Head of Public Health Unit

EMCDDA - European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Lisbon, Portugal


Ref. AD.2017.01 — Head of Public health unit - Temporary Agent (M/F) AD10 — Five-year contract

The EMCDDA is one of the European Union’s decentralised agencies. Established in 1993 and based in Lisbon, it is the central source of comprehensive information on drugs and drug addiction in Europe.

The EMCDDA is an equal opportunities employer and accepts applications without distinction on the grounds of age, race, political, philosophical or religious conviction, gender or sexual orientation and regardless of disabilities, marital status or family situation. The EMCDDA actively encourages applications from women.

For further information on the EMCDDA, please visit

1. Job profile

1.1. Overall purpose

The jobholder will act as the head of the EMCDDA Public Health unit. The Public Health unit together with the Security Unit form the EMCDDA’s Scientific Division. Both units work closely together and contribute to the work of the EMCDDA to monitor and report on all aspects of the drug phenomenon.

The overall mission of the Public Health unit relates to one of the two core goals of the EMCDDA Strategy 2025, i.e. to coordinate and ensure the contribution of the EMCDDA to a healthier Europe, in accordance with the four strategic objectives defined by this Strategy to achieve this goal, namely:

  1. Maintain a state-of-the-art understanding of the extent, patterns and trends in drug use, their impact on public health;
  2. Identify new drug-related health threats and support rapid response from the EU and its Member States;
  3. Support interventions to prevent and reduce drug use, drug-related morbidity, mortality and other harms, and support recovery and social reintegration;
  4. Support the development, implementation, monitoring and assessment of policies aimed at addressing the health and social consequences of drug use.

The jobholder will report directly to the EMCDDA Scientific Director and will be required to to work in close cooperation with the latter and the head of the EMCDDA Security Unit.

The jobholder will be responsible for managing a team of technical specialists from a range of different disciplines. He/she will ensure that the Public Health unit meets its objectives within the overall context provided by the EMCDDA’s Strategy 2025 and the specific obligations detailed in the EMCDDA’s annual and multiannual programming documents.

Managerial responsibilities of the head of Public Health unit will include: management of the staff assigned to the unit and direct supervision of the intermediary level of management within the unit; budgetary planning, execution and oversight of the activities of the unit and of the budget resources allocated for this purpose; staff appraisal and development; ensuring planning and reporting tasks are completed on time, and to appropriate standards; ensuring continuity and synergy of activities across the work of the Scientific Division and with other units of the EMCDDA.

Scientific and technical responsibilities of the head of the Public Health unit will include: representing the EMCDDA at scientific events and meetings; ensuring the technical quality of the scientific workof the unit; regularly reviewing methods and tools used by the Public Health unit and developing new tools and approaches where these are required; prioritisation of activities and contribution to the production of the EMCDDA´s technical outputs.

1.2. Main duties

The job holder will be requested to contribute to the following tasks:

Management, scientific leadership, and planning

  • Analysing and defining unit internal working methods for the implementation of the EMCDDA work programme within the context of the overall responsibilities of the Scientific Division and under the supervision of the Scientific Director;
  • Coordinating the contribution of the EMCDDA to a healthier Europe and providing strategic input for the execution of the mission of the EMCDDA, in liaison with the head of the “Security Unit” and other units involved;
  • Providing technical direction to the work of the unit and contributing to the overall scientific development of the EMCDDA´s work;
  • Establishing and supervising the implementation of the work programme of the unit (objectives, outputs, deadlines), in line with the EMCDDA annual and multiannual programmes;
  • Ensuring the technical quality of the unit’s work and ensure that outputs of the unit are of appropriate quality;
  • Ensure effective and efficient planning and use of resources;
  • Ensure smooth, close and efficient working relationships, planning and coordination of work both within the scientific division and with other units of the Centre;
  • Ensuring the co-ordination of activities in areas of shared responsibility;
  • Ensure all necessary reporting on the unit’s activities to the Director of the EMCDDA are completed in line with requirements;
  • Supervise production, ensure quality standards and the timeliness in the delivery of the unit’s outputs;
  • Contribute to the activities necessary for the management of the EMCDDA and participate in relevant committees, working groups and meetings as required.

