What we do



Follow ODI

ODI Fellowship Scheme - Application information

The ODI Fellowship Scheme has a strong reputation among prospective applicants and their universities, giving Fellows the rare opportunity to develop their skills within a developing country's government. Places on the Scheme are highly competitive with all applicants offering postgraduate qualifications and often relevant work experience.

The Fellowship Scheme is well known to a wide range of employers who place considerable weight on the experience provided by a Fellowship. After completing their assignments, a large percentage of Fellows continue to follow a career in development.


The Fellowship Scheme is open to candidates of any nationality. You must have a master's degree or PhD in economics, econometrics, statistics or a related field. Suitable specialisms include agricultural, environmental, international, health or development economics. You must also be willing to commit to a two-year posting in any of the participating countries.

We are looking for candidates who have a demonstrable interest in development; relevant work or voluntary experience in a developing country, and strong computer skills. Although most Fellowship posts are in English-speaking countries, French, Portuguese or Swahili language skills are an advantage for several posts.

The Fellowship Scheme is a recruitment programme for postgraduate economists and statisticians.


  • Degree in economics, statistics or related field
  • Postgraduate degree in economics, statistics or related field*
  • Ability to commit to a two-year assignment

* For those studying for a postgraduate degree at the time of application, the award of a Fellowship will be conditional upon the successful completion of the degree.

Some specialisations at postgraduate level which are relevant include:

  • Agricultural Economics
  • International Economics
  • Development Economics
  • Development Management
  • Development Studies
  • Econometrics & Statistics
  • Environmental Economics
  • Health Economics
  • Public Policy

This list is not definitive and each application is assessed on its own merits with the overall aim of matching candidates to the requirements of Fellowship posts.


  • Demonstrable interest in development
  • Relevant work experience or experience volunteering
  • Language competence for some posts (especially French, Portuguese, and Swahili)
  • Strong IT skills

Qualities we are looking for

Fellowships vary from post to post and country to country, but all require a combination of the following qualities:

  • Intellectual qualities
  • A sound grasp of economic theory and its application, especially in a development context
  • Problem-solving and analysis of data and information
  • Communication of complex ideas to non-specialists
  • Personal qualities and interpersonal skills
  • Adaptive and flexible approach
  • Ability to work effectively with others
  • Confident and robust personality
  • Willingness to learn and accept advice
  • Ability to mix easily with diverse groups of people
  • Management and work-related skills
  • Ability to prioritise and delegate work
  • Consultative and advocacy skills
  • Time management skills and ability to work without supervision
  • Project management
  • Report writing

Application FAQ

The process

ODI Fellowships are awarded annually, for a two-year period. Short-listed candidates are invited to attend a selection board in February which involves a panel interview and group exercises.

At the end of the selection process, offers are made subject to suitable posts being secured with host governments. Considerable emphasis is placed on personal contact and discussion both at the selection stage and in the careful matching of Fellows to posts. ODI will also, once a year, invite governments interested in employing Fellows the following year to indicate their likely requirements.

November - December
ODI accepts applications for the Fellowship Scheme

Early December
Governments are requested to indicate their likely requirements for Fellows

Mid December
Closing date for receipt of applications

Late January
Short-listed applicants are invited to attend selection board

Early February
Referees of shortlisted applicants are contacted

Mid February
Selection board and provisional offers of Fellowships

March - May
Country placement tours by ODI representatives

May - June
Requests are submitted for new Fellows from partner governments

Fellows are informed of the results of post allocations and notifi cation of availability sent to governments

Briefing session is held in London to prepare new Fellows for their posts

August - October
Commencement of postings

Matching Fellows to posts

Between March and June, ODI representatives conduct placement missions to countries participating in the Scheme. These visits provide an opportunity to monitor existing posts with both employer and Fellow and for detailed discussions between governments and ODI about their likely requirements for future Fellows.

Governments are given profiles of selected candidates and asked to consider the suitability of particular Fellows for identified posts and confirm their requests for Fellows by June.
ODI undertakes consultations about specific postings with prospective Fellows in June. Governments are then notified of the availability of individuals for each post and are invited to make formal offers of employment.
Briefings for new Fellows are arranged by ODI in July each year in London. This is an opportunity for ODI to provide new Fellows with as much information as possible about their posting and provides a forum for new and ex-Fellows to meet at an annual reception. It is essential for all recruited Fellows to attend the briefing sessions in preparation for their new positions.

Fellows are expected to take up their posts between August and October. Exact starting dates are negotiated according to individual availability and the requirements of the employing government.

Contact us

For more details, please contact us on:

ODI Fellowship Scheme

Overseas Development Institute
203 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ

Tel: +44 (0)207 922 0356   

Fax: +44 (0)20 7922 0399

[email protected]