ST/AI/2015/5, whichever is later, staff members must submit electronically a report about his or her research or study project to his or her HoE, and to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources, with a copy to


More information is available in ST/AI/2015/5.