Representation and Institutional Relations

  • Represent the EMCDDA in meetings, conferences and events relevant to the work of the unit;
  • Facilitate cooperation and information exchange with EU institutions and agencies, national focal points, international organisations, and other EMCDDA stakeholders and target audiences, on topics and issues relevant to the unit’s work.

Budget, finance and contracts

  • Act as Deputy Authorising Officer for delegated duties;
  • Act as Deputy Appointing Authority/Authority Authorised to conclude contracts for the delegated duties;
  • Supervise/control financial and budget transactions relating to the work programme of the unit (contracts, meetings, missions, other expenditure);
  • Define budget requirements and internal allocation for the unit;
  • Report on the use of human and/or budgetary resources allocated to the unit;
  • Contract management and related oversight and reporting responsibilities.

Human resources planning and management

  • Plan, supervise, co-ordinate and control the work of the unit staff in the frame of the strategic and operational plan of the unit;
  • Organisation, prioritization and distribution of work and responsibilities;
  • Supervise and monitor progress and fulfilment of objectives;
  • Lead, supervise and manage unit staff, including updated descriptions and requirements for all jobs, performance management, career development;
  • Apply, supervise and manage relevant administration procedures;
  • Any other duties that may be assigned by the Director or the Scientific Director in relation to the purpose of the post.

2. Job requirements

2.1. Eligibility requirements

The following requirements shall be met by the deadline for applications:

  • A level of education which corresponds to:

a) completed university studies in an area relevant to public health attested by a diploma, when the normal period of university education is four years or more;
b) completed university studies in an area relevant to public health attested by a diploma and appropriate professional experience after these studies of at least one year when the normal period of university education is at least three years.

  • At least 12 years of professional experience (in the area of public health, epidemiology, social sciences, psychology, etc.) acquired after the completion of the above mentioned studies and in addition to the experience required at point b) above;
  • be a national of one of the Member States of the European Union, Norway or Turkey;
  • have fulfilled any obligations imposed by the applicable laws concerning military service;
  • produce the appropriate character references as to the suitability for the performance of the required duties;
  • be physically fit to perform his/her duties; (1)
  • a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union and a satisfactory knowledge of another of these languages to the extent necessary for the performance of the required duties. (2)

2.2. Essential requirements

Eligible candidates will be evaluated as follows:

a. On the basis of the application, by assessing the following:

  1. Solid professional experience in areas relevant to the job;
  2. Proven experience as manager responsible for the supervision and management of financial and human resources, namely technical and scientific staff;
  3. Significant working experience in a multicultural, multidisciplinary and multilingual environment with staff at different levels of responsibility;
  4. Proven experience in planning and coordinating the execution of complex projects and tasks;
  5. Proven ability to produce high quality documents for both technical and non-technical audiences. As evidence, please send maximum three samples to the following e-mail address:

b. On the basis of an interview and written test, by assessing the following:

  1. Solid knowledge and understanding of the methodological and technical issues relevant to the job, such as drug epidemiology, drug demand reduction, research and methods, etc.;
  2. Capacity to quickly understand, analyse and summarize methodological and technical issues, to define effective and concise diagnostics of the issues at stake and propose consistent follow up actions/solutions;
  3. Solid knowledge and understanding of project management-related issues, with particular attention to the planning and execution of complex tasks involving multidisciplinary competences and to the conditions/factors required for an effective leadership in this context;
  4. Very good understanding of the current developments in substantive topic areas relevant to the job and to the unit’s work;
  5. Ability to proactively identify the needs of stakeholders, customers and/or end-users in the areas relevant to the job and to the unit’s work and to ensure a consistent and service-oriented delivery able to effectively meet these needs;
  6. Capacity to ensure effective control of the quality of the technical and scientific work and output, in particular by identifying and correcting, as required, logical, structural or technical errors or omissions;
  7. Ability to communicate effectively on complex issues to both technical and non-technical audiences;
  8. Solid organisational skills, ability to work and deliver to tight deadlines and capacity both for autonomous and team-work;
  9. Ability to lead, manage and motivate staff and capacity to listen and provide feedback, to manage conflicts, to develop team spirit and promote a performance-oriented approach;
  10. Capacity to work effectively with different actors from inside and outside the organisation and ability to build and maintain effective, productive and cooperative working relations, with strong commitment to the European ethical values and to high professional standards.

