Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), United Nations University

Sam Johnston is an Australian national. He has degrees in chemistry and law and is a qualified lawyer in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia.

Before joining the UNU Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Johnston worked at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, where he has held a variety of positions, including secretary of the second meeting of the SBSTTA, acting Principal Officer for Implementation and Communication, and acting Legal Advisor and Programme Officer for Financial Resources and Instruments. He also represented the Executive Secretary of the Convention at a wide range of diplomatic and academic conferences, including the United Nations General Assembly, Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization and the Global Environment Facility’s Participants Assembly.

Prior to the Secretariat, Johnston was the Jacques & Lewis Research Associate in the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge (U.K.), the legal manager at Société Générale Australia Ltd and a solicitor at a major Australian commercial firm of attorneys.

At UNU-IAS Johnston works as Senior Research Fellow and his principal responsibilities are to provide strategic guidance to the Director regarding the research priorities of the Institute, develop new research activities for the Institute, and assist with fundraising efforts.

He has have raised over $12 million in research funding from governments, international organizations and philanthropic organizations.


  • –present
    Senior Research Fellow, United Nations University