2.3. Advantageous requirements

Non-compliance with the advantageous requirements is not a condition for exclusion of applicants as these will be taken into account as assets while assessing each application. Advantageous requirements will only be assessed once during the course of the selection procedure, either in its first or third phase, according to the skills concerned. The advantageous requirements are as follows:

I. On the basis of the application, by assessing the following:

  1. University degree and postgraduate education in a subject relevant to the job;
  2. Professional experience in EU bodies or in other European or international bodies;
  3. Working experience at operational level in drug-related services, drug-related research or in other drug-related substantive area relevant to the job.

II. On the basis of an interview and written test, by assessing the following:

  1. Good command of English;
  2. Knowledge of the role and activities of the EMCDDA within the context of the European Union;
  3. Knowledge of other EU languages.

3. Submission of applications

Interested candidates must apply for this post through the EMCDDA e-recruitment application, accessible on this link: Please note that to make an EMCDDA online application you will need to create your EMCDDA profile using a valid e-mail address and a password.

The closing date for the submission of applications is 28/04/2017 at 23.59, Lisbon time.

4. Selection procedure

The selection will be carried out in three phases:

Phase 1: The selection committee will analyse the applications to verify the candidates’ eligibility, by assessing their compliance with the relevant requirements, as set out in this call for applications (see section 2.1. above). Failure to comply with one of the eligibility requirements shall result in the exclusion of the applicant concerned from the selection procedure.

The selection committee will then select the eligible candidates who have obtained at least 60 % of the total points available to rank their compliance with the established essential requirements (as set out in section 2.2.a. above, a maximum of 10 marking points being available for each essential requirement) and with the established advantageous requirements (as set out in section 2.3.I. above, a maximum of 5 marking points being available for each advantageous requirement). The best ranked candidates, up to a maximum number of 10, will be invited to the next phase of the selection process. This number may be changed by decision of the appointing/contracting authority, depending on the number of applications received.

Phase 2: Applicants will be required to undergo a competency assessment testing relating to the requirements indicated in the vacancy notice.

Phase 3: This phase will consist of a written test and an interview to be held by the selection committee. Via the interviews the selection committee will assess the compliance of the invited candidates with the established essential requirements (as set out in section 2.2.b. above, a maximum of 10 marking points being available for each essential requirement) and with the established advantageous requirements (as set out in section 2.3.II. above, a maximum of 5 marking points being available for each advantageous requirement). The written test will concern questions relating to the EU history and EU Institutions, namely the EMCDDA, as well as to the job to be performed. The selection committee will assess the result of the written tests anonymously, a maximum of 30 marking points being available for this purpose.

The final assessment will reflect the results of the competency assessment testing, the interview and the written test.

Please note that the selection committee’s work and deliberations are strictly confidential and that any contact, either direct or indirect, with its members is strictly forbidden.

Due to the volume of applications, only candidates selected for phase 2 will be contacted. Candidates who have not been contacted by the EMCDDA by 30/06/2017 should consider that their application has been unsuccessful. For up-to-date information on this selection procedure, please visit the EMCDDA’s website at the following link:

Candidates invited for phases 2 and 3 may be entitled to a flat-rate contribution to their travel and subsistence expenses. Information will be provided together with the invitation letter.

5. Reserve list and engagement

The work of the selection committee ends with the preparation of a draft reserve list of candidates considered suitable to occupy the position advertised, to be proposed to and approved by the appointing/contracting authority of the EMCDDA.

Only candidates who obtain 70 % of the total marking points available for the phase 3 of the selection process can be included in the reserve list. On the basis of the adopted reserve list, the appointing/contracting authority of the EMCDDA may offer a contract of engagement. Candidates shall note that the inclusion in the reserve list does not guarantee the engagement, which will depend, among other things, on availability of vacant posts and budget.

The established reserve list may be used to fill similar positions within the EMCDDA.

The reserve list will be valid until 31/12/2019 and may be extended by decision of the EMCDDA appointing/contracting authority.

6. Conditions of employment

6.1. Legal framework

A contract offer will be made pursuant to the Conditions of employment of other servants of the European Union, (see, for a five-year period according to Article 8 of these Conditions.

The place of employment will be Lisbon, Portugal, where the EMCDDA has its seat.

6.2. Pay and welfare benefits

The job holder’s monthly basic salary, for grade AD10, step 1, will be approximately EUR 8500. In addition to this basic salary, the jobholder may be entitled to some allowances, in particular an expatriation or foreign residence allowance and family allowances, including household allowance, dependent child allowance, pre-school allowance and an education allowance.

Under certain circumstances, in particular where the job holder is obliged to change his/her place of residence in order to take up employment, the EMCDDA may also reimburse some expenses incurred on recruitment, namely removal expenses.

The remuneration of the job holder will be subject to an EU tax deducted at source and will be exempt from national taxes. The remuneration package will be affected by a weighting factor and will include the social security and pensions schemes provided for EU staff.

6.3. Confirmation of engagement and security clearance

Staff engaged by the EMCDDA is required to serve a probationary period of nine months. Successful applicants may be required to undergo a security vetting and clearance procedure.

6.4. Declaration of commitment to serve public interest independently

Staff engaged by the EMCDDA is required to make a declaration of commitment to act independently in the public interest and to make a declaration in relation to the interests that might be considered prejudicial to his/her independence.

EMCDDA staff is required to carry out their duties and conduct solely with the interests of the EMCDDA and of the European Community in mind; they shall neither seek nor take instruction from any government, authority, organisation or person outside his institution. EMCDDA staff shall carry out the duties assigned objectively, impartially and in keeping with the duty of loyalty to the EMCDDA and to the European Union.

7. Request for review and appeal procedure

A candidate who feels that a mistake has been made during the selection procedure may ask to have his/her application reconsidered by sending, within 20 calendar days from 30/06/2017, a request for review, quoting the number of the selection procedure concerned to the chairperson of the selection committee at the following address:

Chairperson of the selection committee
Praça Europa 1, Cais do Sodré
1249-289 Lisbon

The selection committee will reconsider the application and notify the candidate of its decision within 45 calendar days of receipt of the letter.

If a candidate considers that he/she has been adversely affected by a particular decision, he/she can lodge a complaint under Article 90(2) of the EU Staff Regulations at the following address:

The EMCDDA Director
Praça Europa 1, Cais do Sodré
1249-289 Lisbon

The complaint must be lodged within three months. The time limit for initiating this type of procedure (see Staff Regulations starts to run from the time the candidate is notified of the act adversely affecting him/her.

Like all citizens of the European Union, each candidate may lodge a complaint with the European Ombudsman at the following address:

European Ombudsman
1 avenue du Président Robert Schuman - CS 30403
67001 Strasbourg Cedex

Note that complaints made to the Ombudsman have no suspensive effect on the period laid down in Articles 90(2) and 91 of the Staff Regulations for lodging complaints or for submitting appeals to the competent EU Court pursuant to Article 270 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In accordance with Article 2(4) of the general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties, any complaint lodged with the Ombudsman must be preceded by the appropriate administrative approaches to the institutions and bodies concerned.

8. EMCDDA contact person

Leila Mekkaoui — Tel. (351) 211 210 239.

(1) As a condition for appointment, the successful candidate shall be medically examined in order that the EMCDDA may be satisfied that he/she fulfils this requirement, as foreseen in Article 12(d) of the Conditions of employment of other servants of the European Communities.
(2) N.B.: In addition, in order to be eligible to a first promotion, the staff member shall prove a working knowledge of a third EU language.

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